810 Aiken Avenue
Perryville, MD  21903
Policy and Guidelines for Cantors
In keeping with the statement of the Second Vatican Council that the true purpose of sacred music is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful, and also in keeping with the statement in the Council documents that one cannot find anything more religious and joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song, Good Shepherd Parish has established this guideline.  It is the goal of the Program of Music Ministries to facilitate the parish assemblies’ response to the call of  the Second Vatican Council for the full, conscious and active participation of the faithful at Mass through sung prayer.
Further, in keeping with the statement of The General Instruction of the Roman Missal that every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and holy days of obligation, and that in addition to its ritual function within the liturgy, music draws the human spirit into expressions of joy, unity and love, it is the goal of the Program of Music Ministries to encourage prayerful, singing assemblies through the selection and performance of vibrant music of many diverse styles.
With respect to the ministry of cantor, the following policies have therefore been established and implemented:
  •           Music ministers should remember that the primary minister of music at Mass is the assembly.  It is the job of the musicians to facilitate the sung prayer of the assembly.
  •           Cantors should be aware that they are highly visible ministers at Mass, not only of music, but of hospitality.  The willingness to share their musical gift puts the music ministers in a unique position to reach out to the people of God.
  •           As highly visible ministers at Mass, music ministers should dress appropriately.
  •           All cantors must rehearse with the music director and with their accompanist prior to their scheduled turn. Unless their accompanist is the music director, this means that two rehearsals are required.  If rehearsal time is a problem, scheduling the cantor with the music director only can be arranged, thus eliminating the need for a separate rehearsal with another accompanist. 
  •           The purpose of the rehearsals is to make certain that all cantors are aware of what is expected for a particular Mass, to make sure they are familiar with the tune, texts, accompaniment and layout of the songs for that Mass, and so that the music director can gauge a cantor's readiness to serve at the Mass.  New music is introduced at these rehearsals, and memos and cds are sometimes distributed.
  •           Some accompanists are willing to meet with the cantor before the Mass at which they are ministering. This is not always possible, however. The cantor must always contact their accompanist to make the necessary arrangements.
  •           If a cantor is unable to rehearse with the music director, then the music director will find a replacement for the cantor for that weekend’s Mass.
  •           If a cantor is unable to take their scheduled turn, they are to contact the music director immediately.  The music director takes care of switching or replacing the cantor.
  •           Under no circumstances are any accompanists or cantors allowed to rehearse (or “run through”) music in any of the churches within one-half hour of the beginning of Mass as this is the time reserved for quiet prayer. If there is no one in the church, however, the music ministers may continue to rehearse until the faithful begin to arrive.
  •           Cantor rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings from 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. in whichever church the adult choir is rehearsing. If the choir is not rehearsing, the rehearsals are usually at Good Shepherd Church.
  •           The schedule is usually prepared quarterly, and the number of times a cantor is scheduled depends on the availability of all the cantors.
  •           If a cantor wishes to rehearse with their accompanist in one of the churches during the week, they must clear the rehearsal time and day with the person in charge of the calendar  (at the present time, that person is Renée LeBrun).
  •           Cantors are expected to read all memos issued by the music director, and to mark their calendars when the schedules are distributed.
  •           All cantors will sing the music as written, and/or as directed by the music director.
  •           All cantors must attend the occasional mandatory cantor meetings and workshops.  Because of the weekly rehearsals, however, these are kept to a minimum, usually fewer than one per year.
  •           All special vocal music, including preludes and communion meditation pieces are to be approved by the music director and the pastor.  The music director must be present at a rehearsal with the cantor/soloist and their accompanist prior to the performance of the special piece.