Friday, May 30, 2008

Corpus Christi Procession

This is what it's supposed to look like, right?
Maybe next year I'll make it my goal to just be slightly obnoxious briefly and get at least ONE really good picture with no heads in the way or anything. (these aren't my pictures)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bishop's homily

Here is a copy of Bishop Boyea's homily that he gave to the musicians in the diocese at Solemn Vespers on Holy Trinity.

Evening Prayer for the Diocese of Lansing ministers of music; Ephesians 4:3-6; St. Mary Cathedral; May 18, 2008

In 1922 a fragment of an early Christian hymn was found at Oxyrhynchos dating to about 280 AD. Some of the very few words which survive are these: “All the glorious creatures of God should not remain silent and be outdone by the radiant stars…” The stars, in their radiance, in their power and majesty, are praising God by their very existence. We can do more. We can sing our praise and thanks, especially on this great day as we praise our Most Blessed Trinity. Thus we give praise as do the stars. However, we, by consciously acknowledging the source of all goodness, our God, Three in One, our creator and redeemer, go beyond the stars and the rest of creation by deliberately not looking to ourselves but rather to the Other, the One.
This evening I wish to thank all of you for assisting our priests in leading the people of this local Church of Lansing in their acts of thanksgiving and praise of our God. I have often told parish musicians that everything you do is like another homily or instruction. Thus the words we use in our songs and hymns and inspired songs are of critical importance.
Thus, if we are singing hymns which glorify ourselves or what we do rather than give God the glory, then we clearly are not heeding Psalm 115: “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory.” If we sing and celebrate that somehow we create the Church or our salvation or the goodness of the world rather than acknowledge God as the source of all and in comparison we are nothing, then we clearly are not heeding Psalm 144: “Lord, what is man that you care for him, mortal man, that you keep him in mind; man, who is merely a breath, whose life fades like a passing shadow?” In short, if we celebrate ourselves rather than our God, then we clearly are not heeding Psalm 146: “My soul, give praise to the Lord…make music to my God while I live. Put no trust in princes, in mortal man in whom there is no help. Take their breath, they return to clay and their plans that day come to nothing.”
Yes, you have a singular, vital, formative role in our Church. If it is true that Lex orandi, lex credendi, then your assistance in the life of prayer which we live out each weekend in our parishes, is truly formative of the faith of our people. This also means that you bear an awesome burden—do not teach wrongly, do not teach idly, do not teach carelessly; rather teach in season and out the great truths of our faith. We preachers need you song-preachers to assist us.
For this to happen you must let the word dwell in you richly. This is the first and most important part of your ministry. To live in and with the Word of God. It is only out of that abiding with Jesus that any of us can presume to speak about the word.
Secondly, know well the Church, that bride of Christ for whom Christ shed his blood and to whom he gave that outpoured blood and his broken body as food.
Now to do both of these things may require of you some more work. It is not enough that you may be skilled and technically proficient in your tasks. You need also to breathe and know Christ and his body, the Church. First of all, pray, pray, pray—know Jesus, know our Heavenly Father, know the Holy Spirit. In addition, then, read, take courses, become certified. Do whatever is necessary that you may more effectively proclaim this faith. For then you will truly be doing all in the Name of the Lord Jesus and thus giving Thanks to God.
God bless you all.
Catechism #302-314

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Prelude: Ich Ruf Zu Dir (JSB, Orgelbuechlein)
Entrance: Let All Mortal Flesh (Picardy)
Offertory: Humbly We Adore Thee (Adoro te Devote)
Communion: Qui Manducat
Jesus My Lord, My God, My All
Choir: Jesus My Lord (J.S.Bach)
Closing: Panis Angelicus (only for Masses without Procession)
Postlude: Christe, do Lamm Gottes (JSB, Orgelbuechlein, only for Masses without Procession)
Exposition: O Salutaris
Procession: Joyful, Joyful (Ode to Joy. We did this last year. I'm not quite sure why. I should remember to change it for next year.)

Look! Me and my favorite new bishop!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Solemn Vespers with Diocesan Music Ministers

Last night was extremely interesting. (Why do I feel like this is the beginning of a diary entry? Dear diary...)
I went with three of my choir members to the cathedral for Solemn Vespers (with the bishop!)
Meeting him was definitely the highlight for me. (I totally ran up to him at the reception afterwards and got my picture with him, and told him that I was so happy he was our new bishop and that I would be praying for him. He probably thinks I'm ridiculous. Especially with the picture part. See facebook...)
Anyhow, I won't say much about the actual ceremony, except for a few things:
It started with "O Radiant Light" (Jesu Dulcis,) sung at a rather um, quick, tempo. (making me wonder once again if the head of music is really clueless about chant. I mean, not to say I'm any expert, but I certainly am never accused of dragging chant!)
There was a variety of chant/music styles for the psalms and prayers, and it concluded with a lovely Salve Regina.
I do want to ask about that, since I have always noticed that there are several places in the traditional chant where people take pauses that are not notated. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? I mean, I've heard it enough to know that those pauses are standard, and where they are. However, last night it was sung precisely as notated. (once again, does the music director simply know how to read music and never actually seen chant in practice?) OR, is singing the Salve Regina exactly as notated a legitimate option?

Mostly however, I want to comment on how wonderful a brief homily our dear bishop gave during the ceremony. I took a few notes, and I think I am going to discuss with my boss the possibility of writing a bulletin article on the event/the homily.
Here's a summary of my brief notes:
He talked about how important a role we musicians have in leading the congregation in prayer through our music. Because of this, the TEXT of what we sing is so important.
He said we should not be singing about how we "create church," but rather we should be praising God in our song. He quoted many different Psalms and showed how they praise God, (and we should follow that example...)
He also said, "Our assistance is truly formative in the life of prayer for the congregation."
We should "teach out of the great Truth of our faith."
It is "not enough to be technically proficient, we need to know Christ."
We need to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! We need to know Jesus, know the Father, know the Spirit, and read.

(I know he said more than that, I was just too busy writing! I never was a very good note-taker. If I actually do end up writing something for it, I'm going to see if I can get an actual copy of what he was reading from.)
Can I just say again how excited I am to have him for a shepherd?!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More on Psalm Tones

I wrote an entry a month or so ago about what to use for Responsorial Psalms.
Many of the comments mentioned setting them to Psalm tones, even though that is not the purpose of Psalm tones, I do like the idea.
Someone said that Liturgical Press has a disposable called "Celebrating the Liturgy" that has the psalms set already set to a Psalm tone.
When I looked at their website, I could only find one called "Celebrating the Eucharist," and the copy of it that I have only seems to have the refrain set to a tone.

Does anyone know of any resources online that has both the verses and the refrain set to a tone?
(and by that I don't necessarily mean transcribed, I mean maybe even just with the + and bold and italics or whatever the little notations are by which one can follow the flex or whatever and choose your own tone. Sort of like "choose your own adventure. remember those? yeah, they were awesome...)
Otherwise, I will have to write my own if I want anyone besides myself to sing it...
I want to try doing this a little more this summer, and see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

recordings of Communion Antiphon

I do believe that it is quite possible to learn chant mainly by ear. Isn't that what the monks did for a thousand years?
Therefore, I will begin an experiment in a week and a half that will hopefully begin to be the standard by recording the communion antiphons every week, and those who wish to sing them may learn them and practice before Mass.
I don't know how it will go; however, it does seem to me that one just has to listen to something a hundred times and then one will be able to sing it perfectly!
I will provide my choir with the recordings, and the sheet music, either from photocopies of Communio, or if this works out, then from the actual book, or even thinking really far ahead to the Gregorian Missal! (to incorporate this to other parts of the Mass!)
[which, by the way, Fr. G just told me that he is in the process of obtaining for me a Liber Usualis! yay! omg!]
Feel free to criticize my style of interpretation, it certainly is NOT "old Solemnes," but I do not know how to read the St. Gall neumes or whatever, so it is my attempt at combining them! I try to incorporate bits that I learned in my year of singing in a schola with someone who was basing her interpretation off the St. Gall manuscripts (think: Graduale Triplex.)
(we will save the old neumes for another summer...)

here it is:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Holy Trinity

Preludes: (Three Chorale Preludes on the Persons of the Trinity)
Gott der Vater Wohn Uns Bei (Samuel Scheidt)
Christe, du Lamm Gottes (J.S. Bach, Orgelbuechlein)
Komm, Heiliger Geist (F. Zachau)
(for some reason I am super excited about these preludes. I think I have very cleverly chosen them! However, the irony is that I doubt anyone will notice. First of all, I am sure not a single person in the congregation even knows the tune of any of those three German chorales, and I would even be surprised if anyone noticed, "hey, she just played three different little songs! I wonder if that has any significance!")
Open: Holy, Holy Holy (Nicaea)
Gifts: Sing of Mary (Pleading Savior, last verse is a doxology)
Communion: Benedicimus Deum
Sing Praise to Our Creator (Gott Vater Sei Gepriesen)
Choir: How Wonderful the Three in One (Prospect)
Close: All Hail Adored Trinity (Old Hundredth)
Postlude: Prelude in C (JSB, and no, I have no idea which one. It's just in some collection that I have of various composers and periods.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Pentecost A

Prelude: Veni Creator (Lachenauer)
Open: Fire of God (Nun Komm)
Sequence: Veni Sancte (in English) (only on Sunday)
Gifts: Sing We of the Blessed Mother (Hymn to Joy)
Communion: Ultimo festivitatis, or Factus est repente
O Breathe on Me o Breath of God (St. Columba)
Choir: Veni Creator (some verses English, some Latin)
Close: Come Holy Ghost (Lambillotte)
Postlude: Komm Gott Shoepfer Heiliger Geist (Bach, Orgelbuechlein)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ascension A

Prelude: All Glory Be (R. Haan)
Open: A Hymn of Glory (Lasst Uns)
Offertory: Hail the Day (Llanfair)
or Sing of Mary (Pleading Saviour)
choir ladies if they can pull it off in rehearsing before Mass: Ascendit Deus (Rossini) (if they do, then I am admittedly quite nervous about this one...)
Communion: (proper Communion chant)
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
Choir: Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All (J.S. Bach. I have no idea what the German is.)
Close: Go to the World (vs. 1 & 2) (Sine Nomine)
Postlude: All Glory Be (R. Haan, same as prelude, just full reg. and only the IV movement)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

there are only FOUR places...

there are only 4 places during Mass where the priest is supposed to "turn and face the people."
Does anyone know exactly which places they are?