Monday, April 30, 2007

Bring Flowers of the Rarest

I had to laugh when Gavin mentioned "Bring Flowers of the Rarest" in a recent thread on another site.
So here I am, at my wonderful little church, where the divide between "traditionalists" and "progressives" is as strong as anywhere.
And I have some idea where most of the notable people in the church (or at least those I've met-issues like these don't stay hidden once people meet you and find out you're the MD!)
So when the wonderful lady who helps out around the church doing miscellanious liturgically related stuff handed me a copy of the song she was thinking would be used at all the Masses next weekend for the May crowning and was sure everyone knew, I looked at it and said, "ok, I've never heard of it, but I'll poll the choir."
The song is "Bring Flowers of the Rarest."
So I plunked it out on my piano as soon as I got home, and saw right away that it was some late 19th century___ (fill in the blank.)
I played it for the choir, and about half of them (surprise suprise-those new to the parish!) started singing along. ok, so I guess I will type it out on sibelius, (lower it a minor third!) so the congregation can sing it it with only one voice part so it will fit on one page.
but really...
was this schmaltz from the turn of the century "Catholic Music," in the same way that Haugen/Haas is for us now?
that now it is a nostalgic classic for all of the "traditionalists?" hm...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I finally got around to updating my sidebar, notice it's a bit more organized and there are a couple more blogs added.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

oh, and p.s.

I LOVE free harmonizations of hymns!

(you would too, especially if your organ only had 3 ranks, and your choir only about 10 people...)

a little off topic...

I am graduating in two days.
18 years of school (assuming I started when I was 4) finally...DONE!
graduating from a conservatory-class music school, and from a world-wide recognized university.
not bad, I'd say.
especially for a kid who had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up, when she started college.
I guess she's gonna be a church organist/pastoral musician/music director. whatever.
and affect more lives than your average lawyer/engineer/voice major whatever.
really, I've said this before, and it might even be hidden somewhere on my profile, but ALL I want to do is to play the organ and sing and direct my choir so that other people are drawn closer to Christ. It's really quite simple.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Latin in the Mass

this is borrowed from Fr. Fox (
I think I'll see what I can do about particularly getting it into the hands of my choir members and other such people who might find it useful. keeping in mind however, that there are probably people who will refuse to accept this, whether I can "prove" it comes from the Church or not.

Latin and Chant at Mass: What Vatican II said

From the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI, December 4, 1963:

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.(1)

2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may(2) be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters. (3)

3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language. (4)

54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken (5) so that the faithful may also (6) be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. (7)

116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant (8) as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30. (9)

What Pope Paul VI said in Jubilate Deo, a booklet of chant issued by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, April 14, 1974: (10)

This minimum repertoire (11) of Gregorian chant has been prepared with that purpose in mind: to make it easier for Christians to achieve unity and spiritual harmony with their brothers and with the living traditions of the past.

Hence it is that those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing (12) cannot refuse to Gregorian chant the place which is due to it….

In presenting the Holy Father's gift to you, may I at the same time remind you of the desire which he has often expressed that the Conciliar constitution on the liturgy (13) be increasingly better implemented. Would you therefore…decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of "Jubilate Deo" and of having them sing them…

What Pope Benedict said, in Sacramentum Caritatis, March 13, 2007:

42. In the ars celebrandi, (14) liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love." The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. (15) Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration. Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons. Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy. (16)

62. ….Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. (17)


1 "The Latin Rite" means the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., not the Greek, Lebanese, or other branches.
2 Emphasis added, and so throughout.
3 Note it never mandates that the vernacular must be used, but rather that it may be used.
4 This language does not envision a complete elimination of Latin usage at Mass.
5 Who should take these steps? Clearly bishops, and those who act for them, pastors. What steps? Not specified, but some steps are envisioned.
6 The faithful also—i.e., not just priests, not just choirs.
7 "Parts of the Ordinary" refers to prayers said every week.
8 Gregorian chant, by definition, is in Latin.
9 This makes clear the music needn’t be all Gregorian chant, only that it have "pride of place."
10 Although what follows was issued by the Congregation, it clearly represents the pope’s own desires.
11 Note the wording: the pope intends a "minimum" understanding and usage of Latin, Gregorian chant.
12 Note: this is for congregations, not just the priest, or for choirs.
13 I.e., this is linked to what Vatican II said about Gregorian chant, and tells us the pope’s understanding of its meaning.
14 I.e., the art of celebrating the liturgy.
15 Note how this echoes what Pope Paul VI said in Jubilate Deo, quoted above.
16 The pope is referring to the Synod of bishops, held October, 2005; his request to use Gregorian chant reflects their recommendation as well.
17 The first part of this paragraph (not quoted) refers primarily to international celebrations of the Mass, at which the pope requests and encourages the use of Latin; this part goes further, and speaks to more ordinary settings. I.e., the use of Latin and chant are not only for international gatherings, but as Paul VI made clear, parish settings.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday night ramblings

so I spent all week being terrified about how to introduce the Latin memorial acclamation, especially after (as I blogged about before) the worship committee meeting on Monday, and my realization that there are people in the Church with good hearts, but who really don't understand why we are re-introducing Latin and chant and such, and I certainly didn't feel equipped to explain it to them,
after choir on Thursday night, I realized that even the choir had a relatively difficult time learning these two lines of latin chant, and there was even some, um, criticism which I didn't really know how to respond to.
so this afternoon before Mass I was able to talk to Father and express to him my concerns, and (this is one of the things that I LOVE about him) he is able to read between my inarticulate expressing about what I'm worried.
so he stood up with me before Mass and helped explain a little about why we were doing this...
I know it sounds almost unecessary, but you have to understand how much of an UNpastoral personality I have. I would have just gotten up there and been like, " we're gonna learn this thing..."
but he explained it so well! Like, I know why we are doing this, I just can't usually articulate it!
It will be interesting to see how it goes over tomorrow and in the future...

next is the Sanctus, then the Gloria! so this is an experiment to see how long it really takes the congregation to pick up...
(the Gloria is SO long! where do you even BEGIN teaching that to a congregation in the 5 minutes before Mass? I'm still deciding between Gloria VII (de Angelis)-according to the Liber Cantualis- and XV. XV is definitely easier, but really pretty boring sounding, but VII is kind of hard for a congregation to learn from what I've heard, even though it is the one that "every Catholic is supposed to know." [btw-my priest says that often {that one of the popes wrote that about the Jubilate Deo Mass-which in some books this particular Gloria is called, but I can't figure out when they're given the name as opposed to number} my priest says that what I am here calling Gloria VII is the one that some pope said we are all supposed to know. ] does anyone actually know where that is written/documented?)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

more on the new translation

ok, half the reason I'm posting this link is because otherwise I won't be able to find it again, and also I think I might like to show it to my roommate whom I blogged about a couple entries before, but really, I just think she doesn't care, so why bother? I wonder if most people just don't care? As in, "meh, I hate learning new things..." but they otherwise wouldn't even care about the (excellent!) issues and points brought out in the above-mentioned blog?

you'lll never change anyone's mind if you neglect CHARITY

I went to my first "Worship Committee meeting" last night. It was...interesting.
It's good for me to go, so I'm informed about things I otherwise would be completely clueless about (there's a separate First Communion Mass?) but it really emphasized some things I've been observing recently that, well, make me angry.
These well-intentioned people who are SO convinced that they are 100 percent right, and that anyone who disagrees with what they know that the Church teaches is just an awful, silly, uneducated or stubborn person who needs to be set right and straightened out IMMEDIATELY.
and it makes me really angry that they just COMPLETELY forget about *charity.*
at the meeting, there were about 4 men and 4 women, all except one would consider ourselves "completely loyal the Church's teachings," but at least the other man has a good heart and really does want to do what's right-as in CHARITABLE. (contrast those who look down for example, on the Our-Father-hand-holders with those who do it because isn't it rude to not take someone's hand when the offer it, or even-oh goodness no-those who do it because it shows that we are unified? but I digress...just trying to give a little sense of the difference between the people at the meeting.)
Anyhow, the meeting was frustrating because the MEN kept on going off on all of these crazy tangents about all sorts of somewhat relevant but actually things that won't happen for a long time, or just that the worship committee won't really have anything to do with, and then they kept on ARGUING! And all of us women were rolling our eyes...
but what made me the most angry is how the other men would react when the guy who has somewhat different opinions would disagree. seriously people, it's 7 against 1, and I'm sure he realizes it. Can he PLEASE finish what he's saying? and then not have 3 people jump on him with explanations that are filled with implications of "If you just read the (hundreds of pages long) Church documents...Oh you're so naiive, you just don't know what the Church teaches..." Basically, just the general assumption that everyone agrees with you.
really, you're not going to change anyone's mind if you don't meet them where they're at.
ok, this post is making less sense the more I write. Maybe the situation itself wasn't so bad, and I know that men aren't as sensitive as women, and so I'm sure that this guy wasn't nearly as upset at arguing with 3 people at the same time as I would be!
Father wasn't at the meeting, and I'm just curious if it would have gone differently.
One guy (I mean, I like this guy, I'm not lambasting him, I'm just making an example of an attitude that he has which I do NOT think is helpful for unity within the Church, and for furthering the explanation of the Reform of the Reform!) this guy kept saying (kind of jokingly) that he wanted to reinstitute the Inquisition, and how he wanted to be Pope cuz he'd just "take care of" all the dissenters and such... (I reassured him that that was probably why he was never going to become pope...)
I mean, I don't want to give the impression that the meeting was all horrible and intense, it really wasn't that bad, mostly just annoying cuz it took almost two hours cuz we kept getting sidetracked about silly things like when we were going to put the communion rail back up and remove the free altar, and introduce more Latin. (I kept my mouth shut during that one, not wanting to bring up the fact that, well, um, actually THIS weekend we will be learning the "Mortem tuam annunciamus...")

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Jesus Christ is Risen Today
All People That on Earth (Old 100th)
You Satisfy (Gift of Finest)
O Breathe on Me (St. Columba)
The Strife is O'er

Third Sunday of Easter

Open: Good Christians All Rejoice (Gelobt Sei Gott-not sure if the congregation knows it, but...oh well...)
Sprinkling: a cappella Vidi Aquam (myself or choir members also)
Gloria: Lee
Prep: Easter Alleluia (O Filiae)
Sanctus: Mass of Creation (blah...just a few more weeks...)
Mem. Acc/Amen: introducing a cappella Latin! (The Jubilate Deo one?)
Communion: Alleluia Sing to Jesus
Alleluia, Give Thanks
Send: Christ the Lord (Llanfair)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New translation.

After hearing about this whole new Mass translation thing, and being able to read snippets of it and being aware of and impressed with the increase of...sacred language? less banality? anyhow, I've been excited and looking forward to being able to read the whole thing. When it appeared in the Catholic blog world a couple days ago, I was quite happy. It lived up to my expectations, and I'm just so excited with the reverence and the beauty of the language that it conveys, and the respect of the Mystery of our Faith.

so, I was so excited about this, I just had to share it with my roommate. note, she is a relatively devout Catholic, traditionally leaning, but not someone who keeps on top of all the latest liturgical happenings. Basically, a good example of a typical pew sitter who is also a good Christian.
So I asked her if she was aware of this new Mass translation, and she wasn't, so I explained that a little, then I was so excited, I just had to read parts of the translation to show her what I meant about it being more reverent and less banal. So I read her a little bit, and she just kind of shrugged, "I like it how it is now...?"

ah! If she, who is intelligent, college educated, and not narrow-minded, can't appreciate the beauty of these words, how will other average church-goers?!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

how to begin Mass...

I'm still trying to figure out the difference between the "introit," and "entrance antiphon," and where to obtain something that is actually antiphonal, and how to include the congregation in what the Church says we should use as an entrance for Mass...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

say a prayer for me...

tomorrow I'm meeting with my boss to discuss my increase in job responsibilities since I'm graduating, and, as a result, increase in salary.
Talking about money is NEVER fun...
pray it goes well...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Vigil

the only awful thing that happened, from my perspective occured with the Gloria.
So I knew in advance that they would be ringing the church bell during it. Fabulous. We did John Lee's repetitive chant-like Gloria with the handbells. However, I failed to take into consideration the fact that the handbells and the church bell are actually musical instruments with PITCHES. Which, as it turned out, are NOT in tune with eachother. (Someone had told me a while ago that these particular handbells were not in tune with anything else, so they always have to be used alone. Fine with me, I never really planned on using them with the organ.) The Gloria kind of revolves around an F, G, and Bb. The church bell is a G. Of a very different tuning. So we started the Gloria with the handbells, then the church bell came in. Not only were we then fighting its tuning, but the rest of the choir was standing away from the four of us ringing the handbells, and couldn't HEAR us b/c the bell above them was so loud! So they were basically just trying to watch my lips! I wonder what would have happened if I had stopped the handbells-would the singing have migrated to match the church bell? Had I thought of this in advance, it might have actually been cool to try the Gloria with JUST the church bell-it's simple enough.

Then on Easter, at the chant Mass at St. T's, we forgot (I TOTALLY should have remembered!) that there is a sprinkling rite! And we need to sing something for that! Literally TWO minutes before we had to start the introit, someond reminded us. One of the girls kind of knew Asperges Me, so she did that. I've intended before to learn Vidi Aquam, knowing it might be useful someday, but I never actually have. grr. That whole Mass was just kind of stressful, b/c the previous Mass went so long, that we couldn't even find parking much less get in the church until 12 minutes before our Mass! But, my priest/boss came to hear us! I had mentioned it to him so that he could get ideas for us to start using at our church. He left before it was over, so I didn't get to ask him what he thought.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

the anguish of being a church musician on Easter Eve!

A couple of my close friends are becoming Catholic tonight at two different Easter vigils, none of which are at my church.
And I, for obvious reasons, cannot celebrate with either one of them.
Not only can I not attend either of their Vigils, but I can't go to any "after-parties" either!
It's not just that I have to get up and go to Mass and could come home and re-rack, it's that I have to get up at 6:45, LEAD music for 2 Masses, then sing some difficult music for a third one, then go immediately to celebrate Easter with the fam for the rest of the day.

but I am otherwise quite happy. One of these conversions, I have been personally praying for almost daily for FOUR years!
which makes the inability to celebrate it immediately even more difficult.
But perhaps that is for the better, for now at least.
There will likely be much more time later to celebrate. :-)

Friday, April 06, 2007

and today

only one bad thing happened, at least from my perspective.
Of course during all the craziness I didn't go over with Father (we don't have a deacon) his, "This is the wood of the cross..." I didn't even think of it as being something I should have made sure he had down, but when he sang it, he went back down to the opening pitch on the word "on," instead of staying on the same note he had just sung for "cross," so he ended it way lower than it was supposed to be. So here I am, up in the choir loft, and now we're in some weird mode, so I had to decide if I should start the choir on the same note he had ended on (which was the wrong note, but everyone knows they're at least supposed to start on the same note as the priest ended!) or should I jump back up to the right pitch and put us back in the right mode/key. I did decide to just stay on the same note, and the people's response ended pretty weird and was also in a confused mode, and this happened all three times.
I afterwards explained to Father what he had sung wrong, and he was surprised, "I practiced it!" So I added going over it before the service to my list of things to do differently next year, (also including things like: have twice as many songs prepared for the veneration of the cross-yikes! And even though it's not necessarily called for and we are already doing a lot of singing, it wouldn't hurt to have another song while the collection is being taken up and the altar is prepared.)
But the choir DID successfully sing everything a cappella, which added a loverly simplicity-reverent atmosphere! And my cantor nicely got through the psalm, which was the only thing I was actually worried about doing unaccompanied.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

one down, two to go!

I love this week!

ok, funny (to me at least) story from tonight:

We've been using the basic chant Agnus Dei, and so I always play the note (G) and then start the chant, and then everyone joins in. Tonight, however, I knew I had to play a G on the organ, and then I was supposed to start singing something, but I could NOT remember how to start it! (finally, Father bailed me out...)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

quick Triduum rundown for those who care...

Holy Thursday:
Lift High the Cross
Psalm by K. Blaney (for 3 women)
Feet Washing: Lord Whose Love in Humble Service, What Wondrous Love
Offertory: Where Charity and Love Prevail
Communion: Choir sings little Pange Lingua ditty by Rossini
Humbly We Adore Thee
At that First Eucharist
Transfer of Eucharist: Sing My Tongue (Pange Lingua)

Good Friday:
Psalm from Respond and Acclaim
Veneration: Were You There
O Sacred Head Surrounded
Jesus Walked (if needed)
Communion: Surely He Has Born Our Griefs (R. Holtz)
Sing My Tongue (Picardy)

Easter Vigil:
Pslams: mix of Respond and Acclaim and contemporary (but reverent!) composers
Litany of the Saints: Becker (but with variations as in the names of actual Saints!)
Sprinkling: Baptized in Water (Bunesson)
Offertory: O Sons and Daughters (O Filiae...)
Communion: same little ditty by Rossini from Thursday
Alleluia Sing to Jesus
Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks
Close: The Strife is Over

And also-possibly of some interest to those who are still reading this-I am getting to be more interested in having a more complete compliation of blogs/websites of interest to those involved in liturgical planning, and particularly music. I'll contact the few of those who I am aware of after the craziness of Easter, but I wouldn't mind getting a head start. Any ideas of websites that I don't have listed to the left? (I know all of those aren't liturgically oriented, someday when I have more time I will sort them better...)


yay! recital is done! I'm just so happy I don't even know how to describe it. Basically my entire choir came, and were all quite impressed, and then basically all of my friends came, which was really wonderful. Someone told me that they did give away the last of the programs, which would be 115 people. I cannot even describe how it felt to look out over the audience, and to think how much I love EVERY SINGLE person who was there. I didn't put flyers all over the music school like most people do, cuz I didn't want any critical music school people there! (not that they would have come or anything...) yeah, that was great. and now I'm just so happy it's over! And real life can begin... (tee hee...)
like thinking about Holy Week-the most wonderful week of the year! I love it!

question about Holy Thursday-
currently I have "Lift High the Cross" scheduled for the opening. I'm torn. It just seems a little bit too...happy? for Holy Thursday? But maybe not. any other suggestions? I only have Ritual Song and Seasonal Missalette, and I guess I have until tomorrow night (choir practice) to decide...

Monday, April 02, 2007

tonight's the night...

...the night I've been dreading for 3 years.
My senior recital!
For the past 4 years (since I've started playing the organ,) I always think, "oh, I'll practice more tomorrow, or next week, or after spring break, or over the summer..." etc.
But now...
there is no tomorrow. there is only tonight.
and I know that I cannot play any of my pieces perfectly even when I'm alone, much less when there' s an audience sitting behind me.
And all those times when I've thought, "oh, I'll practice harder tomorrow?" do I regret it?
not sure. I've had an otherwise fabulous college experience, which I doubt I would have had I spent 3-4 hours a day locked up in a dark and lonely practice room!
but now, whatever my decisions were on all those individual days when I prioritized my time, and each day by itself seemed to be not all that important, I now look back and realize how collectively it will all make a difference.
My not-so-musically literate friends who have heard me (imperfectly) play my pieces have honestly told me they didn't hear any mistakes. which is why I haven't invited many musicians...tee hee...
but I know the few will hear the mistakes, or some of them. but it doesn't matter.
As the nice note my boss left for me yesterday reminds me, I am playing for God. The end goal being that of helping people to worship God better while at church.
The Glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria