Letter from our Music Director:
Music is incredible in that it is able to transcend language, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, or national origin, and truly move us, to stir something within us that we may not even be aware of. There is a beauty in music that allows every person to grasp something different, something that strikes us in the very core of our being, our struggles, our joys, our sorrows, our triumphs; something that connects us to the world around us.
I find that there is a marked difference between casually listening to music and actually truly experiencing it. I was never aware of this complexity, these deeper levels of emotion and spirituality that are such an integral part of music until someone introduced me to Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”. Woven into this masterful work is the voice of one crying out into the world, over and over again to the point of screaming “What does it all mean??” in violent eruptions of anguished protest. I have never really been able to listen to music the same way since then. In particular, I love Charles Ives’ “Unanswered Question”, in which a lone trumpet asks the perennial question of existence; why are we here, what is our purpose, what are we really supposed to be doing? Seven times the question is asked, and each time with growing confusion, the fighting answers of worldly concerns and superficial solutions respond with dissonance and mockery, at last leaving only the ethereal voice of the heavens, which has been present the entire time.
Music in our liturgies is no different. If you truly engage yourself in singing at Mass every weekend, you might find yourself getting more out of it than you would have thought possible. Listen to the words of the hymns we sing and truly take them to heart; use them to pray twice, as St. Augustine once said of singing during Mass. Imagine how much more you could come away with on a Sunday from being immersed in music, letting the melodies wash over you – you may find a peace or re-energizing to carry you through the rest of your week. But remember that in a world of increasing noise and distraction; make sure to take some time for silence as well!