I was inspired to create this video a few days ago, after a fellow a blogger, Gessica from Catholic Mom Vibes reached out to me to share some ideas about an exciting new concept in music and spirituality.
As a pastoral musician with nearly 18 years of parish experience, I’ve had the opportunity to make many mistakes. My biggest mistakes were believing that the newest, fanciest or most expensive resources would improve the quality of music at mass. The early church did not have heavy hymnals or an expansive repertoire of nearly 1,000 songs. According to the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Meinrad, until a notation system was developed in the ninth century, early Christian songs were transmitted by oral tradition. Songs of early Christianity were learned by ear, and passed along from peer to peer. While studio recordings and demos help us develop a better picture of the composer’s initial intentions, the interpretations of fellow church musicians can help us adapt repertoire to the variables precipitated by instrumentation, vocal range and musical styling.
In a modern twist on an ancient practice, there are several Catholic musicians who have YouTube channels devoted to sharing their interpretations a of standard conventional Catholic repertoire. As there is room in the church for a variety of liturgical music genres, there is a need to have various models for interpretation. Because each of these YouTubers has a unique set of talents, each one could interpret the same song a little differently.
SaxMarc1 is a singer and keyboard player who posts videos of the psalm responses from OCP’s contemporary responsorial psalm resource, Spirit and Psalm.
In addition to these four channels, the major liturgical music publishers offer brief audio samples on their websites, PDF previews of most songs, and full MP3s available for purchase. Listed below are the publishers and their most popular resources.
World Library Publications Celebremos; We Celebrate; Cantos del Pueblo de Dios; Lectionary Psalms and Gospel Acclamations.
Oregon Catholic Press Breaking Bread; Spirit and Song; Flor y Canto; Unidos en Cristo; One Faith, Una Voz; Respond & Acclaim; Responde y Aclama; Spirit & Psalm.
GIA Music Gather, Gather Comprehensive, Worship, Psalms for the Church Year, Oramos Cantando/We Pray in Song, Ritual Song, Lectionary Psalms (Guimont); Lectionary Psalms (Gelineau.)
Simply Liturgical Music is an online liturgical music resource and distributor. An annual subscription allows unlimited downloads and printing of all titles in their growing catalogue. Unlike the other resources which charge for individual MP3 purposes, Simply Liturgical Music includes free MP3 downloads with your affordable annual subscription.
I’m sure these aren’t the only tools out there, and the #FontFam would love to learn more about other music ministry & cantoring hacks. What free resources do you use when you need to learn a new song in a hurry?