Saturday, May 26, 2007

last two weeks of choir

so, like most church choirs, mine has been slowly dwindling since Easter.
Throughout the year, I've lightly threatened them that if they miss rehearsal, I will be calling them to make sure that they're doing alright and not in the hospital or something, cuz, really, that's the only good reason to miss rehearsal, right? and those present always agree!
and of course whenever there is a particularly light week, the people who were there later want to know if I carried through on my threat, but I never have.
until yesterday! there were only 4 ladies at rehearsal, and really, they are those who don't need to rehearse much! so, yesterday, I called about 5 people. I left some messages, expressed polite concern that they had missed, hoped they were doing alright, and mentioned that the choir would only be singing for 3 more weekends, so I really hoped they would be able to make it to the last two rehearsals. A couple people were surprised that we weren't singing through the summer, and most sounded like they certainly would make a priority of coming to the last rehearsals.
So now here's my quandry. I had planned on learning a rather difficult but gorgeous 4-part Ave Verum for Corpus Christi if I had had a couple guys to sing bass at least (I can sing tenor when necessary, and my sopranos and altos are pretty competent!) but I decided against it with only the 4 ladies. We worked on our 4-part piece for next Sunday, and even if just these 4 sing the soprano and alto parts and I play the organ, it will sound alright.
so anyhow, now everyone is going to come to rehearsal for the next two weeks. But I think that 2 weeks might be too short for most of the men to learn their part on this difficult piece, so it will be kind of like, "why are we here? we're not doing anything hard...?" I don't think most of the choir knows the chant Ave Verum, so I'm thinking of just teaching and using that. At least they'll know the words for next year, right?
my point is, I'm afraid of not challenging them enough(which I haven't been able to do recently cuz they haven't been coming to rehearsal regularly!), so they are reluctant to come back (like in the fall?)
we'll see. I'm learning. it's still my first year as an actual Music Director...

Holy Trinity

Even though everyone else complains about how we lose the 7th Sunday of Easter for Ascension (well, they actually complain about how we lose a holy day of obligation, but that's beside the point,) I personally LOVE how we have these four absolutely WONDERFUL feast days in a row! Corpus Christi and Pentecost are totally my favorite holy days!

so here's next weekend:
(same other stuff as listed below this post)

Sing Praise to our Creator (GOTT VATER...)
Holy, Holy, Holy (NICAEA)
choir: O God of Loveliness (choral arrangement of ST. ELIZABETH)
Now Thank We (NUN DANKET)
God We Praise You (NETTLETON)

Pentecost Sunday

Fire of God, Undying Flame (NUN KOMM)
Psalm-Respond and Acclaim
Pentecost Sequence-English, GIA translation (gotta love how the ICEL guys or whoever translated it for the Lectionary made sure that their translation absolutely did not match the meter of the chant...)
Easter Alleluia with verses (O FILII ET FILIAE)
Sanctus-Mass of Creation (yes, we're working on this...)
Mem. Acc. -chant (Jubilate Deo)
Amen-two tone
Agnus Dei-chant
O Breathe on Me, O Breath of God (ST. COLUMBA)
One Bread, One Body
Come Holy Ghost (LAMBILLOTTE)

and, for those wondering about the "Memorial Day patriotic music," obviously I've chosen to not use any. Pentecost is far more important. Interestingly, I'm actually not quite sure what my priest/boss thinks about the whole "using patriotic songs at Mass close to holidays" thing, but guess what? He's on retreat until the last Mass this weekend, so...he won't know until too late! tee hee...

Friday, May 25, 2007

the Office

has anyone ever watched the reality tv show sort of sitcom the Office?
well, this office is kind of like that. we decided yesterday that we should totally have our own tv show.
here's the characters:
J, the DRE. kind of quiet. not super-personable. hides downstairs in his office all day.
M, the music director. very intense, kind of sarcastic. forgets to be friendly sometimes
C, the office manager. also intense. gets stressed out alot. also forgets to be friendly when she is stressed out.
Fr. G, makes up for the lack of friendliness among everyone else. extremely intense, although he vehemently denies it.
D, an elderly volunteer. She knows everything. she's been around longer than you've been alive. we don't even know everything that wouldn't get done if she weren't here.
B, he lives in the rectory, trying to decide what to do with his life. he prays about 16 hours a day.

plus various other volunteers that are present once a week or so.

the episodes of the past two days alone:
Fr. G hit a possom while driving. the next day, some people leaving Mass thought they saw it crawling around. possum not in sight. the next day, C sees it. Claims it is in agony. Fr. G still can't find it, what's he supposed to do? Finally he finds it. He comes back in, claiming it was "alacrity." C doesn't think so. dictionary is pulled out. Large conversation in office follows discussing what to do. no one has a gun. C, Fr. G, M, and J troop out to look for it. Possum is certainly not alacrity. The men find it and won't let the women see, it's dead, so the shovel wasn't needed. M doesn't want to see, so she runs back inside in case the phones ringing. Fr. G scoops the dead possum up and throws it into the woods. ugh.

and yesterday:
Fr. G gives M a lesson in how to make a phone call. "Did C show you how to make a phone call?" C raises her eyebrows. where is this going? M gets really nervous, agonizes over if she did something wrong. Long conversation follows about how it is important to be friendly and caring on the phone. when making a phone call, even to an 800 number, begin by asking the person how they are doing. conversation continues about the necessity of this. M contradicts Mother Theresa (to the horror of the others present) by pointing out that constant cheerfulness can just be a sign of a fake person... a discussion about this follows.
Fr. G later privately asks C if M was offended by his manner of approaching the matter. C doesn't think so. Fr. G worries some more. He leaves for the weekend. as far as we know, he is still worrying about having upset one of his staff people even while he is on retreat this weekend.

ok, maybe that all wasn't interesting to anyone except me. maybe it was just a "you had to have been there" week.
this will probably be the last time I blog about this as if it were a tv show. ha. hopefully.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

working for a church

sometimes it's hard working for a small church. there's exactly 4 people on salary (not including the maintenance guy and the lady who comes in once a week to write the checks!-for those wondering, that would be me, the DRE, the office manager, and the priest.) so I have to do a lot of figuring out stuff myself.
I'm just a little stressed/worried. I have to figure out my hours and how everything will work, like, make sure my hours will balance out between the business of Christmas and Easter, and the slowness of summer.
how am I really supposed to do that when I don't know exactly what I'll be able to do in the fall with things like a children's choir? Bringing in outside scholas for an occasional Mass or two?
I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out how, well, in a bigger church wouldn't someone be telling me how I would spend my time? Maybe not, but I am definitely not a "visionary." by that, I mean how like I'm not going to be very good at finding stuff to do for 20 hours a week with just music. but that's part of my job description! (something about "expanding and improving the music program...) I mean, the choir loft and music library need to be cleaned out SO much, and I can always practice more (prepare a prelude, etc,) but I'm just worried about how to...quantify? all of that... and my lack of ideas for more things to do, or at least how to implement them...

Saturday, May 19, 2007


funeral this morning, wedding in an hour, Mass at 4:30 like normal. what a day.
I'm overwhelmed (just mentally-I haven't actually started doing anything!) with the amount of stuff that I have to do. As in, stuff that I've been putting off for, "when the church will pay me to do it." (like starting Wednesday, I have 20 hours a week of "music," and that is when I will start to do all this stuff I've been intending to do for so long...sort through the music "library" and get rid of the heretical stuff (that would basically be most of the things published in my lifetime-ironic, eh?) figure out when exactly during funerals "In Paradisum" is supposed to be sung, and all the other confusing things about the end of funerals and how the "Order of Christian Funerals" is not very clear at all...
other stuff too. It'd be really good to make a format for a worship aid in which just a few things can be changed for different funerals, and then the people who never actually go to church can somewhat follow along.
and now my boss has assigned me the job of making a laminated sheet that has the Mass parts in Latin chant notation with the translation. (seriously. I don't know how I'm going to do this. The Gloria, Credo, and Our Father are NOT going to all fit on one sheet of paper, much less all of the other smaller parts...)

but going back to funerals,
I just read a good quote. "Give me flowers while I'm still alive."
I know, I know...I think about this a lot. but seriously. I always wonder if the wonderful things people say at funerals were ever said to them during their lives. If they were actually appreciated as much as people say they were.
and the flowers?
Don't waste them at my funeral when I can't enjoy them! Give them to me now!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I've been in the process of moving for the past couple of days, and I don't have easy internet access at home anymore, then I'm going to Mexico next week, then when I get back I'm going to try and figure out the internet situation. So, basically, expect the blogging to be light.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Favorite Hymns Meme

(kind of tagged by

Favorite five Latin hymns:
(what qualifies as a hymn? Like hymn format as in with verses? Or can a one line chant count? I guess it doesn't matter, so I will clarify "hymns" as "songs")
1. Ave Maria -chant, Mode I
2. Pange Lingua
3. Adoro Te Devote
4. Puer Natus
5. Vidi Aquam

Favorite five English hymns:
1. O Sacred Head (Passion Chorale)
2. Beautiful Saviour (St. Elizabeth or Schoenlzster Jesu or something like that?)
3. O Breathe on Me O Breath of God (St. Columba)
4. Jesus My Lord, My God, My All
5. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

ok, I know I'm forgetting some, but oh well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm starting to understand why there are so few good Communion songs

there's several things going on here.
Catholics didn't write much of their own music (especially in the vernacular) until post-1962.
I'm not sure at what point hymns in the vernacular were used, but they were certainly almost all Protestant.
hence, not any about the Eucharist. ("Alleluia Sing to Jesus" and "At that First Eucharist" are the only actual hymns I can think of that are Eucharist oriented that were written more than 40 years ago! Or at least the only ones in Ritual Song...) So all of the other "songs" in the hymnal have been written since then, and are either shallow in theological content if not heretical, and usually musically deficient. Which seems to be the general trend for the 40 years following Vatican II.
Further back then that, however, we have all of the Latin Gregorian chant. Think "Pange Lingua," or "Adoro te Devote."
Of course there are the English translations of those, but really, that doesn't leave me with many options.

well, even if that doesn't solve my irritations about why there are so few good communion songs, at least I understand why a little bit more. Now I don't have to keep wondering, "why are there no Eucharistic HYMNS!?"
there's a couple...(they're also mostly just not in my hymnal! grr!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Easter 5 C

Good Christians all (Gelobt Sei Gott)
Vidi Aquam
Gloria (Lee)
"This is the Day the Lord Has Made" (Common for Easter) R. Holtz
R&A Alleluia
Crowning: Bring Flowers of the Rarest
Offertory: Where Charity and Love Prevail
Communion: We Have Been Told (one of the verses is actually the commuion antiphon! Yay! I really intend to try to do this more often!)
Immaculate Mary
Sing With All the Saints** (Hymn to Joy)

**Sometimes I hate it when they change the old hymns to be "gender inclusive." Usually they just make less sense then. But in this particular case...I can't figure out WHO are the "sons in glory," but I KNOW who the "Saints in glory" are!