Choosing Appropriate Music Selections for Roman Catholic Church Services – Toronto Classical Wedding Funeral Singer

Choosing liturgically appropriate music when planning a Roman Catholic wedding or funeral is a very important detail and component of the service that you will not want to overlook. Planning for either one of these ceremonies is so time consuming as there are so many vendors that you need to speak with, such as florists, banquet halls, photographers, funeral homes etc, that the idea of music is put on the back burner since it seems like such a low priority item at the time. However, I have encountered many couples who quickly put together a music program at the last minute, only to be told by the Pastor at their church that the music is not liturgically appropriate.

What many people fail to realize is that churches have very strict standards in terms of what is acceptable/appropriate for music selections. I have had requests from couples to have Top 40 songs performed during very sacred parts of the mass service (i.e. Offertory or Communion). My general reply to those types of requests is “You’ll need to run that one by the priest first”. Actually, many people are unaware that all music programs have to be approved by the Pastor who will be presiding over the service. Whereas in my experience, some priests are more lenient than others and may allow for a non-sacred piece during the service, most priests tend to ensure that only sacred music selections can be performed/sung.

This is why it is useful to ensure that the music ministers for your wedding day or for the funeral you are planning are experienced. Competent church musicians should be able to offer you a combination of both contemporary and traditional sacred musical pieces for the different parts of the service. Keep in mind, since many couples completely rely on the church musicians for song selections during their services, the music program will only be as good as the suggestions of these music ministers.

May I suggest that the first thing you should do is listen to the choir or cantor at the church you plan on having the service. If you are not happy with the music ministers, don’t be afraid to ask the Pastor to use outside musicians. Many Pastors in the Greater Toronto Area will allow couples or families to use their own musicians as long as they are familiar with the order of the service and choose liturgically appropriate music.

I’ve been singing for over 35 years at both weddings and funerals and have sung as a soloist at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Toronto and other churches in Ottawa for the past 22 years. The combination of traditional musical training at St. Michael’s Choir School and being introduced to many modern liturgical musical pieces over the years while singing as a cantor has allowed me to provide my clients with a variety of musical options regardless of the occasion. Myself and the organists that I work with will be able to provide you with beautiful musical suggestions that will make the service memorable.

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