Monday, December 31, 2007

Sometimes I start to write an entry, and then think to myself, "why bother?" So I delete it all. (I was writing about the mind of the average congregation member, and what they actually think about the music.)

I kind of hope it snows really hard tonight so I don't have to go play for Mass.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

...and this post IS about Christmas

or, at least, it should be.
I keep on feeling like I need to write something for all of my faithful readers, a de-briefing on the music in particular at Christmas.
Well, it happened. It's over.
There was only a minor amount of drama the day before Christmas Eve and right before Christmas Midnight Mass.
I had a lovely harp player at the Vigil, who accompanied the children's choir. No one else sang, of course they didn't want to "drown out" the choir/harp, of course they wanted to listen! Is that good or bad? Good, I suppose, Catholic's aren't supposed to sing-they're supposed to listen to the choir! (of course, that is just in the ideal situation. The situation with just a cantor singing hymns is a completely different story!)
I had 3 high schoolers play their instruments at Christmas Midnight, they weren't perfectly in tune, and since it was a lot of work and stress for me, I would be curious hearing from those who were there what their perception of it was. Was it enjoyable, and worth it, particularly since the high schoolers actually are interested in coming back? They were timid, at the very least. So I'm sure in that regard, they would get better over time.
And also at Midnight Mass, the choir sang the "Born Today" that I wrote about previously, I believe it went well, and may be paving the way for such things more normally. In fact, this weekend at the last Mass, and the Vigil for MMOG, I plan on having a friend join me in singing the Introit, Offertory, and Communion. I really don't think people care about Latin and such as long as they get some sort of translation (which I will provide by singing the English on a simple tone immediately prior,) or as long as they don't have to sing it themselves! I'm sure I've written about all of this before. As a matter of fact, I believe that it is the explanation that confuses them more. As you know from my previous post about this "Born Today" thing, there was a question of whether or not to write a bulletin article. I did, although I'm not sure how many people read it because of a certain snow storm that weekend. However, right before Mass began, Father gave a brief explanation about why the people wouldn't be singing the "opening hymn," and in fact, when he said stuff like, "Instead, the choir will be singing the introit," a few of my choir members looked at me like, "huh?" They hadn't found it odd at all that they were just gonna sing this thing instead of opening with a carol! So, educating the masses that don't really care to be educated will be a question for another post...
So that was Christmas, I need to try to remember next September or October to bring up the issue with Father that we really both agree that we don't need to have a "Mass at Dawn," as we have these past two years...that practically no one came to, and that caused the number of sleep for at least a couple of people to decrease by 2.5 hours, thus, for me at least, causing me to be in a zone all afternoon!
And now I need to start thinking about Lent and Easter, my favorite season! There is soooo much good music for it out there...My only regret is that the Good Friday service is only so long, and I have sooo much music... (all of my favorite songs are total Holy Week songs...)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

this post is not about Christmas

On Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve, I unintentionally went to my first candle-light Mass. As a matter of fact, it wasn't just by candle light, it was free of all amplification and instruments relying on electricity. (Including my pipe organ and keyboard!)
Oh, and it wasn't just one Mass, it was BOTH!
But actually, they were simply lovely!
It was rather wintery stormy that morning, and I was sitting in the church praying half an hour before Mass, and the power went out at 7:30. And it was DARK. It is dark in Michigan in December that early when it's cloudy! Even by the time Mass started, it was so dark I knew people wouldn't be able to sing anything from the hymnal. So, for the first Mass, the processional was in silence, and it really was dark enough that the candles lining the windows were necessary and lovely! However, by the Agnus Dei, the sun had come out and was shining on the altar! Just beautiful. And amazingly (or not,) several of the boys from our boys choir were scheduled to sing a couple songs at both the Masses! So they sang "O Come Holy Saviour" (or something like that) and I'm not sure who had this great idea, but their accompanist used two hand bells (the tonic and dominant) and rang them appropriately instead of playing the keyboard! (I'm not quite sure why we don't have a real piano-there is certainly nowhere in the church that a grand would fit, and it would be quite difficult to get an upright up into the loft.) Anyhow, that was lovely! The boys sang that for offertory, and then I sang the Communion chant, and then they had been working on a two part arrangement of "Lo How a Rose" for communion, which was lovely a cappella! The lector read the Psalm (I don't quite think my congregation is ready to sing an unfamiliar Psalm response a cappella...) and we spoke the congregational responses (which my priest pointed out to the congregation we could sing IF we had ever learned chant settings!) I sang the alleluia, and then there was light enough for the congregation to sing a closing song. It was quite nice! And then for the next Mass, my choir was there, and there was more light so we sang the opening and closing songs, and the choir was already prepared to sing the real "Ave Maria" at offertory (and I didn't end up having to decide if I should accompany it!) The boy choir had arranged to have a harpist at that Mass (she was rather young and inexperienced,) but she played for "Lo How a Rose," and it was really beautiful. And then cuz this Mass is a lot bigger, we also did "O Come O Come Emmanuel" at Communion, a cappella of course which was absolutely perfect!
But it does strike me, how the more we are able to go in the direction of what we should be doing at Mass, the less it will matter if we have electricity or not! (like how we should have been able to sing the ordinaries, and how the choir was already prepared with the Ave Maria, which was perfect both as the Offertory proper as well as being perfect in not requiring accompaniment.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


comments on here which are left anonymously are usually either irrelevant, or inappropriately rude. (see "the Mass or the music" below.) Tempting as it is to either moderate comments or require people to leave their names, I think I prefer to read even those such comments than not at all.
tee hee.

English Proper settings

Does anyone know if the English Proper settings to chant of the Mass by Samuel Weber are available anywhere online? I get them through email, but I feel like I am missing some.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

4 Advent A

Entrance: People Look East (Besancon)
Psalm: arr. S. Weber
Gifts: Ave Maria (mode 1)
Communion: Ecce Virgo
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Closing: Saviour of the Nations (Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland)

Just in case you were wondering...

...(in case you were curious particularly during this last week of Advent,) Mara's absolute favorite wine is Pinot Noir. She has recently discovered it and LOVES it!

Friday, December 14, 2007

the Mass or the music?

(ok, that was just supposed to be a catchy title so you would read this.)

Dear Abby,

I pointed out to my boss that Gaudete and Laetare Sunday are called by those titles because they are the first word of the Introit for those respective days. But he doesn't seem to agree because he says that "the music is written for the Mass!" Well, of course, but I would still think that the common name for the Sunday is such because of the first word of the introit! But I guess I could be wrong. Whatever am I going to do?

-Questioning Soul

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

well, that's exciting!

A friend might have found for me an organ for purchase. It's up in Escanaba, apparently it's going for like 8-10 grand, with the same for moving it down here. I've got a some money in the "organ fund" which will be a good start. Anything is better than the assembly line piece of work I have now...

3 Advent A (Gaudete Sunday)

Open: The King Shall Come (Morning Song)
Gifts: O Come O Come Emmanuel (or an arrangement of "Of the Father's Love" and "Lo How a Rose" at the Mass with the choir)
Communion: Dicite: Pusillanimes
A Voice Cries Out
Close: On Jordan's Bank (Winchester New)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Introit at Christmas

I've decided this year to have the choir sing (at the midnight Mass, and the Mass during the day,) Richard Proulx's "Born Today" with bells for the Introit.

The Introit at Midnight is "The Lord said to me: You are my Son, today I have begotten you," and during the day it is "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Dominion is on his shoulder and his name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel."

For those not familiar with the piece, the words are something like, "Alleluia, Christ is born to us today, today the Savior has appeared. Angels on earth do sing, and archangels rejoice, the righteous cry out: Glory be to God in the highest. Alleluia."

My actual reasons for wanting to incorporate it are, a) it's just plain cool, b) yes, I am trying to get the congregation away thinking they have to sing a four-hymn sandwich, and c) the words (while not exactly either of the propers,) are kind closer than any Christmas carols I can think of. (They are more theological.)

My problem comes in that the boss tells me I have to write a bulletin article beforehand explaining why the congregation won't be singing an "opening hymn." (and I have to do this by Wednesday cuz this weekend is our last bulletin before Christmas!) I don't really want to say any of the three reasons I listed above in the bulletin, so the reasons I could mention would be how we will be singing lots of Christmas carols before all the Christmas Masses, and then (the whole discussion at CMAA this past summer) about how the congregation can watch the procession, how the procession itself is a part of the liturgy, and we don't notice it if our noses are in a hymnal!

ok, so I need help. Those aren't good enough reasons if I need to write this in the bulletin. (perhaps my first line of action will be to go to the boss and question if we really need to write something; I mean, who is gonna complain that they don't "get to" sing an opening hymn if they just sang five carols immediately prior?) But then if that doesn't work, I will need more evidence and arguments. Does anyone know of any church documents that talk about this? (in particular the significance of the procession,) or am I even missing any obvious arguments about moving in the direction of just having the choir sing the propers? Oh, I guess I could talk about how the thing the choir will be singing is more theological than any carols...but I'm not sure I could make that into a good case.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Messiah

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to sing Handel's Messiah in performance.
It was so lovely, in fact, that I had the most incredible "omg I'm in a picture!" moment. (picture, as in, "picture perfect.") The orchestra was playing it's lovely opening bars, and I looked over, just a couple feet away and saw 2 violinists, with the spotlights behind them, they were simply glowing (you know, that halo everyone gets when the light is behind them?) and then also just beyond them was some lovely white poinsettas. It was...spectacular. I can't say that I've ever had a moment quite like that before. I can't even describe it...It was just...perfect! Magical.

But the true wonderfulness of the Messiah lies in the amazingness of the text. Before singing it this year, I had only heard it once, and knew a few of the famous pieces, but I had never really become familiar with the words.
Become familiar? The amazing thing about that work of art is that it is straight out of the Bible, prophecy after prophecy, all praising The Christ.
During rehearsals, I found myself shocked by some of the text, realizing how much I could be praying through the words!
And of course over the weekend as we rehearsed and performed, I kept on noticing how much profound meaning all of the words have for me, as a Christian.
But even more than could one hear that and not be totally convicted?!

"Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows...All we, like sheep, have gone astray...And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

WHAT?! How is that possible? Who IS this man? Who would do that? And why?
I would find myself looking around at the other singers and wondering what on earth they were thinking about these incredible texts that we were singing. What does it mean to them? Anything? Yes, the music is beautiful, but...the words...even the idea of should take our breath away. WHY would one man do that? Who could even come up with that idea? It's SO ridiculous and impossible one could ever have made that up!
How could you sing it and not be convicted?

Monday, December 03, 2007

2 Advent A

Open: On Jordan's Bank (Winchester New)
Gifts: Saviour of the Nations (Nun Komm)
Communion: Ierusalem Surge
I Want to Walk as a Child*
Close: Come O Long Expected Jesus (Stuttgart)

*(I normally hate picking Communion songs, just cuz there aren't very many, but I really hate picking them outside of Ordinary Time, b/c then I feel like I have to somehow incorporate the season with the Eucharist, and of course there aren't ANY songs that do that, so I end up picking a song that does neither! good grief!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hierarchy of Documents

I'm not sure if this is a much-discussed topic online or not, but where can I go to learn about the hierarchy of church documents? I mean, I know that "it still applies unless it has been specifically changed in a later document," but really, some are more important than others.

Vatican II Constitutions?
Vatican II Decrees?
Vatican II Declarations?
Papal Encyclicals?
Things put out by my country's bishops? (Music in Catholic Worship, Built of Living Stones...)
What about Musicam Sacram? (I tried googling "about musicam sacram," like maybe somewhere will tell me what IS this document, cuz I can quote it to my boss all I want, but he will still ask me what the document itself is...)
And what about pre-VII stuff? De Musica Sacra?

1 Advent C

Entrance: The King Shall Come (Morning Song)
Psalm: Let Us Go Rejoicing (arr. S. Weber)
Offertory: Come O Long Expected Saviour (Stuttgart)
Communion: Dominus Dabit
Wait for the Lord ('s a start on some of the idea around chant, right?)
Closing: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Veni Veni Emmanuel)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

fighting the fight?

I was going to post this as a comment elsewhere, but I decided that it would actually make for a decent entry here.

I sang in a schola, singing the Propers at another church nearby with 3 other women for a little while, towards the beginning of my dive into the world of Sacred Music.
The leader of our group was middle-aged, and the other three of us were all college-aged. The three younger ones of us had NO idea what we were doing. Yes, we could read music, but...these square note thingys? I'd pretty much only seen them in my music history text book. Our courageous leader however, had quite a bit of experience in reading different kinds of chant notation, and she worked at imparting her knowledge to us, in the little time that we had to rehearse.

I'll never forget one rehearsal, in the spring, when with a faraway look in her eyes, she said to us, "You know, I never, in my whole life, would have thought that there would come a time when I would be singing chant in a volunteer schola, every other week, and much less with three young ladies in their 20s!"

Here's a lady, who found a passion in this music, who even went across the country to study under some of the foremost chant experts, and thought that it would always be a lonely singing experience.

BUT, for her time and effort that she put into our little schola for less than a year, three other people have directly benefited, and gained knowledge necessary to begin imparting even more musical experiences to those around them. Although we all now have been more musically and spiritually enriched through that experience, I can only speak of myself personally. I can impart tidbits to my choir, teaching them music, explaining concepts to my choir, giving explanations to the congregation, and singing myself. And who knows what the future holds. (of course, this particular experience of this schola is only one of many that have shaped my musical and spritual life,) but everything we do has a domino effect. Who knows what will happen, to my church, my choir, myself, but, I have given all of those a little tidbit of what could be. And their lives will be enriched by it, whether they realize it or not.

On Thursday I'm going to begin to teach my choir the REAL "Ave Maria." (anyone else notice that it's the Offertory Antiphon for 4 Advent A? Woot!) And you know what? They might complain. (Probably not, cuz that's one Latin text that no one seems to mind.) But, whatever happens, once they learn it, I really believe that sometime in their lifetimes they will hear it again, even aside from when I use it at St. P. And they will think, "oh yeah..." And they will have more appreciation for it for having learned it. And who knows, maybe we will sing it enough that they will really learn it, and although they will always feel nostalgia at hearing the Schubert, they will begin to appreciate the chant. And see the intrinsic beauty of it. Even if I'm not around anymore by the time that happens....I will have planted the seed.

So, don't give up, because you just don't KNOW what effect your musical offerings to the congregation will have. And if you do it well musically, and you implement it pastorally, then it can't hurt. And everyone will benefit. And at the very least you can grow in humility if you don't get all of the appreciation that you think you deserve. :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Solemnity and Reverence (or, a Thanksgiving afternoon post while waiting for dinner...)

It is possible to have reverence at Mass without solemnity.

And the issue of my life, for the past year in particular, has been to find that balance.
Perhaps the initial statement is a little extreme. Perhaps I mean that it is possible to have true worship of God without solemnity. Not everything needs to be a solemn procession.

A great deal of my thoughts in this area over the past year have been in comparing my own duties at my church, with the music and worship of another church in the same city. (Let's call it St. C.)

I came to a surprising (but probably obvious to most) conclusion recently, after a musical selection which didn't work out quite the way I had expected.

St. C uses a lot of EXCELLENT music, and rather than reinventing the wheel, I often like to borrow some of their songs, either those they have written, or songs they have simply found among the vast archives of current and past church music history. However, the realization that I came to recently is that St. C. and St. P. are two different churches. Not everything that works for them will work for us, and probably also the other way around. Songs that work great for them don't always work for us. I admit, they can come off awkward in the church/worship environment of St. C.

Let me give a little background and explanation of both of these church's worship environments, and then perhaps you will understand how it relates to my dilemma of solemnity and reverence.

St. C. is a very excellent church, which understands true worship of God and teaches solid theology. However, many would dismiss it as being "overly emotional" (in ways that are complicated to explain on here for those who are not familiar with the situation.) There is an active "praise and worship" life, (a catch-phrase that could easily be dismissed by many, BUT in this particular church's worship, this style is, significantly, VERY vertically oriented.) It is completely reverent. (you betcha the 3 year olds there know how to genuflect when getting up from their pews. but sometimes they do it backwards, like facing the wrong direction. tee hee... sooo cute!)
But solemn? Sometimes, but not always.

Contrast this to St. P. I need to keep in mind that people have come to St. P precisely in order to find not just reverence, but also solemnity. (and this is where my mind starts to get jumbled. I expect this post to not make much sense from here on out...)
My job is to choose music that promotes reverence and solemnity.
But what about worship beyond (or before???) that? What about those who want songs which more actively engage them? (Don't get me started on chant...I love it but, Ubi Caritas does NOT actively engage people in any way which could even be compared to a song like "Days of Elijah!")

So...when I get started thinking about some other great songs that maybe St. C uses, but I question how well they would be received at St. P, I need to keep in mind that people come to St. P and not St. C or St. T in order to find reverent solemnity.
I think. ?


(and don't get me started on young people who love these other kinds of songs, or maybe those who are at a spiritual level in their personal lives where they NEED songs which more actively engage them. That would certainly be an entire new post. Some other time maybe.)

Christ the King - C

Entrance: To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King (Ich Glaub An Gott)
Psalm: Let Us Go Rejoicing arr. S. Weber
Crowning of CTK: Christ is the King (Gelobt Sei Gott)
Offertory: Crown Him With Many Crowns (Diademata)
Communion: Sedebit Dominus
Choir: O Word Incarnate (O. Gibbons)
Hymn of Praise: Jesus My Lord, My God, My All
Close: Jesus Shall Reign (Duke Street)

ooohhh... I love Jesus songs!

Monday, November 19, 2007

People Look East

I am programing music for Advent right now, and I was trying to remember if I remembered correctly that some people were down on "People Look East," (as not having very much religious significance.)
I re-read the lyrics, and noted something that is having more particular significance for me lately.
(background: I've been reading/thinking/praying a lot lately about the significance of "God is Love." I mean, really, God IS Love. The source of Love, Love get it.)
So anyhow, with that in mind, the last line of "People Look East," being all the tropes, "Love the Guest/Lord/whatever is on the way," actually has significance! (ok, I'll stop using that word for now.) because we can substitute God/Christ for it!
Ok, maybe that was obvious to everyone else, but it seems to me a perfect Advent Carol!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


After not having had a funeral since June, we just had one Monday, and another upcoming the Friday. When it rains, it pours. But certainly, no one wants to die in the summer. I certainly won't. I shall stay alive through it, and die as soon as it gets cold!

Any comments on the appropriateness of "Amazing Grace" at funerals?
Keep in mind, yes, I agree that the theology isn't perfect...BUT, pastoral sensitivity would certainly note the heartiness with which everyone present at the funeral sings it, as well as the tears it brings to many eyes. (no, that in and of itself is not reason to program a song for a funeral, but...)

I got another (negative) comment (sort of) about the latin chant being sung at communion. "That thing you're singing at communion is really beautiful. I mean, I can't understand it, but it's really nice!" (coming from someone I know hates Latin!)
I wasn't in a position to go into all the detailed musical analysis and description of how the Latin itself is beautiful partly because it is so old (1200 years? +?) and the musicality of how you can't just squeeze English words into a foreign melody, because that by itself would make it LOSE its beauty! Nor did I really have time to ask about how I DO sing the "English translation" immediately before-is that not helpful?

Any opinions on the publishings of the "Big Three" for yearly booklets that contain just the Sunday Mass readings?

33 OT C

(almost my favorite feast! Can you tell I like all the Jesus feasts?)

O Sun of Justice (Jesu Dulcis-will attempt to briefly teach congregation before Mass)
Prayer of Augustine
Amen Dico Vobis
At that First Eucharist (Unde et Memores)
O Breathe on Me O Breath of God (St. Columba)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

text and composers

A few weeks ago after Mass, a parishioner was talking to me, and he pointed out how happy he was that I wasn't using any more of that "Haugen/Haas stuff." I admitted I had made a definite decision to avoid using certain types of songs, regardless of how much affection and nostalgia people have for them.
But...should I really be determining my song choices based on the composer? (I'm not. As you noticed for my All Saints songs, I DID use "Blest Are They," because it is a completely appropriate Communion Antiphon!)
Shouldn't the text and musical reverence of the song take more precedence over purely the composer?
I mean, "Blest Are They," is actually NOT like any song you would hear on the radio. (Use of popular style songs being the biggest argument against many "contemporary" songs.) And I would differentiate also between Haugen/Haas as being simply "folksy" (but what the heck does that mean? Doesn't that just mean "singable by the average person?") as compared with true "contemporary" songs like "Awesome God," for example, which is undeniably a more radio-popular style. (Not saying ANYTHING about the adequateness of the song by itself.) (Life Teen type songs, for example, [which is a completely different post-perhaps I do believe that Life Teen has its place, but let's save that for another time...] )
Anyhow, I can't remember why I went off on that tangent...
so....some songs are simply...not hymns? and perhaps also have the stigma of being written by one composer or another that we normally like to disdain?
Really, can anyone claim that "Blest are They" is an intrinsically poor song? (I think the melody actually nice. The words completely scriptural. Actually, now that I think of it, it tends to alternate between "Blest are they," and "blest are you..." which is it actually scripturally? Is that then the only complaint leveled against it? and a few verses that vary enough in melodic rhythm, that...yeah...)
ok, now I'm rambling.
To summarize more, I just had my choir sing a piece, based on a wonderful famous prayer, but by a rather similar composer to the one mentioned above...if you didn't know the composer, you would think, "oh, what a lovely, reverent, song!" but if (most of you who read this blog...) knew the composer, you'd think, "yech! him again!"
but is that really fair?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

reposted from NLM (because I'll never be able to find it again otherwise!)

So here is my list of the top ten musical unknowns of our day:

The music of the Mass is not of our choosing; it is not a matter of taste; it is not a glossy layer on top of a liturgy. Liturgical music is embedded within the structure of the liturgy itself: theologically, melodically, and historically.

Hymns are not part of the structure of Mass. Nothing in the Mass says: it is now time to sing a hymn of your choice. Hymns are permitted as replacements for what should be sung but only with reservations.

The sung parts of the Mass can be divided into three parts: the ordinary chants (which are stable from week to week), the proper chants (which change according the day), and the priests parts that include sung dialogues with the people.

The music of for the Mass is found in three books: the Kyriale (for the people), the Graduale (for the schola), and the Missale (for the priest).

To advocate Gregorian chant is not merely to favor Latin hymns over English ones, because chant hymns make up only a small portion of chant repertoire. It is to favor a sung Mass over a spoken one, and to favor the music of the Mass itself against substitutes.

Cognitive pedagogy is not the primary purpose of music, so, no, it is not important that all people gathered always and immediately "understand the words."

The music of Mass does not require an organist, pianist, guitar player, bongos, or microphones. It requires only the human voice, which is the primary liturgical instrument.

The Second Vatican Council was the first ecumenical council to decisively declare that chant has primacy of place: "Ecclesia cantum gregorianum agnoscit ut liturgiae romanae proprium: qui ideo in actionibus liturgicis, ceteris paribus, principem locum obtineat." (And ceteris paribus does not mean: unless you don't like it. It means even if chant cannot be sung because of poor skills or lack of resources, or whatever, it still remains an ideal.)

There is no contradiction between chant and participation. Vatican II hoped to see that vernacular hymnody would decrease and the sung Mass would increase. Full, conscience, active participation in the Mass means: it is up to the people to do their part to sing the parts of the Mass that belong to the people.

The first piece of papal legislation concerning music appeared in 95AD, by Pope St. Clement. It forbid profane music in liturgy and emphasized that Church is the place for holy music. All successive legislation has been a variation on that theme.

Verdi as secular music

Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to sing in the chorus of Verdi's Requiem. It is a fabulous work of art...very exciting and dramatic...
There was a presentation before one of the performances, and the remark was jibingly made (is that a word?) about how Pope Pius X decreed (or whatever it's called) that this particular piece of music could not be used (performed) at Mass. (of course, the thrust behind that statement was probably something like, "how silly. The Church not allowing "Classical" music!")
but...perhaps, Verdi's Requiem as a piece of music IS very "showy," and definitely written in the popular style of that day and therefore NOT appropriate for Mass!
What is different in Pius X outlawing that from those of us who have current disdain for "popular style music" being used in church? (and we certainly think it should not be allowed!)
but then...where is the line to be drawn? Traditional Renaissance polyphony? (Croce) Baroque? (Bach) Classical? (Mozart, Beethoven-I'm not even sure who wrote Masses and who didn't) Romantic or later? (Verdi)

(ok, not sure if this post made much sense. It worked out in my head!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

31 OT C

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (Kingsfold)
How Great Thou Art (O Store Gud, in Ab)
Humbly We Adore (Adoro Te Devote)
Notas Mihi
There's a Wideness in God's Mercy (In Babilone)

Monday, October 29, 2007

greasy keyboards and guest organists

Am I the only organist who is bothered by this phenomenon?
Perhaps it is simply because my hands are always very dry, but I know that after I am done playing the organ, the keyboard is smoothly white, not a single smudge on it.
However, while I was in school and sharing practice rooms with other people, I noticed this during my last year (and only during my last year, making me think it was someone new,) I noticed that occasionally I would enter the practice room and begin to practice but immediately discover that there was some sort of smudgy/greasy material on the keyboard which was particularly annoying in that it created a sort of resistance of my fingers on the keys, which normally easily slide around. (this is in addition to the pure disgust at the thought of what it might be...) If you looked at it under the light, at the right angle, it could best be described as smudges obviously made by fingers, I can imagine that's what the keyboard would look like if someone had applied excessive amounts of lotion and then proceeded to practice. (I have, however, applied lotion to my hands and then immediately played the organ, and the next time I came back to the console I did not observe any lotion remnants!) But really, it is the feeling which is most annoying; how in contrast ones fingers normally glide along the keys, suddenly, to encounter on almost every key this strange substance which inhibits sliding to smoothly.
so, anyhow, since I have had my own organ, I have not had to deal with this.

...UNTIL....Saturday evening Mass, after another organist had played for a wedding that afternoon, this strange substance was on my organ! (in addition to other tell-tale signs of a poor organist, such as the crescendo pedal being "on." hmph.) on my organ! gross! so I proceeded to spend five minutes trying to wipe it off with a kleenex. ugh.

and speaking of guest is my understanding that it is typical for the organist of the church to get paid even if they are not the organist for a wedding or funeral (if the family has a friend or something, that they would rather use.) would all of my organist readers post their take (for the benefit of my dear boss, who might possibly read this,) on whether you think it is standard for the organist of the church to still get paid in those situations. Or is that just a protestant thing? And is that in your job contract?

reading material

I currently subscribe to TIME magazine, but I think my year-long subscription will be running out soon, which I am none too sad about, since there is at least one thing in every issue which makes me think, "wtf?! why do I even receive and read this crap?!"
So, I don't really want to renew it, but I really enjoy receiving in the mail a weekly periodical which is not on my computer (and therefore I can read while being in more comfortable positions? There is just something about magazines and newspapers which will never be replaced by the internet...)
And therefore, I ask you, my dear readers, if there is any other magazines which you might suggest I subscribe to. I already receive Sacred Music and Adoremus, both of which I love, but, I am looking for something a little, um, broader in spectrum...
I'd rather have something weekly, but I suppose monthly is ok. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 26, 2007

All Saints C

For All the Saints (does anyone have a playable accompaniment to this?)
Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones (why is this accompaniment also impossible?! oh, I get it, it's cuz everyone else plays it SO SLOW that the accmpt actually makes sense...good grief. Any ideas?)*
(insert communion chant)
Blest are They (this could lead to a whole post as has been much discussed on how songs like this one actually DO fulfill the propers, unlike good old-fashioned hymns...)
By All Your Saints Still Striving

*I think I find these two to be the hardest in the book (and I've used both OCP and GIA accmps for them,) because they are not written in nice 4-part voice leading. Rather, they have random 7-note chords regularly alternating with little 3-note chords, and VERY moving pedal parts. does anyone else find that weird? Any alternative suggestions? Even the "alternate harmonizations" in the books that I have are HARD!

30 OT C

Sing of Mary
Holy God We Praise Thy Name
Alleluia Sing to Jesus
(whatever the communion chant is supposed to be-I can't remember it off the top of my head)
All Creatures of Our God and King

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I'm rather glad that my blog isn't so widely read that it would ever get a critique like this...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

more pictures!

side view in the church. (I'm kind of trying to figure out if I like my new camera or not. I only have 4 more days to return it, and it's SO complicated, there are so many settings to go through to get the kind of picture that you want!)

lovely little altar rail, which is not "bolted down," because the boss is waiting to see how many complaints we get. I am just not clear however, on if it will be replace by anything else if it IS determined to move it.

my lovely little church. Yes, the little table in the middle is too small, and we don't even think that the bishop ever consecrated it, but we won't have need for it soon anymore, right padre? :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

some of the stuff I have been meaning to blog about for a long time.

I had a conversation with a lady at the church a week or two ago, and she gave me some negative feedback about something that I have been doing for music. She began by asking if anyone else had commented on this thing, and I told her that I had received many positive and glowing comments. She then proceeded to "go off" on how she does not appreciate this thing, and why do we have to go back to latin, etc.
I mean, she did it in a rather nice way, but, when all was said, I knew that she was just venting. I could have responded at any given point to all of her accusations, but that point of the whole thing was that I knew that was not what she needed. She just needed to vent! I don't believe it would have helped the situation for me to try and respond to her criticisms. What are we supposed to do as church musicians trying to educate congregations who won't listen?! But that brings me to another point. It's totally a generational thing...

...I read an interesting article in TIME mag soon after the motu proprio, and it was a girl talking about how she (as the younger generation,) wants the Mass in Latin because she is sick of being told what to do and how to vote, etc, and hearing priests' personal opinions at the novus ordo Mass.
I would agree...
I'm sick of hearing priests insert their own improvisations (political or not, holy or banal,) right into the middle of the Eucharistic prayer.
Guess what? no one can do that if the Mass is in Latin cuz hardly anyone conversationaly knows latin! And even if the priest did, I don't know Latin well enough to know what he is saying, and I am sick of hearing drivel that isn't even part of our poor translation! (made-up Mem. accl's, "keep in mind...", even just hearing the thoughts and reflections of the priest at 4 or 5 different times during the Liturgy
[let's leave it to one, the sermon, ok? can I just pray how I want to for the rest of the Mass?] although perhaps occasional reminders are beneficial, ok, that's a whole new post, let's leave it at that.)

On a different note, I had an interesting conversation over the weekend with a priest, in which, as we were having the conversation I realized (if I had not known this before...) that I will never work for this particular priest.
The point of the conversation that struck me was how differently we viewed the relationship between priest and music director. In his view, he would hire the music director what he tells them to do.
contrast that with my current situation (and, as I have conversations like this one, I realize how priceless it is!) in which my priest hired me to MAKE the musical decisions! I could count on one hand the number of times in over a year where he has come up to me and said, "you know, Mara, how about if you do this differently..." and I think I have almost always agreed.
In fact, I think a couple of times I have gone to him with a question, or even just looking for support if I make a particular decision, and he will say something like, "I trust your judgement. You decide on your own. This is what I hired you for!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007


ok, that was easier than I thought. but I'm still not quite sure how to put the words where I want them. oh well. ok,

top: the church a few months ago. sans altar rail, and with way too much carpet.

next: with altar rail

third: my view (still under construction)

bottom: stained but unvarnished wood floor. It really shows how old the church actually is. hopefully 4 coats of polyurthene will help it look a little better. when they re-did the sanctuary floor a few years ago, someon had the bright idea to make sure it matched neither the wood floor (which, I suppose didn't really matter cuz it was then put under the carpet!) nor the pews, nor the altar rails (which were moved to in front of the first pews.) so now nothing matches. great.

(I'm gonna put up more pictures as the project is completed. like when the floor is varnished and the dust is cleared away...)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

29 OT C

Open: Lord of All Hopefulness (Slane)
Offertory: Hail, Holy Queen (Salve Regina Coelitum)
Commuion: Domine Dominus Noster
Seek Ye First
Close: Joyful, Joyful (Hymn to Joy)

gosh, I wish I knew how to post pictures on here...

cuz my church just put up the old communion rails!


Saturday, October 13, 2007


so, yes, I know it has been a while since I've posted on here.
There's been some stuff going on around here (at the church) that is really not making me feel like updating.
Occasionly, however, I do get the occasional blip on my radar, "oh, I should blog about that..."

to be continued...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

28 OT C

Open: Now Thank We (Nun Danket)
Offertory: Healer of Our Every Ill
(or choir There's a Wideness, with bells to the tune Holy Manna)
Communion: Aufer a me
Let All Mortal Flesh (Picardy)
Close:Immaculate Mary

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I was working on a (relatively easy) Bach chorale prelude/fuguey thing yesterday, for a prelude at Mass.
I remembered how my (excellent) teacher had always stressed how important it was to have the correct articulation-it is what will make the piece truly interesting.
And I remember marking in my score (for a Boehm Prelude and Fugue) every single articulation lift of the fugue subject, and every place in the fugue subject and countersubject, months before my recital.
But I never could understand WHY he wanted me to more clearly articulate in those spots! He just showed me on the first subject, and I transfered it to every other place it came in in the piece.
So when I was practicing yesterday, I had NO idea where the appropriate spots were to mark articulations!

I need to go back to school...sigh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

posture at Communion

It seems to me that I read an article recently somewhere online (on a large blog? I mainly read large websites,) that clarified some point that we are supposed to stand throughout communion. (saying we don't need to.) However, I skimmed over it cuz it didn't seem applicable, but now I wish I had read it more closely. Does anyone either understand the argument and can provide more official clarification, or did anyone read the article I had read?

Monday, September 24, 2007


has anyone else ever noticed that "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light" has a frightenly similar melody to the Kyrie from Missa de Angelis?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Active Participation"

(you all know exactly what this is referring to...)

"...Nor does ‘active participation’ necessarily require the grasp of all the words being spoken. As a proof of this point by its opposite, think how you may have recited the Creed in English with the rest of the congregation while your mind may have paid little attention to what you were saying. The use of the vernacular language is no guarantee of intelligent, much less devout, involvement."

-Fr. Perrone

25 OT C

Entrance: I Want to Walk as a Child (HOUSTON)
Offertory: (The Lord Hears) The Cry of the Poor (Foley)
Communion: Tu Mandasti
Alleluia, Sing to Jesus (HYFRYDOL)
Recessional: Lord Whose Love in Humble Service (just verses 1&4) (BEACH SPRING)

"By What Authority" -Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

(reprinted from the combox. thanks Lisa!)

"Public worship to her had meant hitherto one of two things - either sitting under a minister and have the word applied to her soul in the sacrament of the pulpit; or else the saying of prayers by the minister aloud and distinctly and with expression, so that the intellect could follow the words, and assent with a hearty Amen. The minister was a minister to man of the Word of God, an interpreter of His Gospel to man.

But here was a worship unlike all this in almost every detail. The priest was addressing God, not man; therefore he did so in a low voice, and in a tongue as Campion had said on the scaffold, "that they both understood." It was comparitively unimportant whether man followed it word for word, for (and here the second radical difference lay) the point of the worship for the people lay, not in an intellectual apprehension of the words, but in a voluntary assent to and participation in the supreme act to which the words were indeed necessary but subordinate. It was the thing that was done; not the words that were said, that was mighty with God. Here, as these Catholics round Isabel at any rate understood it, and as she, too, began to perceive it, too, though dimly and obscurely, was the sublime mystery of the Cross presented to God. As He looked down well pleased into the silence and darkness of Calvary, and saw there the act accomplished by which the world was redeemed, so here (this handful of disciples believed) He looked down into the silence and twilight of this little lobby, and saw that same mystery accomlished at the hands of one who, in virtue of his participation in the priesthood of the Son of God, was empowered to pronounce these heart-shaking words by which the Body that hung on Calvary, and the Blood that dripped from there, were again spread before His eyes under the forms of bread and wine."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sep. 14

went to Assumption Grotto last night for their first TLM. pretty cool. I saw a few people I know. Wore my mantilla :-)
I still hate the same things about the TLM that I've hated the other two times I went.
particularly, WHY can't I hear what the priest is saying? Am I actually not supposed to be able to?
And...I spend my professional life trying to make SURE that what is going on in the choir loft is perfectly coordinated with what is going on at the altar ("And so we join the choirs of angels..." "wait for it, wait for it...") and maybe it's just that I don't understand how connected everything actually is in the TLM (I honestly don't know whether it is or not,) but it actually upsets me, when the choir is singing away, "Kyrie eleison..." and then five minutes later the priest is like, "Kyrie eleison..." and I'm like wha? where the heck are we? Which is it?! (the friend I drove with tells me she just follows along with the priest and then it makes sense, and with that it would seem that the choir is just entertainment for the congregation while the priest is muttering, but I want so badly to know what the choir is doing and to have it make sense and be connected with the rest of the Mass!) so I guess that is what irritates me...

oh yes, and for those who have always wanted to know what i look like.... check out the pix at . I'm towards the front on the far left in the white jacket and black mantilla. :-)

Friday, September 14, 2007

it's like...Christmas in September

Does anyone know why both the Adoremus bulletin AND Sacred Music came to me in the mail in the same day?! I mean, it's like great and everything, but kind of overwhelming, cuz I just want to read them both so much, and I don't even know where to begin...
I mean, couldn't they like stagger the delivery a bit? of all the days in the whole season...
then I could more slowly imbibe in my regular dosage of liturgical snobbery.

oh yes, and happy Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Choir lofts and mantillas...

Well, I did it. I bought a mantilla. I am still full of many questions, however. A friend of mine who is half Mexican, (Alena) pointed out that here, people wear mantillas "backwards," at least compared to Mexico. They are worn like a bandana, but in Mexico, the point goes in front, so it doesn't slip off as easily. I tried it on both ways, and analyzed it in the mirror. Having the point in front really only affects the slippage when the point is so far forwards that it is almost to ones eyebrows, and looks a little silly, I thought. Otherwise, I think they are equally slippery. Does one pin it up? Or just tug at it regularly during Mass? However, I am still undecided about the actual prospect of wearing one myself. I shall certainly wear one when A and I drive to Assumption in Detroit on Friday, (for you-know-what!) I shall probably eventually begin wearing one to daily Mass, but I do want to ask my boss what he thinks of it. Because it is not cultural for us to wear one, I suspect that many people view women who wear mantillas as waving their piety around. (is that the word I wanted?) But I think that the kind of people who go to daily Mass wouldn't care so much, usually someone else there is.
But that brings me to the question of actually wearing one at St. P's during Sunday Mass. To begin with, I don't think I would, simply because of my visible (not literally,) position in the parish as the music director. I think our parish would have to take some more steps in a certain direction before I would feel alright doing that.
But...that brings me to consider, interestingly, the history of the choir loft.
This was discussed at the CMAA colloquium by Dr. Mahrt, and while he certainly wasn't talking about mantillas, it makes me think about them. I remember (correct me, or fill in info if I'm wrong,) that he talked about how originally the "choir" was designed specifically to remove the laity from the sanctuary? and, to extend that line of thought, then wouldn't I be, while in the choir loft, physically removed from the rest of the church in a way that no one outside the choir loft is? So wearing a mantilla would actually LEAST apply to me, in that sense.
And actual reasons TO wear one?
It was recently pointed out to me (and this in particular is really what got me thinking about this,) that the Code of Canon Law of 1917 or whatever did specifically say women should have their heads covered while in church, and that was never actually abrogated, so of course all of us liturgical snobs know that it still technically applies. However, it could certainly be pointed out that there is SO much of that stuff that we actually don't follow any more, this is really quite a small thing.
So we go back to the original reason that women were supposed to have their heads covered?
Of course, we know that men are more easily distracted by women's physical appearance than vice versa, (just go ahead and try to argue with me if you don't agree with that statement...go ahead...I dare you...) and I have noticed in everything from my own observations to classical literature, that hair is quite seductive, and therefore it seems helpful for men for women to cover it for the sake of modesty and less distraction for men during Mass. That seems like quite a plausible explanation to me. but...these mantillas that you buy? really, they are sooo lacy and sometimes even extravagant, it seems to me that kind of defeats the purpose! shouldn't we just wear like a simple black cloth?

After talking to A more last night, it seems that my mantilla is specifically designed to be worn with the point in back, because the Mexican mantillas have a much softer "point," so it doesn't look weird at all for them to be worn in front.

Monday, September 10, 2007

24 OT C

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
Love Divine, All Love's Excelling
At that First Eucharist
I Know that My Redeemer Lives (Duke Street version*)

*p.s. when I was in London last spring, I discovered there really IS a Duke Street! I wonder what the hymn tune name has to do with that, if anything...

Friday, September 07, 2007

you know you have an amazing job when your boss is occasionally like, "Mara, do you need to go across the street to the church and pray for a few minutes?"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

ugh. I now hate OCP also.

ok, there's a lot of irritation (my own) floating around this blog, BUT, that's what the blog is for, right?
so usually like OCP, and I actually use "Today's Liturgy" to help me a LOT with music planning.
up until the current issue, I have really appreciated the summaries of the readings, and sometimes the music suggestions.
until now.
I am SURE there is a completely different person who has started writing the summaries. some of them are making me want to gag.
here's a few examples:
"Amos, God's prophet, rejected the individualistic, consumerist values of lazy greedy and unjust people who ignore the rights of the poor. Their life of ease will be ended." (Amos 6:1a, 4-7)
consumerist? individualistic? where in the Bible are those words located? I think my main problem with this kind of translating, is that because (I think) I know the Bible pretty well, and when I hear a verse that is more of a shortened Living Bible translation than anything, I can't even connect which verse it is!
That would be in the case with a summary like this, "Jesus taught a lesson about the power of persistent prayer by telling the story of a pushy widow who wore down a corrupt judge by continually demanding her rights. The judge issued a settlement in her favor, lest she do him in." Luke 18:1-8.

hm. Dumbed-down texts. sound familiar?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

ugh. those DARN US bishops!

so. responsorial Psalm for 26 Sunday in Ordinary Time, year C. (September 30, 2007.) Psalm 146.
" Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free."

ok. so that's the translation that they want to use. fine.
except that...
about a year ago, when the exact same Psalm was used, the first verse began "The God of Jacob keeps faith forever..." and then continued exactly the same as the aforementioned.

so, now when we have to sing this in a couple weeks, do I try and awkwardly squeeze those words in to fit the music in this same place? (I happened to use a setting of this I wrote a year ago, because I couldn't find any other usable ones.)

my point is, I'm all about following the Lectionary and doing what the bishops tell us to (when it's reasonable?) but really, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS! Which translation are you using?!

The example I gave is rather extreme, and is so different within the first line, it makes me wonder if they really were actually using a different verse. But, a more ridiculous example is the Psalm "He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord..." (I can't remember the exact citation,) in some instances of it in the Lectionary, we have to say "The one who does justice..." and that's the refrain! let's see if that confuses the congregation just a little bit...

ok, so until the US bishops get their act together and decide which translation they are going to use, must I really bend over backwards to concede to their whim of whether or not to be gender-inclusive on that particular week?!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Scripture and hymns

Why IS it that when I try and stick to "traditional" songs/hymns, I can't find any that "match" the readings?

well, I know why, so I'll tell you.

It is clear from simply glancing through my hymnal, that the "protestant" hymns are rarely directly based on scripture. The notation at the bottom of most hymns rarely includes a Bible reference. Think: I Heard the Voice, Holy Holy Holy, How Great Thou Art, Joyful Joyful, Be Thou My Vision. I could go on. Of course there are exceptions, mostly obvious (The King of Love My Shephered is-Ps. 23, All People that On Earth-Ps. 100[99]-Old 100th, duh) but in general, protestants just seem to write hymns that are just generic praise songs?

However, contrast that with the "contemporary" Catholic "hymns," in that they are almost ALWAYS based on specific scripture(which, in the precise sense I am discussing here have been compared to Gregorian Chant...)
Just glancing through the hymnal: Here I Am Lord-Isaiah 6, Eye Has Not Seen-1 Cor. 2, On Eagle's Wings-Ps. 91, Be Not Afraid-Is. 43/Luke 6, and of course the inevitable Blest Are They every time any readings come up that are like the beatitudes, cuz there are no other songs like that!

It's amazing how when I often look at the propers for the day, wondering if by some rare chance we might have a musical setting (a song) even if an imperfect translation, of that proper, we usually have one! but for other reasons, which I am sure I have written about before, and could merit loads and loads of other posts, I won't use most of those songs. (as someone pointed out to me yesterday, although he said it much more clearly articulate than I will summarize-It may not be that there is anything intrinsically wrong with individual songs, it is more a problem with the general attitude of a particular cultural/religious/social movement.)

(good grief, sola scriptura? why don't they just quote more scripture in their hymns?)

and yes, I know how we ought to me even moving away from hymns and towards working on that!

23 OT C

Entrance: Take Up Your Cross (Erhalt uns her er or whatever)
Offertory: O God Our Help (St. Anne)
Communion: Vovete, et reddite
Let All Mortal Flesh (Picardy)
Closing: Lift High the Cross (Crucifer)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

found again

this time, by The Boss. But it's fine, right, because I've never put anything inappropriate in here? so I know that when you type a web address in, it will come up when anyone types in an address if they look at the scroll down menu thingy. (I definitely know this, because I recently came across porn on someone's computer through this method of un-intentional snooping. meh. awkward...) so I knew that would happen if I typed it in at work, but after the recent fiasco, I figured everyone who would ever bother reading mine had found it, so I just typed it in.
ah well, here I go again providing entertainment for the masses.
perhaps someday I shall get back to posting my musings about the liturgy...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

post #102-bowling

the topic came up in the office recently of what nice kids my age do to "hang out." I said that my friends and I didn't have many options, and really just watched movies, went to the bar, and went bowling. I then pointed out how I didn't think I should go bowling. I've thought of this as I've tossed the ball down the lane, how there is not a whole lot between that ball and my fingers getting sprained. And how I make my living on my fingers. More so than most people. Fr. G was like, "Oh no, Mara. You are right. I absolutely forbid you going bowling!" well, I guess now I have a really good excuse when my friends invite me out, rather than just, "uh, well, I'm such a klutz, I might break my fingers?" but really, has that EVER happened to anyone? maybe I should insure my fingers.
maybe I should stay in my room all day long and never come out because something bad might happen! argh!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

to those guys who (might have) found my blog...

ok diocesan lawyer dude in (fill in name of main city of diocese,) so I guess I know how you might have found my blog, based on a dumb comment that I wrote somewhere else which I now can't delete on someone else's blog...but you also might have found it just by typing in my name on google (because I'm am member of the ban Haugan-Haas club thing, which connects online my name with my blog. sigh.)...although really, I can't believe that anyone would sit there and type in the name of everyone just because they work for a church. good grief.
oh well, because I still stand by my claim that I have never put anything inappropriate in here (while, actually, I may have once, but G pointed out that I should remove it so I did:-) ) but because I still stand by that claim, I suppose the worst that may come out of my blog would be that you get some weird entertainment out of it. (I've been told I write some funny stuff!)
keep in mind that now that I KNOW it really is being read (maybe, although, I must admit, sitemeter has NEVER had anyone from above-mentioned-city listed as reading my blog,) now that I know this, perhaps my blog will grow in boringness. and it will be your fault. no more edgy-borderline gossip. (er, well, alright, so maybe I haven't written that much...)
but life continues.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

care in blogging...

so, my boss had a meeting with the diocesan lawyer this morning. And, while I don't know exactly what the meeting was about, he did tell, me first thing when he saw me this afternoon, that since he knows I have a blog, if I have ever written the name of the diocese in it, then they are watching it. Totally fair; I have been warned before that anything you write online is possibly read by anyone. So I was really scared for a second when I thought that entry about our bishop's letter included the diocese's name, but it actually didn't. So I skimmed through my blog to see if I had included references that were more incriminating than "Fr. G" or "St. T." If anyone has noticed anything more specific than that, I suppose you can let me know. And also, I have in the past appreciated comments that suggest I remove a post if it could possibly get me in trouble, so please continue to do so.

C told me that she thought Fr. had implied that the diocese HAD found my blog. I just don't know how. Maybe I did carelessly put some information in I shouldn't have. the end.

Monday, August 20, 2007

today's Gospel

I hate how everyone always talks about the Gospel for today (where the rich man "went away sad for he had many possessions" after Jesus told him he had to sell everything). They talk about it as if they know with certainty that he ignored Jesus' advice.
It does NOT say "the rich man refused to sell everything he had."
it JUST says "he went away sad."
I suppose this bothers me in particular, because I do this a LOT. I "go away sad" when I know I have to do something that I don't really want to do, but guess what? I almost always end up doing it!
and why does everyone just assume the rich man didn't?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's true.

My bishop has sent a document (by email!) to all the priests forbidding "at this time" (until further notice) the TLM. (with the exception of the 2 parishes he has already permitted it at.)
I read it today.
I feel some sort of obligation to send it to WDTPRS or post it here, but I was given the impression by those who allowed me to read it that it wasn't technically a public document. So, I shall resist hacking into the email account of my boss* in order to do so, even though I'm pretty sure I know what the password is. :-)

*I wasn't quite sure how to make "boss" possesive. or, for that matter, how to spell "possesive."

Monday, August 13, 2007

1974 GR

someone posted this on a thread on NLM a bit ago:

"The Graduale Romanum (1974) identifies seven ad libitum antiphons for communion:
- Ego sum vitis
- Gustate et videte
- Hoc corpus
- Manducaverunt
- Panem de caelo
- Panis quem
- Qui manducat"

I do not have a 1974 GR, and if I did, I certainly don't have enough Latin skills to decipher it.* Nor do I even know what "ad libitum" means. Could anyone explain this, or give a citation in the GR for where I can find this? (If I were to have a schola, and not learn a different communion antiphon every week, would it be preferable to use the "ad libitum" antiphons, or to use some from the Graduale Simplex?)

*yes. I need to learn Latin. I took one semester of college latin, and will never forget my parents for forcing me to take spanish in high school instead of latin, even after I begged them...
but, there is SO often I pick up a book and it has many latin phrases scattered throughout, that a more educated person would understand, or even entire books that I ought to be able to understand, like the GR! (or am I really dumb and is there an English version of that? Isn't that what the Gregorian Missal is? just incomplete?) so anyhow, I just need to get motivated and sit down and force myself to learn this dead language...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

alRIGHT, I GET it!

It seems like everyone is telling me to read "The Heresy of Formlessness." I have it sitting on top of my huge stack of books. I've already read the intro, and shall crack open the real stuff later today.
I suppose I'll have to read it to find out why, but some people who have recommended I read it are not total advocates of the TLM.
Seriously, in the past month, I think five totally different people have suggested I read it or said they were reading it. Weird.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

post on NLM

This morning, I came across a post on NLM which I keep thinking about. It contained many good points, about things I have been thinking about given the Motu Proprio, especially concerning what to incorporate, and what direction to take a schola in, but I found the comment thread especially to get rather nasty!
As I get to write whatever I want on my own blog, I would like to respond to it.

We are not at a place (as liturgically- and musically-minded Catholics) to make disparaging remarks about any form of chant. (This was pointed out in a post that was made at the same time I made mine, when I was rather fed up with the thread, and the author made his points much better than I made mine, and if I had been able to read his post before I posted mine, I wouldn't have posted mine.)
Anyhow, anyone who is doing anything to encourage vertical spirituality in the Church (the simplicity, sound, feeling, whatever you want to call it, of chant-Gregorian or other-being one of the most unarguable ways to bring this about,) those people ought to be commended. This is not the time to be nitpicking over whether it is less admirable to use a chant that is 300 or 500 instead of 800 years old (seriously, over the 2000 year history of our church, is 300 years all that much?!) or whether a chant is perfectly modal or has evidence of 16th century tonality.
good grief.
my point is just that we ought to be encouraging anyone who is able to use any chant in their church! (I'm not able to use much, and the point of my comment in the thread was that I am jealous of those who are able to claim they are "sick" of hearing Jubilate Deo-because they hear it so much!)
***But really, we must keep in mind-isn't the music of the chant supposed to serve the liturgy? and not vice versa? Shouldn't we be focusing more on the ability of music to lift our souls to God rather than wasting time arguing about its complete purity and authenticity by criticizing those who do not absolutely conform to the Ideal?

Pater Noster

So I first noticed that when I heard the congregation singing the Pater Noster, they weren't exactly following what is printed in the hymnal. (modern notation.) They seemed to be adding pauses and breaths. So, I went to compare what was in the hymnal with the square notes in the GR. (actually, I really wanted to compare it with the semiological neumes in the Triplex, but, alas, there were none...) And I observed that there IS a discrepancy between the two! Either that, or there is the common confusion of "does an episema really mean to hold it twice as long? or does it just mean to accent the syllable in some way? and what about the little vertical dashes at the top of the musical lines? are they just for visual effect? or are you supposed to even take a breath at them?"
For example, right off the bat the "ter" of "noster" has an episema in the GR, but the hymnal completely ignores that and just writes it as a black round note. Same thing at "Panem nostrum cotidianum" on the last "num." And, the people are certainly singing it with a prolonged episema.
sooo...before I try and correct this possible "problem," which is right? Or, the age-old question of, "for how long does one hold an episema?" The hymnal editors must have had some reason to ignore them in their modern transcription!

Monday, August 06, 2007

organ/choir music

I recently came across a catalogue for a company with a bit of organ and choir music. I admit, I was at first initially intrigued because the catalogue was very well designed. (or at least it just looked nice.) I was also intrigued because I had never heard of them. "Kevin Mayhew" or something? They had lots of books that had 50-150 stuff in them, like alternate harmonizations which I LOVE) or preludes on hymns, etc. I noticed that even in all of those hymn names, I would only recognize a couple. I also made the mistake once of buying a book cuz I was impressed with the sheer number of alternate hymn harmonizations, only to discover upon receiving it that I could only actually use very few of them.

So sorry this has been quite rambly. I'm basically just wondering if anyone has any experience with this company's products, and could advise me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

darn, I cant remember which side of the issue I'm supposed to take!

I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with laying flowers before Mary after Communion at a wedding, but I have some vague recollection of recently reading somewhere why we're not supposed to. Any ideas? The only one I can think of is the whole "we don't add things that aren't in the rubrics" reason.
(which, as weddings tend to go, would be the LEAST of liturgical abuses...)

and speaking of which, if I ever get married, I will have an interesting wedding. The priest will definitely walk down the aisle. Myself and my bridesmaids (if I decide to have them-after being in several weddings, they seem so...superfluous!) will walk down to the Gregorian chant proper antiphon introit thingy, sung by a schola of men. The same for Offertory and Communion. ha. and that's just for starters...

(someone asked, "Mara, don't you realize that there will be someone else involved in the planning of this wedding?" my reply? "um, well, if he's marrying me, he's going to know my opinion stands in all things musical, unless he has similar [or better] tastes in music and beliefs about liturgy. [that'd be nice, but unlikely...] I mean, gosh, he can pick the dresses, the flowers, whatever, I don't care!")

Sunday, July 29, 2007

finding subs...

so a while ago my boss told me that it wouldn't be a big deal if I ever had to miss Mass and couldn't find a sub, he said that all the churches that he's ever been at had that happen except the cathedral. So I was planning on having August 18 be that day (my first in over a year!) because all of my possible subs are going on vacation or will be at a wedding...
and then I found out the priest would be gone also...and so he said that I really have to find a sub. but he would prefer not to pay (even out of the goodness of his heart,) more than $75. I'm scrambling, and running out of ideas...
I'm not writing about this to moan about him, or my job or anything, but rather the sad state of things in GENERAL when there are no substitutes out there!

when I'm like the only person in the WORLD who can do my job! ugh!

Friday, July 27, 2007

bulletin article II

here's the article as it went to press and we received the bulletins this morning. Comments are welcome, I suppose, but they won't do much good now, and my boss did thoroughly edit it beforehand...

What is Mara Singing
at Communion?
A month ago, as an experiment, I began singing the proper Communion antiphon of the day at the beginning of Communion.
So what IS this “proper antiphon”? The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) gives four options for the beginning of Mass (the procession,) the Offertory, and at Communion. These are almost identical and are listed and summarized as 1) The antiphon from a book called the Roman Gradual, 2) The seasonal antiphon from the Simple Gradual, 3) A song from a collection approved by the US Bishops, 4) another suitable liturgical song. (GIRM 87)
These four choices are listed by the Church in order of priority. I am attempting to provide the first option at Communion time (when I think no one wants to sing anyhow...) along with Psalm verses. The tradition of singing Psalm verses is given as an option in the second and third listed above.
The Psalms are the inspired Word of God and they have a special place in the worship of God.
Historians have evidence of the practice of singing the Psalms during the Liturgy, and particularly at Communion as dating from the late fourth century A.D. In paragraph 88 in the GIRM, the option of singing a psalm or canticle of praise by the entire congregation is given, and that is what I have been doing over the past few weeks.
The melodies that you have been hearing recently are taken directly from the Roman Gradual. These are the original Gregorian chants which often date from the tenth century, and certainly even earlier.
This ancient form of singing is so clearly part of our musical heritage as Catholics, even if just from its age which proves its transcendence throughout time. But, I also believe that it is intrinsically beautiful. The feedback that I have been receiving from people only confirms this. Beautiful things inspire our souls to more fervently praise God. One might argue that the stained glass windows in our church are inefficient in that they let in less light, are more costly to maintain, and break more easily than other windows, but what would our lovely church building be without them?
Since singing this “proper antiphon”, I have received many positive comments. Now that I have received such encouragement, I would like to extend the invitation to those who are interested to join me as a small, experimental schola. A schola is as a small choir that perhaps has just this one part assigned particularly to them for the time being. I am already aware of two people who are interested and I hope there are more.
In Musicam Sacram, one of the Church’s primary documents on music after Vatican II, it states, “There should be choirs or cappellae, or scholae cantorum especially in cathedrals or other major churches, in seminaries and religious houses of studies, and they should be carefully encouraged.”
Currently, we just have one choir that sings on a regular basis, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have other groups of singers who help out at Masses! In addition to adding other people singing this antiphon, I plan to provide the congregation with translations to what is being sung in the Latin so everyone could know what we are singing.
Is this too historical? I get excited about this stuff! It’s so neat, for me at least, to think about how wonderful it is for we as Catholics to have such a rich history of music. I pray that you also will be blessed by this music.
― Mara
“Beauty is a key to the
mystery and a call to
— John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999

Monday, July 23, 2007

moan-my poor little organ..

ah, it's one of those 3-rank factory-produced Mollers, made in the 60's. I mean. I'd rather have it over any electronic organ any day, but really. When the church is can be pretty hard to "lead the congregation." What I would give for just one, nice, loud reed.

Case in point...
this weekend, at the later Mass (always full,) I don't rehearse the choir in the summer, but they're welcome to sing the hymns, and this weekend more of them than usual showed up. Fine with me, but the first hymns was "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," and halfway through the first verse I realized the congregation was belting it out, and the choir was following THEM cuz they were louder than the organ! (and yep, I had all three ranks and some octaves pulled. sigh.) So I gave them a look started doing some left hand conducting, and we managed to accelerate the song to its appropriate pace.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

bulletin article

I plan on writing soon, like later today, a bulletin article for next weekend entitled something like "what the heck has Mara been singing at Communion?" I got a LOT of positive feedback this weekend. So I know the time is ripe for some serious explaining.

(the real reason I'm writing this all in here, is cuz last time I wrote that I was going to write a bulletin article but didn't really know what to write soon as I posted it here, the ideas and resources just started flowing!

so here goes...

Communion antiphons...

why I am singing them...(GIRM 87) then also quote GIRM 88?

how ancient a practice it is in the Church of singing Psalms at Communion...

the intrinsic beauty of what I have been singing...

explain what a "Proper" is?

how I would like to get people to join me to make a schola (ok, I'll word that better,)

how I am planning on getting the translations to those who want them. (I'm thinking of having a monthly sheet that has the 4 or 5 Communion antiphons with their translations available in the back of the church for those who want to pick them up.)

should I go into how, "if you're following along in your Missal, what I am singing at Communion just might not be what it says is the 'Communion Antiphon,' " that could be a really in-depth discussion that could just cause more confusion than it explains. sigh.

I don't think I'm going to talk about the fact that it's Latin, -people don't seem to mind if they don't have to sing/say it. and that could be a whole additional bulletin article. or pamphlet. or homily...

a nice follow-up article would be to write about what the Church says about "active participation," and how that doesn't necessarily mean that YOU have to be singing! That's not an issue for right now, because no one wants to sing during Commuion, but that could be if we begin incorporating more of the propers at other places in the Mass.

open to more ideas over the next few hours/days!

Friday, July 20, 2007


I recently observed the most blatant example of why priests really should face ad orientem.

I was Mass at St. X, where I haven't gone in years, and I observed the priest during the Eucharistic Prayer, doing his absolute best to make the prayer relevant and interesting and applicable and perhaps even entertaining? for all of those present. However, his tactics seemed rather ridiculous when I thought about the context...

He was up there, praying, with his arms outstreched for the entire prayer, and looking around at the congregation, just, I don't know how to describe it in words, I wish I could give a demonstration to you all! but, basically just looking around at everyone and grinning! I mean, in a nice way, but because he was up there at the altar, feeling like he was on display and knowing that everyone was looking at him, he felt so completely obligated to draw them all into it, which seeems nice and maybe not so bad, until I thought about how he was addressing his prayer to God, and here he was looking at all of us and grinning!

I wonder if anyone else noticed how that seems kind of silly. I mean, I know that this priest is very well-intentioned, and has a good heart, and it might not be his fault that he feels he has to face the people, and as a result of that he feels like he has to draw them in somehow, but if he just turned around, and faced the same direction as them, he wouldn't even have to worry about that-he could just pray with them!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the word is out...

my blog has been "found..."

I guess I really need to start watching more what I say on here... ;-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I finally figured out what TLM stands for! (took me long enough, yes, I know, but at least I didn't have to embarrass myself and ask anyone! I was confusing myself, becuase I was thinking "Tridentine Low Mass?" "The Latin Mass?")

Friday, July 13, 2007

NPM conference

I just got back from the NPM conference. quite different from the CMAA conference, although I suppose it's ridiculous to even compare them. While at CMAA, we mostly sang and heard a few talks, this was almost exclusively talks and addresses, with basically everyone who is anyone in the Catholic music world (because it was the bi-yearly national conference,) ranging from Marty Haugan to Fr. Anthony Ruff. (more on him later.) I went to the Detroit chapter's dinner (even though I'm not technically in the Detroit archdiocese-I just know a lot of people who are,) and I randomly met my priest's brother who is also a priest! That was funny. Apparently they're about as opposite in opinions on these issues as anyone could be. When I introduced myself as working for his brother, his first reaction was, "oh, I'm SO sorry!" haha. But he seemed nice. And was quite concerned that his brother is paying me enough (which he's not and I know it, but I will ask for a raise in a few months.) And the networking was AMAZING. I personally insulted Paul Ford to his face and didn't even realize it. ( the guy who wrote By Flowing Waters? yeah...)

here's the story:
I was with two of my college friends, who are both interested in chant also. So, we went to the chant section meeting at the beginning of the conference. Yeah, it was definitly us and about 10 old people. But it was a good meeting, Fr. Anthony Ruff as well as Fr. Columba Kelly were both there. (a-MAZ-ing! Even though I only talked to him once, I think Fr. Ruff is in the running for my favorite priest! I totally am going to go study chant under him at Collegeville at some point.) so before the meeting started, me and my youngish friends were sitting there, and this guy sits down and starts chatting with us, and he eventually asks us if we've heard of By Flowing Waters. yes, I replied, and I said I was annoyed because they had used a terrible translation (the NRSV. and I said that because I had JUST been talking to my priest about it, and he said that was why we couldn't use it!) so this guy is like, oh, and then he asks if me and my friends wanted a copy of it. I was like, no, I already have one. But the other guys did. so he pulls out his business card, and I look at it and yes, if you're smart than you will have figured out who it was. oops. I turned SO red. I was like, "oh! YOU wrote it!" and then he was like, "we'll talk..." so we did later, and we had quite a nice discussion about lots of stuff, and I regurgitated stuff my boss has explained to me like how we shouldn't use the acclamation "Christ has died..." and we did talk about the actual NRSV translation, and I said I thought the main problem with it was the inclusive language, like how references the Messiah as "he," become, "the one," which totally makes them lose their meaning. so anyhow, because I already had a copy of BFW, he is having LP send me a copy of some book about the development of the Eucharistic prayers (in response to our "Christ has died," discussion. so now I have to read this probably very intellectual book when it arrives.) So he liked me and my friends. As a matter of fact, someone told us later, that after we left the room with the tiny chant section meeting, all the old guys (I don't mean to refer to them derogatorily, I mean the great old guys, like the ones mentioned above,) they were sooo happy and even kind of emotional to see us young people there. like, here they are, they've given their lives to this thing, and I can only imagine what it must be like for them to see us, young people, interested in this and ready to carry it on!

I bought a book on semiology to read, and I'm having a Graduale Triplex shipped (I know there are people who read this blog who are in complete denial that such a way of interpreting chant even exists, but I don't know how you can ignore those little squiggles, and I guess after reading this book I'll even be able to explain them!)

and then to sum up the rest of the conference, I sat through lots of crappy plenum sections (there was only one really scary moment. the speaker, who I thought was doing fine up until then made some comment like, "we don't need a reform of the reform," and EVERYONE started clapping. my friends next to me and I felt about < > this big... but I went to lots of fabulous workshops and talks, I mostly went to the ones about choirs and getting better vocal sound and such. I wrote down lots of good ideas. plus I got TONS of choral music to go through, I think six packets total, from the big three as well as Hope and Concordia. and yes, I will throw out half of it, and my choir won't be able to sing a lot of it, but there will be some usable stuff in the whole thing. I had several friends from school there, and so it was really fun to go out with them every night and stuff.

wow, this is a long post. but I think it's interesting, and there's certainly nothing I want to delete. I just might have to go again next year. oh. except that I am SICK of so many gay guys in one place. I just can't take it sometimes. gay guys and gay PRIESTS! it's enough to make me want to weep. seriously. May God have mercy on us all...

Friday, July 06, 2007


I revisited the question of getting new hymnals today with my priest. He had mentioned it two weeks ago, and I was excited. (sorry, I can't remember how much of this I have posted before.) But now I'm not. Really, there's just like 4 or 5 hymns that I REALLY wish our hymnal (Ritual Song) had (Be Thou My Vision, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Beautiful Saviour/Fairest Lord Jesus, Adoro Te Devote, Ave Verum) that's all I can think of at the moment. The thing my priest hates the most is the inclusive language. Apparently Worship I or II doesn't have inclusive language? anyone know? And that does bring us to another possibility...buying the old hymnals of another church who is replacing them? Any ideas?

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I am soooo confused.
I know it has something to do with the Pre-Vatican II Missal, and the current one...
Today, for the first time, at both Masses I sang the Communion antiphon from the Graduale Romanum with the Psalm verses, (compliments of CMAA?) it wasn't until after Mass that it occured to me to cross check it with the Sacramentary (the "Communion Antiphon" of which is also printed in my handy Today's Liturgy book, as well as any misallette you pick up, so I assume that's the one I'd want.
And I discovered that it's not even the same, for this particular Sunday, as well as many others!
The English translation of which I was hoping to find, would have been either from Psalm 102:1. "O, bless the Lord my soul..." or John 17: 20-21 "Father, I pray for them..." but the one given in my Gregorian Missal (and the Graduale Romanum?) was "Inclina aurem tuam..." Ps. 30:3. In an effort to find out if the Communion antiphons had just been scrambled, (because I can't translate the English in the Sacramentary into Latin to just look up what chant it should be, and I couldn't find a Sacramentary with English and Latin, and the only Latin one at the church was from 1961, and that just confirmed my suspicions that the Latin antiphons I was discovering were taken from pre-Vatican II,) I went through my Gregorian Missal's index in the back with the name of all the chants, and I cross-referenced where in the Bible they were each from (Ps. 30, etc.), so I could use that as a way to find if the antiphons I wanted were just listed under a different day. Even though some weeks have two English options for the antiphon, I still can't find some of them at all, and others of them are listed just under a different day.
I just want to do the right propers at the right time! I'm not planning the music for a Tridentine liturgy! (although in a few months or so I may...) The propers properly!
so where are all of the missing antiphons? (I looked at the introits also briefly, and this didn't seem to be a problem.) what am I supposed to use in 3 weeks for the 16th Sunday OT? I can't find either Psalm 110:4-5 "The Lord keeps in our minds the wonderful things he has done..." or Rev. 3:20 "I stand at the door and knock..."
ok, so I then thought I figured it out with this page:
nope, it's the same as my Gregorian Missal...which, (my entire point is,) I would have thought was ok except that it still doesn't match any worship planning aid which I have before me...
can anyone please explain this?

but now, after that rant, here's my nice little story of the weekend.
so I just decided to give it a try, and just sing the Communion Antiphon with Psalm verses this morning, by myself. I know that people in the past have really liked it when I just sing one of the chants during the sprinkling rite, so I have a theory that they don't mind Latin if they just don't have to do it themselves. so I sang it, and several people told me after the first Mass that they really liked it, and then the same after the second one (but no one will tell me if they don't like it...they'll just tell the priest!) and I was talking to a lady who LOVED it, and she was telling me how yesterday she had gone to a one-day chant class thingy in Detroit and she had loved it, even though she never would have considered singing in the past. and I was like, "great! I'm gonna try and start a schola, especially if I keep getting the positive feedback that I've gotten today, cuz I don't want to be the only one singing...wanna join?" and she's like "sure! and my daughter would love to, also!" and then she went on to say how the guy who led the chant workshop was fabulous and would probably like come to our parish to do a workshop. I had actually heard about this workshop yesterday, and if I had heard about it earlier, I totally would have put it on the bulletin, and I'm sure more people would have gone, but that would be so awesome to get people to come at our church! and I would let the other good nearby parishes know, and then their people could come too! cuz I was getting kinda depressed earlier like thinking, "who on earth would be willing to take the time and learn all these chants to sing with me?" thats a big reason I'm feeling like I don't know what direction to go in...cuz I can't do this all myself! ok, I'm not making any sense anymore, I have so much I need to go do I need to get off the computer...argh, so much for Sunday relaxing...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Colloquium Chamber Choir

well, I'm finally getting around to listening to some of the sound files from Colloquium.
wow. they are pretty sweet.
I'm currently listening to Os Justi, sung by the whole conference, and omg, the acoustics are amazing, and you can HEAR the sound of the (whats that thing called? I should know this. the incenser!) it just kinda makes you feel like you're there, during Mass.
And first I listened to the Chamber Choir (which I was in) singing O Nata Lux. incredible. and I have to say...I've sung under a lot of amazing and crazy conducters...and, well, Scott Turkingham is the craziest. In a good way, I suppose, I mean, he's a great conductor, and a nice guy, but while performing under him...don't even think of taking your eyes away from him. I never did, but I watched as he burned people with his glare who didn't watch him. and he was sooooo incredibly animated. fascinating to sing under. I'm just so awed by the experience that I can't stop talking about it. meh.

Friday, June 29, 2007


ugh. the decisions!~
where to even begin? yesterday I sat down with my priest and had a big de-briefing session about the Colloquium particularly, and in general what direction we are going to go in. We need to get new hymnals, and we can't wait two or three years for a new translation of the Mass. Guess who that job is going to fall to? St. Michael's is a big possiblity, but kind of expensive. Adoremus is accused of not having much variety. What about a yearly paperback thing for a couple years? anything has to be better than Ritual Song... if you have EVER read this blog before, then you know my rants about the Communion options....
...but then, as my discussion with my boss continued, one thing that I really took away from the conference was an encouragement to begin using the propers. but HOW? I don't even know where to begin! The Communion will be easy to slip in in any form, everyone likes listenign to pretty music, and the Offertory won't be so hard either. Getting rid of the opening hymn will be the work of a couple years at least. and then the difficulty of getting translations into the hands of the people...and that's where a good misallette will come in handy. Doing the actual Gregorian chant (from the Gregorian Missal or wherever that is from originally) is the ideal I'm shooting for. and for something like the Offertory and Communion, I don't htink the people will care much, like I just mentinoed they like to listen to pretty music. Apparently they loved it when I (and the choir at that Mass) sang Vidi Aquam all Easter. But where on earth am I going to get a schola that can do this every week (ok, I have no idea why this is suddenly typing bold, that is not intentional. I'm trying to type really fast.) I have a couple ideas of girls who could sing with me, but I doubt any of them would be willing to learn the propers and sing them with me at just one Mass a weekend-even if I rotated the actual girls! One thing that was discussed at the Colloquium which I thought was quite cool that kind of answered the question of mine, "what about solo singing? I mean, I can learn the propers all by myself pretty easily, and just sing them, and people will like them?" well, it was discussed about how stuff like that is even MORE appreciated by the difficulty of it not just being sung, but being sung in perfect unison, without mistakes. like, any musician can just sing a pretty melody line, but to sing it together with someone else, with all of the same nuances etc, is just heavenly! so there's a bunch of the random big decisions I've got overwhelming and gushing around in my head.,..

oh...where to begin, where to begin...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Colloquium was great. Very interesting to talk to people who are in similar situations as myself. Very interesting to meet people whose blogs I've been reading, haha!
It makes one quite happy to just know that there are people out there who are going through the same struggles and questions I am (such as, how to introduce translations and antiphons without ridiculous amounts of paper in the pew...) and the (power) struggles musicians have with their priests (but not me! yay!) and such, but then also kind of frustrating to realize that no one else has answers to these questions, either! argh!
some of my highlights involved things like how great it is to be able to sit down with 140 other people and sightread beautiful Catholic music, singing the Mass exactly as the Church desires it to be celebrated, and one of my favorites was the night we had the coffeehouse. ohhh...musicians sitting around, drinking wine, making musical jokes, and perfoming is just wonderful.