Music and Liturgy (continued). We have set up a liturgical song workshop

I am reacting to the readers’ letter “Music and liturgy” published in The cross of December 14 (to read below) which I find severe and whose generalization seems to me abusive. Its author underlines the fairly satisfactory level of cult musicians and the absence of a proven and lasting repertoire which seems to me to be contradictory … He puts in parallel the Protestant services and their noted books, which are mostly proven songs of high quality but old and reserved (I noticed it with my Protestant friends) to a category of faithful of mature age. In Montargis (Loiret), we have set up the Aclam (Workshop of liturgical song of the Montargoise agglomeration) where we learn the psalms, but also to speak and sing in front of the microphone without crushing the assembly. We also implement songs related to the texts according to the liturgical times of the year with a related booklet and numerous vocal recordings distributed in the parishes via the Internet. This workshop is open to everyone. We come there freely when we want, without commitment. This work for several years is bearing fruit and does not deter collective singing, quite the contrary.

Francoise Condy

Letter of December 14:

For Church musicians, the imminence of the feast of Saint Cecilia is each time an opportunity to observe and question their magnificent function as craftsman of the liturgy, the sole purpose of which is to accompany prayer and ‘uplift souls, Soli Deo Gloria‚Ķ In France, if the level of our worship musicians is often quite satisfactory, there is still an area where much remains to be done: that of the song of the faithful. Because it is clear that in our country, the post-conciliar Church has never really found its assembly song. To realize this, it is only necessary to attend a Protestant service or the retransmission of an office in Anglo-Saxon countries. We sing there in a beautiful and noble way! Why is this dignity denied to Catholics in France? Two main reasons for this. The first is a clear absence of a proven and lasting repertoire. While the faithful of the churches resulting from the Reformation have at their disposal their individual book of hymns, Catholics, for their part, are reduced to the ephemeral chants more or less happy of the Sunday photocopy. The second reason is at the level of implementation. Too often, the songs that should be vested in the assembly are dominated by a sonorous voice. Which is an absurdity because a voice emitted by a loudspeaker is the surest means of dissuading any collective singing. In addition, a sound system only amplifies the defects of a voice. So, often approximate accuracy, rhythmic sense just as much, such is unfortunately the lot of too many of our Sunday assemblies. ” O, Lord, listen and have mercy! “.

Henri pourtau


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