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?!

No comments: