Catholic musician Emma Fradd is on a mission to improve music in Australian parishes through her music revival workshops. Source: The Catholic Leader.
Ms Fradd likes the word revival. “I’m a direct communicator, because I think (revival) signifies that something is dead and lifeless,” Ms Fradd said. “And I think a lot of parish music in our country is dead.”
Recognising there was a problem was the first step to solving it, and Ms Fradd, who is touring Brisbane parishes as part of her Music Revival Series, wants to solve the problem. Old did not equal bad in her view.
She said many older traditional hymns were timeless, but if parish music groups were doing the same thing the same way for five or more years then that was a problem.
A friend, who was Catholic but turned Protestant, told her a story about how she visited a Catholic church recently. Ms Fradd asked what her experience had been.
“She said to me, ‘Emma, I knew Jesus was there, but it was as if everyone was acting like he wasn’t’,” she said.
“Personally, I’m not saying every parish is like this – I’m not saying you can judge someone’s inward disposition based on their outward disposition – but I think if visitors are coming to our parishes and it looks as if the people participating … don’t even care about what they’re doing, that sends a message.
“And the message that sent was – it’s not worth being here; I wish I was somewhere else.”
Ms Fradd said the Mass was not about listening to music; it was about listening to the Word of God and receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
But everything, music especially, should and could point to God to make a richer connection at the Mass. Her big message was – “you are a son or daughter of God”, which took precedence over job titles as music director or music minister.
"I think a lot of times, people can cling to their roles as music ministers and forget that they’re there to serve,” she said.
Emma Fradd says Australian parish music is dead – but not gone (The Catholic Leader)