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One might think that an interview with a couple of editors of a music publishing company might be an episode targeted only to a select audience, but, to the contrary, decisions made by such publishers can be worthy of national news. In my interview with the deans of three theological schools, when I asked what is going on in theological education presently, Dr. Karen Massey described the situation as a reckoning. There are several causes of that reckoning, but one of the significant causes is the need to confront and address the centuries long legacy and impact of colonial imperialism and white male supremacy. Another, closely related reckoning, is the issue of abuse in some way by those leading lights in a specific field. These reckonings are about power and politics because something like colonial imperialism or the abuses by dominant power brokers are by nature brought about by power and politics. Therefore any decisions made to confront and correct such legacies require political judgments. When those decisions are made, they can draw the attention of some news source. This was the experience of GIA Publications.
This interview occurred on Thursday, June 17. The day before, on Wednesday, June 16, Fox News ran a segment about how GIA Music and one the composers they publish had ended their relationship. So, when the interview occurred, my guests and GIA Music were still in the maelstrom of that event.
Publishers make choices about who and what will be published. That requires a judgment that cannot be separated from questions of theology, philosophy, ideology, ethics, and power.
To help us understand what is happening in Christian music these days and the challenges faced by Christian music publishers are my guests, Kate Williams and Michael Silhavey.
Kate Williams is the Vice President of Sacred Music for GIA Publications, Inc. In addition to her work as an editor, Kate serves as a workshop leader, consultant, and musician in the Archdiocese of Chicago and abroad, following her passion to serve in multicultural, multigenerational communities while mentoring young voices and building bridges through music ministry. Kate holds a Bachelor of Music Composition degree from DePaul University in Chicago as well as a Master of Arts degree in liturgical studies from Catholic Theological Union where it was her privilege to study as a distinguished Bernadin Scholar.
Michael Silhavy is GIA’s Senior Project Editor. With degrees in music education, theology, and liturgical studies from De Paul University, Loyola University (Chicago), and Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN), Michael has worked in parish, grade school, university, cathedral, and diocesan settings. His work at GIA centers around choral and congregational music, hymnals, and working with composers and authors to create musical and liturgical resources for both Roman Catholic congregations and the wider ecumenical community. He has authored biographies on American composers and authors for the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.
The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at theportersgate.com.