History of the Liturgical Music in Philadelphia

The Association of Church Musicians in Philadelphia


The Association of Church Musicians in Philadelphia (ACMP) was established in January, 1968 by Dr. Peter LaManna and a few of his colleagues. At the time, Dr. LaManna was Director of Music for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of
Philadelphia. With the reform and renewal of the liturgy inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council in 1963, new directives and changes were being implemented rapidly. In the first few years following the Council, the liturgy changed from Latin to English, new elements were added, and others were removed. All of this had an impact on Catholic church musicians.

In an effort to educate parish musicians and keep them abreast of each new liturgical reform, Dr. LaManna established ACMP as the educational arm of his Archdiocesan Office of Music. Membership in the Association would provide local musicians with updates on liturgical changes as well as the theology behind them. This was accomplished primarily through mailings and workshops. Secondary goals were to
provide educational opportunities for musicians to improve their skills as well as a social network for parish musicians.

Today ACMP numbers almost 250 members who work primarily in Catholic churches in Philadelphia and its four surrounding counties. A few are from other dioceses and other religious denominations.  The Association is coordinated by a 12 member Board of Directors elected by the membership.

ACMP has developed over the years as an organization which:
– encourages membership of all who in any way serve the People of God in offering to God divine worship.
– fosters and cultivates an understanding of and appreciation for the importance of liturgical music.
– provides exposure to liturgical music suitable for particular services, times, and places, and further enables such music to be carefully prepared and performed.
– encourages cooperation among parish Directors of Music, Choir Directors, Organists, Singers, Cantors, and all who have responsibilities for music in worship.
– provides guidance and disseminates relative information regarding liturgical norms and music.
– provides a forum for discussion of general and specific challenges which can arise in the work of music ministry.
– encourages a spirit of cooperation between musicians and clergy;
– provides educational opportunities for the continuing liturgical and musical formation of parish musicians.
– dedicates its work and that of all its members to the greater glory of God.

In 1998, ACMP was incorporated as a local chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), based in Washington, DC. For the past several years, ACMP’s calendar has included several workshops, two Lenten retreat days, an annual pastor-musician banquet, and nominations for awards to students in grades eight and twelve who have served commendably in their parish music programs.
The program year ends with a sung Vespers and the presentation of awards to the 10 student winners (which include 1 year ACMP membership and $100 scholarship.) ACMP publishes a quarterly newsletter and an annual Membership Directory. The Association website is www.acmpmusic.com.

Cally Proios Welsh


ACMP Banquet Form 2014