NPM convention in Lousiville opened Monday with a stellar, switched-on address by Msgr. Ray East, “Give Me Jesus.”
Preach it, brother! At one point Msgr. East led us through all of the “Ave Maria” chant in Latin. I estimate that roughly 1/4 or 1/3 of the convention hall joined in by heart. (I was near the front – tell me if you have another report from farther back.) Msgr. East also led everyone through a stanza of a lovely contemporary strophic hymn (which I admit I didn’t know).
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Just what do they sing at NPM convention liturgies and gatherings?
This doesn’t claim to be scientific, OK? But for what it’s worth, I did a rough tally of how many lines or systems of music appear in the convention booklet in each of the categories below. I already know that the categories aren’t comparable because some are about text, some about music, and so forth. Of course and like always, the categories blur into each other. Some things were hard to assign – much of the “Catholic contemporary in parts” could have been listed, because of traditional influence on the voice-leading, under “Catholic recent in classical style in parts.”
American secular folks song in parts: 9
(“My Old Kentucky Home” – we’re in Louisville)
Catholic contemporary in parts: 99
English plainsong: 50½
Catholic recent in classical style in parts: 44
Handel “Alleluia Chorus”: 32
Multilingual metered in unison: 16
New ecumenical hymn in classical style in parts: 14
Postconciliar unison antiphon: 12
Multilingual metered in parts: 11
Catholic contemporary in unison: 8
Traditional ecumenical hymn in parts: 6
Anglican chant in parts: 6
Spanish plainsong: 3½
Shaker in unison: 3
Spanish contemporary in parts: 2
New metered in Latin: 2
NPM fully claims that their convention liturgies are not meant to be a model, or statement, or anything else but a way for this particular group in this time and place to pray together. And for that, the musical selections always work admirably.
I’m sure you’ll be disappointed if I don’t have something opinionated to say. Just for your sake, then, I’ll throw this out: Where’s the Latin chant in this? Hello?!? Not even a little line somewhere?
And this: where did the traditional “ecumenical” hymns go?!? Could we please sing LOBET DEN HERREN or WESTMINSTER ABBEY or WONDROUS LOVE in parts?
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The NPM council has about three dozen individuals representing all segments of NPM, including our Episcopal Moderator, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo. The council met Tuesday to elect new members to the NPM board of Directors. The Board of Directors has five members along with NPM President Mike McMahon. Newly elected to the NPM board are:
- Lynn Trapp, St. Olaf Catholic Church, Minneapolis.
- Jennifer Pascual, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.
- Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville.
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They’re doing a land office business over in the Exhibition Hall. One publishing house which shall remain nameless (they publish the missal and a new prayer resource) told me they’re exceeding all projections and expect to return home with an empty truck and a full wallet. Maybe they’ll have room to haul some of my stuff back to campus.
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Convention registration as of today: 3,148. Wow!