September 14, 2023

Flor y Canto, cuarta edición at NPM 2023


I was happy to be among the OCP composers who presented at the National Association for Pastoral Musicians’ 2023 annual convention. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the convention – more than have attended in the past several years – and to catch up with other composers and meet new members of the OCP community.

This year, I presented our new Flor y Canto, cuarta edición hymnal in a product resource session on Wednesday afternoon. I was joined by my colleague Pedro Rubalcava and OCP composers Anna Betancourt, Jaime Cortez, Silvio Cuéllar, Iván Díaz, Santiago Fernández, Damaris Thillet and Timothy R. Smith, who shared their enthusiasm for the new hymnal. Some of these composers will have their music in Flor y Canto for the first time.

We spoke briefly about the history of Flor y Canto, which is so beloved in Hispanic communities, and shared some of the highlights of the new edition including the amount of new music (over 200 new titles!), the number of complete Mass settings (14), the diversity of styles (more than 50) and Spanish-speaking countries being represented (from the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Europe) and more. Then came the fun part: we had the opportunity to showcase some of the new music.

We featured 20 pieces from Flor y Canto, and reception for the new songs was very positive. It’s beautiful to see the diversity in styles and the excitement for songs that have already become popular like “Dame Tu Paz” by Anna Betancourt and “Pan del Cielo/Bread from Heaven” by Iván Díaz, affirming their place in the new hymnal.

One highlight: The “Gloria a Dios” from Damaris Thillet and Diego Correa’s Misa San Juan Bautista was probably the most difficult piece to put together. It is an Aguinaldo Jíbaro (a Puerto Rican folk style) which goes from 2/2 to 6/8 and changes tempos.

This was the piece we had to practice the most but, when we finally got it, it was the one we performed the best. It helped us to discover a new appreciation for this style, which is so natural to Puerto Rican communities. It was another example of how Flor y Canto, cuarta edición represents the beauty and diversity of the Spanish-speaking Church.

The fourth edition continues the legacy of this popular and trusted missal. When I asked attendees how many had been using Flor y Canto, primera edición, I was pleasantly surprised that about 15 people raised their hands and the number kept increasing when asked whether they used Flor y Canto, segunda edición and tercera edición. Most of the attendees are faithful Flor y Canto users.

I believe that most of them will greatly benefit from Flor y Canto, cuarta edición eventually, whether it’s now or soon or maybe just their choirs that get the books initially. One attendee mentioned that it was too soon for her parish to get the fourth edition because they had just purchased Flor y Canto, tercera edición two years ago, but she was thinking of strategies to convince her pastor to purchase the new hymnal. That’s the kind of enthusiasm that Flor y Canto, cuarta edición inspires!

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