Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cynthia Ostrowski Explains It All For You

Recently, Jeffrey Tucker at The Chant Cafe brought our attention to a book published in 1977, that went almost unnoticed at a time when everything in the Church that wasn't nailed down was changing, entitled Church Music Transgressed.

Cathedral musicians with positions lasting back decades were sent packing. Choirs were disbanded. Children’s music programs were defunded. University posts were shut down. Old organizations went bankrupt. Music books were trashed. Whole libraries were hurled into the dumpster. This happened all over ... New publishers, organizations, singing stars, and events emerged to take their place. The ethos was entirely different. Instead of professionalism, amateurism was strangely exalted ...

In the early 1980s, when I first moved to Washington, I sang for a traditional choir at a Jesuit parish in Georgetown. For six years, it was a singular opportunity to be exposed to the great classical works of sacred polyphony that are a genuine treasure of our Catholic heritage. And yet, there were complaints from the pseudo-intellectuals amidst the parish at the time, that our music was "elitist." There had to be guitars at Holy Week, flattop floggers banging on thousand-dollar Martins that they could barely play -- remember, this was when a thousand dollars was a lot of money -- and would waste the first forty-five minutes of a rehearsal trying to tune. But they made the whole thing look like it was ... feelin' groovy.

Over time, they have been proven wrong. Indeed, I wonder if they even remember how foolish they were back then. After all, you don't need a lot of brains to look up a word like "elitist."

Meanwhile, what was ignored forty-five years ago, now sells for nearly forty-five bucks at Amazon.

Fact is stranger than truth.

POSTSCRIPT: At 00:29 to 00:33, we hear Cynthia's sister say, “If you want to tell the difference between me and my twin, you’ll have to spend some time with us.” I should think husband Jeff would have been reluctant to sign off on this proposal, don't you think ... or don't you?

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