OCP is publisher of the Catholic Sentinel.

A Portland-based liturgical publisher is making life simpler for a hardworking genre — parish musicians.

Oregon Catholic Press, a not-for-profit company, pioneered online worship music planning in 2015 and says the offering is even more important during a pandemic. By subscribing to the Breaking Bread Digital Music Library, a parish gives its music director online access to a full slate in one place — accompaniment music for piano, guitar, and other instruments; choral arrangements; psalm settings; ritual texts and almost 1,000 recordings so music groups can listen and learn.

Instead of marshalling an unruly paper collection somewhere in the parish, the music director with a digital music library can quickly download digital files for a Mass into a list and create a link to send to everyone at once. At the other end, musicians can see all the songs and toggle to find the right pdfs for them, whatever part they sing or instrument they play.

“A music director can take a laptop and access it from anywhere. No lugging around books,” said Wade Wisler, publisher of OCP. “And it saves the music director from having to stand at the copy machine.” Wisler explained that a printed version of everything in the digital library would take up many shelves.

The digital library was a revolution, but admittedly was spendy for some parishes, Wisler said. An annual subscription to the full collection cost about $1,200 for any parish. Aware that churches are struggling during the pandemic, OCP is now offering tiered pricing, based on the size of the congregation, starting at $599 per year for parishes under 750 families and working up to $1,199 for parishes of more than 1,000 families. In addition, parishes can lower prices further by ordering only what they need. Digital choral arrangements for a choir of 1 to ten people would cost $120 per year. Prices increase as the choir size grows. An accompanist can get all the keyboard material for $156 per year.

“OCP is committed to serving the church and we felt an obligation to make these resources more readily available to smaller and poorer parishes,” said Wisler.

He knows that parishes, big or small, need digital worship resources during the pandemic. “We want to help parishes find creative ways to have worship continue,” said Wisler.

Tom Tomaszek, who directs music at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego, has used the full digital music library since it was created. In fact, Tomaszek is a former OCP staffer who helped imagine the service. He is glad OCP now is offering smaller pieces of the library for a lower price.

“The ability to pull together resources so easily and make them available to our musicians in real time is a tremendous help,” Tomaszek said. “There can be lots of things for just one song.”

Tomaszek particularly likes the recordings of songs that is part of the package. That speeds the process of learning new material. Another help: everyone can add their own notes to the pdf files.

“It is a really amazing tool,” said Mary DiCamillo, a western region sales manager for OCP and a longtime parish music minister in California. “An accompanist can pull it up on an iPad to practice or have all the music on an iPad for Mass.”

Parishes can test drive the library for two months at no charge. And schools and colleges can subscribe to the digital music library at its lowest price, no matter their size.

The digital library works in concert with OCP’s liturgy planning website, liturgy.com, which began in 2004.

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