Monday, April 10, 2006

Responsorial singing

For the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I programmed "Remember Your Love" by the Dameans (shudder) for offertory. I noticed that initially, people were singing out on the refrain, but by the last couple of verses, participation had fallen off.

For those of you who know the piece, the verses are much more conducive to a soloist. I asked the congregation to join in on the refrain, while the cantor would sing the verses.

This has happened before as well; everytime I program a cantor/congregation piece for offertory like this one, the initial enthusiasm of the people dwindles towards the end. I've realized that the congregation is so used to singing the entire offertory song, that they feel a bit "cheated" when I rob them of that.

They'll tolerate cantor/congregation singing during the responsorial psalm since they've always done it that way, but offertory--not happening. About two years ago, I tried to implement responsorial singing for communion, at least for the majority of the time. You know the drill; communal refrain, usually from a psalm, and psalm verses sung by the cantor. Unfortunately I can't say it's caught on quite as much as I would have liked it to. I haven't given up, but no refrain I've introduced is sung quite like Moore's "Taste and See".

My wife (not a liturgist, but insightful nonetheless) expressed her opinion and said that she would rather sing everything during communion, or nothing at all. She doesn't like the "sing for 7 seconds, meditate on a verse for 25 seconds, sing for seven seconds, etc."

"All or nothing", that seems to echo the sentiments of my congregation. Any thoughts?

Note: Just to nip it in the bud, yes, I know that Moore's "Taste and See" has been around for 20+ years so people will sing it more readily. Yet, the refrains I've been placing in front of my congregations are simple and singable, and I've used some of them many times.

I feel that my implementation could have been planned better with more long-term goals to learn a set number of settings; alas, you can't unring a bell.


At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Brian Michael Page said...

I'd let them TRY to sing the verses anyways. I wouldn't require it, but let them try it, as long as they know the refrain is THEIRS.



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