A Note From Our Director of Music & Liturgy

Posted on July 15, 2022 in: General News

A Note From Our Director of Music & Liturgy

Excerpt from the Sunday, July 17th Bulletin, written by Martha Barth (Director Liturgy & Music)


A Note From Our Director of Music & Liturgy

Hello! This week will be one month that I’ve been working at Nativity. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming, and I’m so grateful to be at a parish with such a wonderful community. Now that I’ve been here a little while, I’d like to talk a little more about the music.

Firstly, I welcome your feedback! My main role is to help lead and strengthen your participation as the congregation during the liturgy. It is helpful to know what music you enjoyed, how easy you found it to follow along with the hymns, etc. Of course, everyone responds differently to different kinds of music, and not every piece I play or hymn we sing will be everyone’s favorite. I hope to find the right balance of music that helps everyone worship best. If you see me putting stuff away after Mass or power walking somewhere, don’t be afraid to come introduce yourself and say “hi!”

When I first started college, I entered as a piano performance major hoping to pursue collaborative piano. However, I loved accompanying weekend Masses at my home parish (St. Dominic’s in Northfield) and decided to take organ lessons to further my study of church music. That led to changing my major to a general music major, a year in Atlanta, GA, as an organ scholar, and then a Master’s in Sacred Music (Organ Performance). During my Master’s I was able to take courses in organ literature, creative hymn playing, and organ improvisation. These classes have greatly impacted how I play at Mass each weekend. For example, each Mass I try to play a hymn introduction that isn’t just the last phrase of the hymn. My goal with each introduction is not only to introduce the hymn tune, but to reflect the text and to encourage singing — no one wants to sing along to a boring hymn!

One of my main goals at Nativity is to grow the music program. I would love to expand our SATB choir, re-start the children’s choir, and bring back instrumentalists for Masses to create a more vibrant musical environment. Right before I started at Nativity in June, I attended one of the weekend Masses and was so excited to hear how well the congregation sings! If you are interested in singing, the SATB choir will sing 3-4 times each month for the 10:30 AM Mass and rehearses Wednesday evenings. There is no previous experience needed to join the choir; it is a learning environment and we would be so glad to have your voice join. If you’re not sure, I strongly encourage you to attend a Wednesday night rehearsal to try it out. If it’s something you try and decide is not for you, that’s okay! It’s a wonderful way to grow not only musically but also in your faith — when you sing you pray twice! Do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions you might have about any of our music programs.

We are also looking to get new hymnals. Our current hymnals have outdated texts and need to be updated. I’m currently waiting on a few samples from publishers before a decision is made. My goal is to find a hymnal that has a diverse range of hymnody, from traditional hymns and chants, to more contemporary songs. Hopefully by the fall we’ll have brand new hymnals for the parish!

Thank you so much for a great first month, and I look forward to my time here at Nativity.


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