musicheart1.jpgOUR PARISH LOVES TO SING!musicheart1.jpg

We are blessed here at Precious Blood to have a singing assembly. Our parishioners love to sing, and rightly take their part in "full, conscious and active participation". We serve an assembly filled with people from many different backgrounds, cultures and experiences so our music ministry strives to musically lead the prayer of all people with whom we worship as we journey towards our common, heavenly goal. "One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregration expressing its faith and devotion in song." (Musicam Sacram 1:16)


What does this diverse family in the vineyard of Precious Blood like to sing? (listed in alphabetical order)

 Our parishioners love to sing CHANT! (such as the mass parts, Tantum Ergo or Have Mercy on Us, Lord) Gregorian chant is uniquely the Church's own music. It is a living connection with our fore-bearers in the faith, a sign of communion with the universal Church and a bond of unity across cultures. The chanted Sanctus (Holy) in Culpeper is the same one used in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Because of its universality, our diocese has asked that all parishes be familiar with the basic chants of the mass. When we sing chant, we image the greater worldwide communion with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form find their voice through its beauty that reaches across space and time.

Our parishioners love to sing CONTEMPORARY HYMNS! (Give Me Ears to Listen, We are Called or Go Make a Difference) Many contemporary hymns contain music that might surprise or disturb us: unfamiliar rhythms, unusual melodies, unexpected harmonies and the like. Such pieces can distance us from what is routine and ordinary. But at the same time they can open us up to God's presence in the unknown, in the unfamiliar, in mystery. Indeed all God's works can reveal the divine presence. (A singer's companion to the church year) The New Evangelism exhorts us to use "modern expressions of the Ancient Faith". Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form rejoice in the freshness of the sounds and rhythms and the relatability of the lyrics.

Our parishioners love to sing GLORY and PRAISE! (Here I Am, Lord, On Eagle's Wings, Sing a New Song) Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, a group of Catholic composers known as the "St. Louis Jesuits" utilized pop-style melodies and rhythms to accompany texts from Scripture and other religious sources. Originally compiled in "Glory and Praise" hymnals (now out of print) they continue to be among the most popular and cherished hymns among Catholics and can also be found now in many Protestant hymnals. Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form enjoy the wisdom and consolation of scripture in the lyrics and the accessibility of their melodies.

Our parishioners love to sing SPIRITUALS and GOSPEL HYMNS! (Soon and Very Soon, There is a Balm in Gilead or Were You There) Spiritual hymns are a musical form specifically arising from the African American experience of slavery in the United States. They often speak of faith despite the hardships of life and the longing for freedom, from both physical and spiritual slavery. When we sing these types of hymns, we declare our faith through whatever hardships we may endure in our own lives as well as our yearning to be from the bondage of sin, struggles that are universal across all racial, economic and cultural divides. Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form rejoice in spirituals' lively rhythms or reassuring promises and our parishioners who grew up in Protestant households feel welcomed when praying these words and songs from their own childhoods.

Our parishioners love to hear INSTRUMENTS joining their song! From the days when the Ark of the Covenant was accompanied in procession by cymbals, harps, lyres and trumpets, God's people have, in various periods, used a variety of musical instruments to sing his praises. Though the primary liturgical instrument is the human voice, and is considered to be the most privileged and fundamental of musical instruments--the only one created by God!--Christ's faithful continue to use a wide variety of forms and styles through which to join their voices in prayer and joy. Parishioners who love to have their sung prayer accompanied by instruments appreciate the richness of the additional textures and harmonies.

Our parishioners love to hear the ORGAN joining their song! The organ is "accorded a pride of place" because of its capacity to sustain the singing of a large, gathered assembly, due to both its size and its ability to give "resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation." (Sing to the Lord, Music in Divine Worship) Parishioners who love to sing prayer accompanied by the organ revel in its ability to support the whole assembly with a sound that can vary from the gentle to ethereal to a full, grand outpouring of joy.

Our parishioners love to sing PRAISE MUSIC! (Hosanna, Father, We Adore You, 10,000 Reasons) Praise music usually consists of words of love or praise to God or texts taken directly from Scripture. Whereas many other forms or styles of music are filled with affirmations of God's benevolence in our lives or prayers and encouragement in living lives in greater accord with the Gospel, praise music's aim is more direct: the continual praise and rejoicing in the presence of the Holy One and in His presence in the Word. Such is the joy of the angels who continually sing "Glory to God in the Highest" and "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!" Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form love the directness of praise music as well as nourishment from hearing the Word.

Our parishioners love SILENCE! It is through the silence after the introduction that we know when to begin singing. It is through the silence between the notes that we know the rhythms. It is through the silence during our liturgies that we can hear the whispers and rhythms of our Lord. "Music arises out of silence and returns to silence. God is revealed both in the beauty of song and in the power of silence." (Sing to the Lord, Music in Divine Worship) Our parishioners who love silence find a break for their souls where the Holy Spirit can respond to their inner thirsts.

Our parishioners love to sing TRADITIONAL HYMNS! (Beautiful Savior, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee) Traditional hymns utilize simple, metrical forms of melody, usually with four part harmony, to set the background for poetic texts praising God and his blessings. When we sing traditional hymns we are able to feel secure in the known so that we can greater bring to mind, share in and continue the wisdom and insights that were revealed and rejoiced in by our ancestors in faith. Our parishioners who love to sing prayer in this form find their souls reassured by the familiar while being elevated by the beauty of the lyrics.

I have become all things to all,

to save at least some.

All this I do for the sake of the gospel,

so that I too may have a share in it. (1 Cor 9:22,23)

Sing praise to the Lord, you faithful; give thanks to God's holy name. (Ps. 30:5)