Monday, March 29, 2010

When the Holy City's Symphony Suspends

The announcement that a major orchestra in our state suspended operations after a concert Sunday has created a major ripple effect in the classical music community in the state. But the issue that came to my attention during Holy Week is not about taxpayers or contributions. Rather, I ask the question have churches themselves assisted in bringing down the symphonies and created an environment where the great sacred masterpieces are forbidden, and the bloviators push for the least common multiple?

When paying $200 to a major secular music publisher to pop a disc, and emphasise the mimes and dancers more than singers, is worth more to a church than having an orchestra with friends (such as South Carolina Philharmonic violinist Jennifer Hill (pictured at left at a running event after Messiah; note that we've run together at running events, seeing each other, and both entered in the aborted Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon XIII), clarinetist Stephanie Matthews, a close college friend, and Beverly Bradley, an organist), something just does not fly well. Has the attitude of MTV, creating generations that would rather have pop-rock music everywhere while leaving serious classical and chamber music on the wayside, contributed to this?

While great musicians are losing gigs, we are seeing the latest garage band become bigger, and an increase in karaoke music in both church and concert settings; there are too many popular artists who have added karaoke dates, and churches whose music leaders prefer the faking over the real deal. When government schools and college-preparatory schools that use government school material are now featuring secular pop tunes (because of massive secularism) set to karaoke (which I've seen performed at shows), it is time for parochial schools to seriously take up the baton of placing real sacred and classical music in schools, and turn away from the past 150 years of “gospel” music infused with feelings, especially with the past 20 years of rock bands over the organist and the orchestra. 

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