The music for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to New York City may have a familiar sound to visitors from the Albany Diocese.

That's because Wm. Glenn Osborne, former director of music at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Albany, is arranging scores for the orchestras that will be playing during Masses at St. Patrick's Cathedral and Yankee Stadium.

He will also sing in the choir at the stadium.

Key position

"I'm delighted," Mr. Osborne said of his involvement with the music for the historic visit. "It's definitely an honor."

While some would say that participating in an event like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he doesn't want to limit himself.

"I'm still young," he said. "I hope to do more."

Keeping time

Mr. Osborne was first asked to participate in arranging the music in January. "The time table is so quick," he said.

In addition to arranging music, he will be part of the 200-member choir singing at the Mass at Yankee Stadium. About 450 people from the Albany Diocese will attend that liturgy.

"This will be my first time singing in the choir for a pope," he said.

Of note

While music is an important part of all liturgical celebrations, Mr. Osborne noted that it will be especially important at Yankee Stadium.

"The music will definitely assist in transforming Yankee Stadium," he said. "Having [sacred] music people are familiar with will help remind them that this is a liturgical experience," and not a sporting event.

Harmony

One of the challenges he faces is selecting music that speaks to all of the worshipers present at a celebration.

"This challenge is actually one of the delights of the job for me," he continued. "The joy of serving in a cathedral or at the diocesan level is that there is automatically presumed to be a diverse population; to serve this diverse population, there should be a variety of music."

Nonetheless, he pointed out, the music has to fit the liturgical celebration and be good music. Including a musical style just to be diverse wouldn't be appropriate, he said.

Variety

Whether ministering in a diocese or assisting in the planning of a papal Mass, variety is important and keeps his ministry interesting, Mr. Osborne said.

"Having a wide range of people participating in a liturgy gives me an opportunity to plan a wide variety of music," he said.

"While not everyone may like every selection I make, hopefully, some selections will lead them to a deeper understanding of their faith, and the others will lead them to a better understanding of their neighbor."

(One of the tasks assigned to Mr. Osborne is arranging the Vatican Anthem. The sheet music was available on the Vatican website, but it was difficult to read and had no parts for clarinets or bassoons. So, he served as a "music copyist" and arranger for the piece. Mr. Osborne's wife is Karen Dietlein Osborne, who was a staff writer for The Evangelist. The couple moved to Florida last fall, when he became director of liturgical music for the Diocese of Orlando.)

(04/03/08)