810 Aiken Avenue
Perryville, MD  21903
Policy and Guidelines for Accompanists and Ensembles
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 the accompanist, the following policies have been established and implemented:
  •           Accompanists, cantors and ensembles 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.
  •           Accompanists, cantors and ensembles 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 accompanist, cantor and ensemble  in a unique position to reach out to the people of God.
  •           Accompanists, cantors and ensembles are expected to read and abide by all memos issued by the music director.
  •           Accompanists and ensembles should be familiar with the Policy and Guidelines for Cantors since many notes are included therein which apply to the accompanist and ensemble as well.
  •           All music ministers must rehearse prior to serving at Mass.  Usually rehearsals may be held one hour prior to the beginning of Mass; however, there is to be no rehearsing within a half-hour of Mass, as this is the time reserved for quiet prayer.  If there is no one in the church a half-hour before Mass begins, the musicians may continue to rehearse, as long as all rehearsing ceases when the faithful begin to arrive.
  •           All cantors must rehearse with the music director prior to serving at Mass.  For ensembles, once the initial training has taken place, this rehearsal is usually waived, except in cases such as the introduction of special music or a special liturgy.  However, the leader of the ensemble must be in contact with the music director prior to the ensemble’s serving at Mass.
  •           Rehearsals held in any of the churches must be scheduled with the Parish Calendar Coordinator.  At this time, Renée LeBrun is the Parish Calendar Coordinator.
  •           The Accompanist/Cantor Schedule is usually prepared quarterly and is based on the musicians’ availability.  All substitutions and replacements are made by the music director.  Any musician(s) unable to take their scheduled turn must contact the music director as soon as possible.  Please do not approach another accompanist, cantor or ensemble to switch or replace you as there are other considerations besides availability.
  •           When more than one Preparation Song or Communion Song is provided on the music list or liturgy sheet, you must use the song listed first.  The second song may be sung only if an additional song is needed.
  •           All songs played at Mass for singing by the assembly must be played from the current OCP Keyboard or Guitar Accompaniment Book.  If you wish to play from another source, you must check with the music director.  We are striving for unity in Liturgy, and all our assemblies should be singing the same music.  The cantors are rehearsing from the current Breaking Bread, and other arrangements are not always compatible with it.  Also, be sure to play all measures, all rests, all interludes, etc.as written.
  •           All special vocal music, including preludes and communion meditation pieces, must be approved by the music director and the pastor.  A rehearsal with the music director is required before the music may be sung at Mass.
  •           The pastor or music director should be the first contact for the music for any liturgy held in the parish, including funerals and weddings.  If an accompanist, cantor or ensemble is approached by a parishioner directly, they should refer the parishioner to the music director or pastor.
As you perform your ministry, keep in mind the words of Pope Benedict XVI:  Music and Song are more than an embellishment of worship; they are themselves part of the liturgical action.  Solemn sacred music ... is not therefore a kind of addition that frames the liturgy and makes it more pleasing but an important means of active participation in worship.
May God richly bless you as you serve Him and His people!