A few weeks ago I sent the following email to the editor of the SSG's journal *Music and Liturgy*. But seeing as, to date, I have received no reply, I thought I'd post it here for discussion among SSG members.
Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
Director of Music and Organist
Shrine Church of St. Augustine of England, Ramsgate, UK
Dear Kevin and all at the SSG,
I hope this message finds you well!
I just wanted to thank you for sending me recently a sample copy of 'Music and Liturgy' (the October 2014 issue). In many ways it is a very impressive publication, and it's heartening to see such dedication to music in the Church. So: congratulations!
I was particularly pleased to see listed on Good Friday ('Preparing the Liturgy,' p.13) a section titled 'For the Choir'. I wonder: would you consider including suggestions for the choir for every Sunday, rather than just the odd occasion? It could be very useful! My only disappointment here was that many of the pieces chosen were, in my opinion, too difficult for the average parish choir. The same could be said of the section 'Choral Music for Lent' (PtL, p.5), which includes a handful of pieces which really are only accessible to professional-standard choirs. I think more effort could be made here.
However, I was very disappointed to see there was no mention made of singing the Proper of the Mass (the Entrance antiphon, for example). This is something which is central to the celebration of Mass––and, also, is very easy to do––and yet, so far as I can see, it's not even hinted at in M&L or PtL.
But more disappointing still was the fact no mention was made of Gregorian chant in either publication. I was really puzzled by this, because the Church has affirmed time and time again that Gregorian chant is the primary type and source of liturgical music, and should be promoted above all other forms of music for the liturgy. On a practical note, it is also much easier and more accessible than many of the hymns and worship songs you promote in PtL. Gregorian chant is also the most popular type of liturgical among young people, so I really think the Society of St. Gregory––which is, after all, named after the 'father' of Gregorian chant!––ought to make a much bigger effort here.
I hope the above comments and criticisms are both fair and constructive. I'd be really delighted to discuss these issues with you, and help in any way I can. In the meantime, I very much look forward to hearing from you.