Booklet: How Can I Keep from Singing?

Gabe Huck. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1989.101 pages. $5.95.

This booklet features a Roman Catholic priest's "thoughts about liturgy for musicians." In a simple but provoking conversational style, Huck muses on such things as what it is we do when we engage in worship, how we do things musically "by heart" in Christian rituals, how the Psalms should be central to our experience, how important silence is, and what kinds of texts and music(s) we should use in contemporary worship.

Although a few of Huck's ideas pertain only to the Roman Catholic context, most of his suggestions are very appropriate for Protestant churches as well. He justly contrasts the church's worship to our modern cultural "needs" for entertainment and instant satisfaction:

A weekly hour of kitsch may be popular, may keep folks smiling and coming back. It works for TV evangelists and it can work for us. But it has nothing to do with a church bound to Jesus and Israel (p. 74).

Huck's booklet is useful for inspiration (get copies for a choir retreat or work through it at a church music conference), teaching, and to stimulate further reflection on musical worship.

Bert Polman (bdp5@calvin.edu) is a hymnologist who is a professor and chair of the music department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.