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 organists...it 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 to...do 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.