Following a nationwide search, Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral has hired local composer and author Adam Bartlett as its new music director. Bartlett began directing music at the cathedral in September.
Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon and Jude, had asked Bartlett, then music director at St. Joan of Arc parish, to assist him in the interview and screening of potential candidates.
“It wasn’t planned, the way it worked out, at least by us,” Fr. Lankeit said. “God has a way of working these things out in a way that’s unexpected.” Bartlett’s rare mix of ability, knowledge and faith sealed the deal.
“The balance that you have to strike is to find somebody who not only has the musical capability and knowledge, but also the understanding of and the embrace of the Church’s mind for sacred music,” Fr. Lankeit said.
“It’s easier to find somebody who has one or the other, but it’s very difficult to find somebody who has both the talent and the understanding and the desire to implement the Church’s vision for sacred music as Bishop [Thomas J.] Olmsted so beautifully outlined in that four-part series, ‘Singing the Mass,’ in The Catholic Sun.”
Bartlett is a 2006 graduate of Arizona State University’s school of music and will complete a master’s degree in liturgy in 2013 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
In 2011, Bartlett’s “Simple English Propers” was published by the Church Music Association. Last month, his second book, “The Lumen Christi Missal,” debuted.
While the first book was intended for use by parish choirs or scolas, Bartlett’s second publication is intended to reach those in the pew, providing the sung parts for the Mass that pertain to the liturgical assembly. About 5,000 copies of “The Lumen Christi Missal” have been pre-ordered already by parishes and individuals throughout the United States.
Bartlett, who grew up in Michigan, said he has been a musician since childhood and played in rock bands in high school. He moved to Arizona in 2002 and subsequently became involved with the Life Teen Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel music, playing modern, religious music.
During his two-year stint at the Tempe parish, he directed three Byzantine Rite liturgies and was overcome by the beauty of the a cappella singing.
“The entire liturgy was sung,” Bartlett said, “and as I continued to study music, I discovered the riches of our own Catholic tradition, which in the Roman rite consists of Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony and other choral treasures.”
Bartlett spent four years directing music at St. Joan of Arc Parish and is the father of two children.
“He is first and foremost a man of faith,” Fr. Lankeit said. “What he does in using his talents in the service of the Church is a manifestation of his faith.”
At the cathedral, Bartlett said he hopes to “bring about the liturgical renewal gradually that’s happening in the life of our Church right now.” He said Bishop Olmsted’s recent series on sacred music in The Catholic Sun articulated “the beautiful vision for sacred music that’s given to us by the mind of the Church.”