When the Michelin Tire Company in France wanted to boost car sales (and subsequently a need for tires) they started rating restaurants. The idea was to cultivate a desire to travel to see these wonderful places and enjoy their outstanding dishes. It may seem a trifle, but it was a step toward making us the mobile culture that we are. It was also a long term project. It would not change the world overnight. It was a gentle and patient development of a mindset.
So when Catholics complain about there not being any good Catholic art I ask, “What are going to do about it even if it will not result in a change for you in the next ten minutes?” That was thrown back on me when complaining that there are not a lot of qualified organists out there. There is only one organ major at the local university here this year. Those that are competent at the organ can afford to be choosey. They want to play where they have a good instrument in a good building, are paid well, are well respected, and can do “good” music. Way too often this is not the Catholic Church. Many of our buildings are not designed for music without complicated (and often inadequate) electronic equipment to make up for poor acoustics. Our instruments are lesser shelf. We do not pay well (that may never change), and much of our music is schlock with no desire or room to expand our musical tastes.
So, what are we going to do about it? One thing we are going to try to do (funding is always an issue) is make keyboard lessons available at our parish. If we can get a good group of youth (or adults) playing keyboard, some may discover a true talent. Perhaps, since they will be formed in a Catholic setting, they may move to organ and have a desire to play for Mass. It may not be for any parish that I have anything to do with. But that is Okay. If there were 20 parishes in the diocese that did this, then maybe one of the students from another parish will eventually help this community out.
Somebody has to start. There must be a source somewhere. The fact that it may not benefit me directly is not an excuse not to try something. It should be seen like vocations. Rarely does a man return to his home parish. But in sending someone out, we can hope to receive someone back from another parish that cultivates vocations.
So do something. Have your kids take lessons. Take lessons. Give lessons. Pay for a neighbor kid to take lessons. Let your music ministry people know that you appreciate them. Promote – fund – appreciate – value – encourage – but above all – DO SOMETHING.