The Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship Office of Worship is thrilled to welcome a new Director of Sacred Music, who will work to develop music programs on both the archdiocesan and parish levels. Get to know our new coworker in mission, Dr. Horst Buchholz, and what he is bringing to help us unleash the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Share with us a little about your early life and how you came to pursue an education and career in music.
I was born and raised in Germany and received my first musical education in a boys' choir. It became clear to me pretty early that I wanted to become a music educator and/or an organist. My undergraduate and graduate studies were in church music, music education, and music theory in Berlin, Germany, but I received my Doctorate in conducting from Indiana University in Bloomington.
What is something you are excited to accomplish in your new role with the Archdiocese of Detroit?
We all live in this bizarre Covid survival/recovery mode, and it is a time of rebuilding. While many of us are cautious singing in larger groups or choirs right now, it is time to develop music programs on the Archdiocesan and parish levels that are safe and viable, as well as musically and liturgically uplifting. Music is sung prayer and should lift our minds and souls to the Lord. I am excited about helping parishes and parish musicians to accomplish this task.
What is something you love about working in sacred music?
For me, working in sacred music is practicing my faith. While I am grateful to the Lord for my musical talent and grateful to my teachers for all that I have learned, I always felt that I needed to share this amazing treasure of sacred music with others. Whether it is teaching new music to the choir or the assembly, or helping colleagues in other churches, being a church musician is very much like being a teacher.
Who has had the most significant impact on your career?
I feel extremely blessed to have had many very good teachers, and it would be difficult to name just a few. As a student, I also sang with the Choir of St. Hedwig's Cathedral which frequently performed with the Berlin Philharmonic and some of the greatest conductors in the world. While working for the Archdioceses of Denver and St. Louis, I greatly admired the leadership of Archbishops Chaput, Gomez, Carlson, and Rozanski. They were excellent shepherds of their flocks and very appreciative and supportive of liturgical music.
What role do you see sacred music playing in our mission to unleash the Gospel?
Words speak to our minds and intellect, but by its nature music directly touches our hearts and souls. That's why good preaching and music should go together to unleash the Gospel and bring the Good News of Christ's Love and Redemption to all the faithful. One of the greatest compliments I spontaneously received after a mass was from random people who expressed their gratitude because the music helped them to pray. To this day, I do not know who these people were.
In what ways do you look forward to connecting with various communities in the Archdiocese through the music ministry?
I am still getting used to the geography of the region and learning about the vicariates etc. Together with the Office of Divine Worship, the Office of Sacred Music is planning a series of workshops for liturgists and musicians, and we are going to bring those to the parishes, rather than expecting everyone to come to Detroit. However, I am most excited about meeting pastors and parish musicians and listening to their needs, ready to support and assist them in their ministries.