Who We Are
The Church Musicians Guild of Buffalo is a local chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Our membership includes organists, choir directors, singers, instrumentalists, clergy and many others involved in music ministries throughout the Buffalo Diocese.
The Church Musicians' Guild was founded in 1945 by a group of visionary musicians and clergy who recognized a need for education among the church musicians of the time. Their work focused on chant and organ playing skills. They created the Catholic Choir Masters Guild and attracted church musicians eager to improve their choirs.
With the Second Vatican Council the Choirmasters needed to adapt and the name was changed to the Church Musicians' Guild of Buffalo which now embraced all musicans who served Catholic congregations. Educational goals now included guitarists, instrumentalists, sound systems, and eventually technology.
We became an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians in 1983. Our goals have remained the same for these many years. We maintain our dedication to assisting every pastoral musician in improving their musical, liturgical, pastoral and leadership skills. The youngest chorister to the most accomplished organist will find a place to learn and refresh within our organization. We certainly abide by all church documents and instructions, and have excellent relationships with our diocese and clergy.
We also greatly value the gift of our call to this most creative ministry. We often pray together. We enjoy the support of fellow musicians, and learn from each other. We celebrate accomplishments and mourn losses together.
There are so many benefits to membership: Our yearly schedule of meetings are carefully planned to meet the needs of our WNY congregations-urban, suburban and rural. A newsletter is regularly sent by mail or email with news and announcements keeping everyone informed of CMG, NPM and Diocesan events. Each member is provided with a membership booklet which provides contact information and a list of substitutes. This is an invaluable tool for networking and finding members with an area of expertise easily.
CMG Board for 2017-2018
The Church Musicians' Guild of Buffalo originated in the autumn of 1945, when Rev. Henry Kawalec, Rev. Paul Eberz, Sr. Mary Grace Ryan, SSM, and Mrs. Cecelia Roy Kenny founded the Catholic Choirmasters' Guild. We are the oldest continuing organization of Catholic church musicians in the United States.
Our founders were in the forefront of the liturgical ferment of those post-War years. In the 1950s, they published the Cantate Omnes Hymnal - the first vernacular hymnal for Catholics in the United States. It was published in several editions, the last being the Community Mass Book in 1967. At that time, it was the official hymnal of the Chaplaincy of the U. S. Army.
The primary goal of our Guild has always been the continuing education, enrichment, and fellowship of the musicians of our church at Buffalo, toward ever-more-worthy music in our worship. We have provided and sponsored a regular calendar of workshops, lectures, concerts and other events. Through all its years, the Guild has published a periodic Bulletin concerning local and general items of interest for our membership. We have also financially supported various causes and projects beneficial to the musical life of our diocese.
Over the years, we have provided funds to individuals for the study of organ performance, which has come to be the annual Msgr. Henry Kawalec Organ Scholarship. The scholarship is funded in part by a bequest from Msgr. Kawalec.
A significant part of our education effort has been our Diocesan Convocation of Church Musicians. Starting in 1990, we have annually organized day-long seminars for our musicians, featuring leaders in liturgy and music from around the country.
In 1976, in recognition of the broader spectrum of musicians in our post-Vatican II worship, we re-named ourselves the Church Musicians' Guild. In 1983 we became the local diocesan chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
To Join: Please fill out the membership form provided on this site. Dues are very inexpensive, and your pastor may be willing to provide the funds to join this important organization. Membership questions and any other questions about the Guild can be directed to Bill Fay at firstname.lastname@example.org.