by Alvin Kimel
I don’t know where in the world she came from, and and I don’t know why the brethren put up with her. All I know is that the one feature of the contemporary Roman Mass that I despise most is the Ubiquitous Song Leader. You know who I mean. She stands in front of the congregation and sings into the microphone, upraising her hand(s) whenever she wants the congregation to sing along with her. She dominates the liturgy. Not even the celebrant at the altar enjoys such an imposing presence. All eyes are turned upon her. Thanks to the amplification, her voice drowns out everything and everyone. She is everywhere.
I’m just about ready to start a one-man crusade to eradicate this blight upon Catholic liturgy.
The Sunday Mass needs a cantor. I agree. But it’s a minor role—or at least should be. She should not be the focus of our attention. She should not be standing in front of the congregation at the lectern. She should not be waving her hands around directing congregational singing. She should not be singing into a microphone (though I concede this may be the lesser of evils in the absence of a choir or particularly bad acoustics; but even then she should step away from the microphone during the hymns and service music). Her proper location is the choir.
In the past nine months I have had the privilege of worshipping in many different Catholic parishes. It has been a great blessing participating in the liturgy as a layman. With only a couple of exceptions, the Ubiquitous Song Leader has been a dominant, oppressive presence in the liturgy. Even in those congregations with good choirs, she who cannot be ignored assumes center stage. Not only does she cantillate the psalm from the lectern, but she also leads the congregation in the singing of the hymns and liturgical texts, drowning out choir and congregation! There is only THE VOICE. I love to make a joyful noise, but I am finding it impossible to sing the hymns when a single amplified voice fills up the acoustical space. THE VOICE overpowers everything.
click link above for more!!!