Is it even possible to get a group like this to sing chant for some parts of the Mass in which they perform? I would say yes, but the group leader might balk, especially the one shown directing in this photo:
My only experience with so-called contemporary music was in my home parish in the late 1960's that developed a lousy folk group that sang hits from Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar and some anti-Vietnam stuff.
In college I went to a parish that had a better folk group but sang the same sort of folk and secular stuff.
In the seminary we sang a variety of music with a variety of instrumentation. It went from traditional to bizarre. It was the late 1970's after all.
My first assignment had a traditional choir with organ and a folk group. The Folk Mass at 12 noon was packed with younger families. The 9:30 organ choir was full but with older folks and some young. The 9:30 Mass heard more singing coming from the congregation, more robust. The 12 noon crowed preferred to let the folk group, which was very good, do the singing.
About three years into that assignment (I was there five years) I encouraged the worship committee to change the name of the folk group to the "contemporary choir" as even in the early 1980's the term folk group was out of date.
It wasn't until the early 2000's some 20 years into my ordination that I started to get more interested in chant, Latin or otherwise. It wasn't until then that I learned that the Propers actually existed for the Introit, Offertory and Communion and for every Ordinary Form Mass in the Missal and that these could be chanted in English also.
To be honest with you, my seminary training in liturgical music focused on hymns and not chant at all. I was totally ingnorant of the chant tradition of our Church which was only about 1,800 years old!
Since 2007 and having a schola that chants the propers for the EF Mass, I began to realize what a no-brainer it is that these be reinstituted into the OF Mass in some form.
But I haven't had any experience (except when visiting local parishes that still have the tired and worn out folk/contemporary style of singing) with contemporary music since 1985.
I realize that we cater today to people's base instincts and what turns them on at Mass rather than tradition and dignity.
But what if there was a blend of contemporary and traditional at a given Mass, like the hybrid Masses so many people despise where Spanish and English are combined or whatever other language that people know even though they know English? I know of young people of Mexican origin in our neighboring parish who are perfectly fluent in English, although their parents aren't, who only go to the Spanish Mass there and thus can't participate in an English Mass because they never go to one although they speak perfect English!
For example, at the procession, there could be a rousing, secular sounding contemporary hymn but once the priest arrived at the altar, the Proper Introit could be chanted in English or Latin or Spanish.
The same for the Offertory and Communion antiphons but then there could be the other contemporary stuff that is so beloved. And the recessional can be any crazy old folk thing.
How would that work?
If I were bishop, I would mandate that all parishes know the Jubilatio Deo Mass settings that Pope Paul VI tried in vain to establish throughout the world after the needless collaspe of Latin in most parishes following his committee's redesign of the traditional Mass and allowing for contemporary vernacular singing.
Then I would tell all pastors that diocesan Masses at the Cathedral would chant the Propers in Latin and the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith and Agnus Dei in Latin and the Kyrie in Greek. There might be a salute to other second languages in the diocese in the readings but Latin or English would predominate.
In other words, I would mandate that Latin parts of the Mass be sung in every parish for the winter Ordinary Time cycle. Thus every parish in the diocese would know in common this setting of the Mass. How kosher would that be?
What do you think?