Hitting the Wrong Note by Thomas Day

Hitting the Wrong Note

Thomas Day on Church Music

The telephone voice message, from a stranger, sounds desperate: “I must speak with you. Please call me as soon as possible. I need your help.” I return the call and listen to a long tale of anguish and emotional suffering that comes close to physical pain. The topic of the lament is liturgical music in a particular Roman Catholic parish.

About thirty years ago I began to scribble commentaries on the less-than-perfect state of music in Catholic parishes. Ever since then I have been receiving these distress calls with their requests for some kind of advice and consolation. Now these messages are also arriving by e-mail. The details of the complaint will vary. . . .