Whistling Into the Wind? OCP responds.
As I’ve spent time offering two articles about whether the “grass roots” of RotR folk/CMAA/Progressive Conservationists (should I copyright that? ) could actually influence via direct dialogue with the “Liturgical Industrial Complex” of publishing companies, I feel obliged to share also the reply I received yesterday from an officer at OCP with the readership. I realize my second article, an attempt to provide a sort of template for others who might wish to also personally get involved in helping the Big Three (and others) towards paradigm shift, was a source of misunderstanding and mockery to some. It was not intended as such. But for the record, we should know the effect and result of such efforts. This is the letter I received from OCP:
Thank you for your email. Please allow me to reply at the request of John Limb. I am the Manager of Worship Publications; I oversee the publication process for our pew resources.
We appreciate your feedback on specific songs in our Breaking Bread and Music Issue publications. This comes at a propitious time as we are in the midst, as I think you know, of receiving input from our missal subscribers via the annual Music Issue Survey. We take this input very seriously. We read every survey and carefully note all specific song suggestions (whether additions or deletions). These titles are gathered and shared with our music selection committee, which reviews them before making recommendations for the contents of the following year’s missals. Even if a song is suggested only once by one subscriber, it is included on the list. Please know that the songs you suggested for removal here will be included on that list as well.
As you can imagine, it is challenging to produce a single-volume sacred music resource that meets the needs and satisfies the expectations of every subscribing parish in the country. The needs and expectations vary widely. Our goal is produce an annual resource that addresses the needs of most of the parishes we serve, knowing that not everyone will be entirely happy with the result. The music selection committee works hard every year to add and remove songs, with much debate and careful consideration of many factors.
We understand the importance of chant and have striven for many years now to include it in our publications. We also, as you know, offer specific publications that offer chant options together in single volumes. There is, of course, Laus Tibi, Christe, with more than 70 chant settings. The most recent example is the St. Meinrad antiphonary. These books are designed to be used in conjunction with our various missal and hymnal programs. In fact, our hymnals include a plastic pocket in the back cover to accommodate these supplemental publications. This provides a means for parishes to access additional music that better addresses their specific needs. It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s the best compromise under the circumstances.
I note that the 2014 edition of Breaking Bread includes more than 45 chant pieces and Latin hymns. We continue to consider chant pieces for inclusion in our missals and have added several in recent years. That said, I will also forward to our committee your suggestion that we increase the number of Latin chant pieces. (emphasis mine)
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us and for using our publications these many years. God bless you in your ministry!
Worship Publications Manager
Well, my friends, what think ye?