Saturday, June 11, 2005

NOT a Retailer's Dream Convention

From today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Pastoral musicians group to convene June 27 to July 1 in Milwaukee:

Nearly 4,000 people from across the nation are expected to gather in Milwaukee to sing, pray, and network during the 28th annual Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians from June 27 to July 1 at the Midwest Airlines Center. The association's mission statement says it is "primarily composed of musicians, musician-liturgists, clergy, and other leaders of prayer devoted to serving the life and mission of the Church through fostering the art of musical liturgy in Catholic worshipping communities." The convention will be preceded by the National Catholic Children's Choir Festival, the National Catholic Handbell Festival, Music Education Days and Hispanic Ministry Days.

In about 1967, at approximately the zenith of the 'sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll' fetish/subculture, the National Ass'n for Pastoral Musicians succumbed to the Zeitgeist and was taken over by the usual suspects (although some of them continued wearing Roman collars whenever they were attacking the Roman Catholic Church--an affectation continued to this very day by Richard McBrien of Notre Dame.)

In any case, NAPM was quietly and justifiably derided by Catholic musicians still capable of rational thought--by a slight adjustment to the pronunciation of the acronym "NAPM." We referred to it as "NAPALM."

The Nietschze-ian ("transvaluation of all values") hegemony of NAPALM's leadership held sway until approximately 5-6 years ago, when it became painfully obvious that Art had left the NAPALM-infested shores and took refuge someplace else--as it turned out, in a Spanish monestary which made a small fortune by recording and SELLING!!! a CD of (gasp!) Gregorian Chant!!!

Early reports from our sources who have been treated to "Hispanic Ministry" brainwashing "workshops" are extremely pessimistic. It is reliably reported that one of the speakers at the Milwaukee "Hispanic Ministry" conference told the gathering that "....we're always late for [Mass]....don't worry, it's part of our culture to be late..." With that as prelude, one can hardly wait for the NAPM-sponsored HM revelations at the Convention.

The "Music Education Days" portion promises to be interesting. We'll take bets on whether the NAPM speakers mention such concepts as the definition of Musica Sacra and how it should 'glorify God' and 'lift the minds and hearts of the Faithful to God' --that "minds" part has been particularly troublesome for the past, oh, 40 years--or whether there will be a discussion of the iron-quadrangle nexus necessary for worship: 1) sacred space; 2) sacred time; 3) sacred language; and 4) sacred ritual, accompanied by music comporting with the definition above.

There are quite a few educators who firmly believe that such concepts can be grasped by children, especially children between the ages of 12 and 18. By no co-incidence, these are children who have grown out of the Fred Rogers/Sesame Street phase. Unfortunately, NAPM's endorsements and thrust has been oriented towards exactly the Sesame Street musical standards for many, many years. The cynic might conclude that NAPM leadership's grasp of the Art of music is firmest at that level--not beyond.

This should be interesting.