Sunday, October 19, 2003

OK, that does it. I'm not normally one to rant at length when a secular musician plays in church and commits a faux pas. I might notice it and feel frustrated about it, but I don't necessarily get extremely worked up over it.

Today, though, if I'd had anything more than a VERY passing acquaintance with the pianist who came in for the children's choir, I'd have given him a very polite earful as soon as the congregation was completely out of earshot. Boy, was I ticked by the time Mass was over!

He's been known to drop in a hint of a secular song here and there when he's in the midst of playing, particularly after the final song of the liturgy is ended and he's just "filling time" as the congregation files out of the church. I'm not overfond of that tendency of his, but I keep quiet about it (if griping to Mark and to Joe M, who's a music director of another parish, can be considered keeping quiet).

However, transitioning into playing some secular music after Mass is over is one thing. Throwing it in as an auditory filler DURING Mass is something else entirely, and someone needs to have a word with him about it.

There is a part of the Mass where the congregation either recites or sings a prayer to Jesus that begins "Lamb of God...". Today the children's choir sang that particular prayer. The kids' part of it went nicely. But as they were holding the final note of the song "... give us your peeeeace"..... he started playing a little bit of melody under their voices while he worked his way toward the final, closing chord of the song.

As it happened, that little bit of melody consisted of a seven-note, very familiar-sounding measure that I wasn't immediately able to place. I thought, "That's interesting. He threw a little fragment of another song in there. Hmm.". I pondered the tune some more. "A children's song, in fact... now what were those lyrics... OH GOOD GRIEF!!!"

I'm sorry, but regardless of the fact that Jesus's mother was named Mary, there is no part of the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb that is appropriate to be used at any point of any Liturgy. Ever. Not even at the end of the Lamb of God prayer.

I can't freaking believe the pianist did that. I hope the pastor or the choir director noticed it too, as I did, and told him not to do it again.

This is what happens when secular musicians come and play in church... they don't necessarily think in terms of LITURGY or WORSHIP, they think in terms of MUSIC, and faux pas like this are the result. Aack.

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