Wednesday, July 06, 2005

On Music and Singing

An interesting topic this week over on VSoM.

Having been raised Catholic, I can tell you that music wasn't a big part of my life. I mean, sure, I'd sing at church on Sunday, but never really loud. Then you have my dad, who liked to go to the 7:30 AM mass because they didn't have music. Yes, for that very reason he liked the early mass. Why? Because it let out, on average, 7 minutes earlier than the musical masses (seriously, I'm not making this up, folks). Thus, you can see that my musical talents were never really explored or developed.

Then add to that the fact that most Catholics can't carry a tune in a bucket, and, well, you can see that I was destined to a life of musical mediocrity. (please, don't write me scathing comments because you're one of the top 2% of Catholics with musical abilities--you must admit, you're on the far reaches of the bell curve, and for that I salute you--carry on!)

Then I married into Anne's family--the family that happily gathers around the piano to sing, just for the fun of it. The first few times they did this, I gladly sat down, perfectly content to just listen and enjoy their talents. Well, you see, that didn't really go over well.

No, you have to participate. Which means actually singing, out loud, in front of people you know. Inevitably someone would take a picture--now, have you ever seen a flattering picture of someone (other than the three tenors) taken while they were singing? I didn't think so. On occassion someone would break out the video camera. Good heavens, was there no end to their torture?!

In our first ward, Anne was called as choir director. So guess who was suddenly in the choir? Consider that I had only ever sung "parts" on one song--"How Great Thou Art"--and you can see that I had lots to learn.

But a funny thing has happened along the way... I now actually like to sing. I've been in two or three ward choirs, I love gathering our kids around the piano on Monday night to sing a few primary songs, and I enjoy singing during church services and meetings.

I'm not good by any stretch of the imagination, but I've come a long way.


At July 06, 2005 10:49 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Make a Joyful Noise unti the Lord, all Ye lands...


At July 12, 2005 1:21 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I am one who is extremely grateful that the Lord said "make a joyful noise" and "the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me". Ok, I really need to work on that righteous thing, too, but what I am saying is the Lord apparently likes to hear His children sing, regardless of talent. Ah, what a merciful God!

When I was young, I hesitated to inflict my voice on the other members of the congregation. Now, my attitude is more, if you don't want to hear me singing "normally" in the congregation, sing louder. It is however, nice, when at least some of the choir is actually talented. I know that I do not qualify, so I sit back and appreciate the efforts of others.

This lack of muscial talent in Catholics is new to me. But I confess to limited exposure. Are they screened for admission or something? If a Catholic child is born with musical talent, what do they do about it? What about the Gregorian chanter types? I think they are pretty good, but I think you have to be a monk.

So, if a Catholic converts to Mormonism, he undergoes a musical transformation. Why don't we who were raised in the church get that blessing? I need it.

At July 19, 2005 10:26 PM, Blogger SRA said...

I'm totally with you about the 7:30 no-music Mass. I know exactly what you're talking about. Perhaps because I'm also Italian in heritage (and three other European ethnicities) and was raised hardcore Catholic. I always loved to sing, though, so it was a total revelation to me to go to sacrament meeting for the first time & find out that LDSies sing ALL the verses of the hymns. They don't stop short, as Catholics always do when the priest reaches his chair at the beginning of Mass, or whatever. Being LDS has definitely freed my singing soul, and dude, I love it. I go to Mass with my folks sometimes & sing kinda loud to show up all the bystanders who go to Mass every week and sit/stand/kneel in silence. That, to me, is being a poser in the truest sense of the word. Bleh...:) ~~


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