Tuesday, December 30, 2008

this morning (edited)

Mara just had a ridiculous morning.

after hearing yesterday that some of the canons regular of sjc were coming into ann arbor, and wanted suggestions on places to visit, I found out at 8:45 am this morning they were going to say Mass at St. P. in 20 minutes.
(I won't tell you exactly what I was doing at 8:45 am, but let me just say it was a feat that I can not recreate that I arrived at St. P approximately 14 minutes after getting off the phone!)

The priest said a low mass, and then Fr. G, myself, their priest, and 8 brothers went out to the flim flam for breakfast. (I have never been out to breakfast with that many guys in cassocks and collars, and I probably never will again. tee hee.)

I guess that's the most ridiculous part of the story, but it was quite fun. especially hearing Fr. G. tell them some of his quite exciting stories from when he first arrived at St. P, and then laughing over them!

I should have waited before typing this post! The day was not yet done! Just as I was getting ready to put my leftover pasta in the microwave for dinner (yum,) I received a phone call from Fr. G asking me where we should tell the Canons to go /slash/ take them to dinner. After a great deal of discussion ranging from Qdoba to Coney Island to Buffalo Wild Wings, (I found the thought of the brothers sitting in a sports bar with way too many huge tvs to be hilarious!) we settled on the famous Blimpy Burger! you can't go to this city without going there! We all met up and drove over there, pretty much filling up the little restaurant. It took some time to explain how BB's works and to get all eleven of us through the line, but we eventualy had delicious burgers and fried veggies which subtracted ten years from each of our lives.

Fr. G. had to leave to get ready for Mass early, but one of the brothers mentioned to me that he had suggested the law quad as a neat place to see. I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had forgotten that as being fabulous architecture that the brothers would be interested in, and we were only two blocks away! After firmly warning them that there was a good chance it wouldn't even be open due to the holidays, and that they probably wouldn't see much anyhow because it was quite dark, we trekked over there. Sure enough, it was locked, but after I explained the size of the room and they could see the windows on the outside, they were rather impressed. We trotted back (trotted: because by this point we were quite cold,) back to our vehicles and wished one another well, and will hopefully (probably, as my life seems to go,) to see each other again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas was...beautiful

of course, I know that my perspective from my perch is possibly a bit skewed...
but at the very least I ought to summarize the past 36 hours as historical interest:

an hour before the Christmas Vigil Mass, as I was just about to begin rehearsing the children's choir, I heard...water dripping.
"Is that...water dripping?"
"I was just about to ask that..." replied the harpist.
Sure enough, water appears to be dripping down behind the organ (from the bell tower above it,) and onto the organ's reservoir! argh!
In a panic, I called Fr. G, who of course resoponded, "well, I can't really do anything about it cuz I'm not there right now, and come to think of it, when I do get there in half an hour I won't be able to do anything either..."
(keep in mind, that earlier this week the real feel temp was negative thirty degrees, so to even have rain on Christmas Eve is, well, welcome to Michigan.)
Someone helped me by getting some large trash bags to put over the organ and file cabinets. (wherever the water was coming from was so high up that it was quite spread out by the time it got down to the loft, so it wasn't just going to one small spot.)
As typical Michigan weather goes, the temperature dropped twenty degrees just during Mass, so hopefully I won't have to deal with this again until it thaws...which might be tomorrow. argh.
It was just the...perfect timing of this happening on Christmas Eve.

Anyhow, the MUSIC then went fabulously. the choir (small as it was,) sounded pretty good, and the harp playing arpeggios along with the sustained chords of the organ on the carols was lovely.

Following Mass, with a few friends (including my sister,) we had a polish/slavic traditional sort of Christmas Eve dinner, complete with mushroom soup, pierogies, beets, rolls, pastries, and of course some kind of flat bread with honey on it (which was actually an unconsecrated priest-host which I obtained from the sacristy, ahem...) [I have been americanized enough to not know the name of all of these polish/lithuanian dishes...]

Then of course it was back to the church for 9:30 pm rehearsal for 10:3o pm carols and 11 pm "midnight mass."
(I had been informed 2 weeks ago that one of my newer choir members is an accomplished violinst, so, even though she's from Germany and didn't really know any of our carols, I threw some violin and descant parts at her 5 days ago, and she pulled them off wonderfully!)
I had probably the largest choir I've had since I've been at St. P for 2.5 years, they were overflowing off the normal but rather small space they sing from, let's see, I'm counting...I think 15! wow!
Contrary to what many people at the NLM and other places think, I do NOT think that Christmas is good time to be adding new and unusual things to Mass, so we didn't even do some of the things we've been doing for the past several months like chanting the entrance antiphon (in English.) It was pretty much straight carols, except for the group of ladies and myself who have been singing the proper Communion chant first thing at Communion for almost a year. And the choir sang a three-part arrangement of Bach's "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light," which we've been working on for probably a month, and that was beautiful. (Actually, I couldn't bear to have them sing it just once after all our hard work, so we sang it as the second Offertory song, first once really soft, and then again a bit louder.) Then at Communion we also sang an anthem arrangement (3-part) of "Infant Holy."
Nothing I would do differently, except somehow I planned one too many carols before Mass, so we had to leave out "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," which I actually really like.
I was home by 12:30 or so, and calculated that I could sleep til 7 am (for 8 am Mass,) and get to church by 7:35. (I live closer than I've ever lived before to church--I can get there in 8 minutes sometimes!) So I actually felt better all Christmas Day than I have for the past 3 years, really cuz that extra half hour or so of sleep compared to past years.
anyhow, enough about my sleep habits. St. P is one of the very few churches I've heard of (actually, I'm not sure I've heard of any others, but then I haven't really looked,) who celebrate all four Christmas Masses, (vigil, midnight, dawn, and day.) and while every year Fr. G and I are like, "why do we have an 8 am Mass on Christmas morning?" and sure enough only about 75 people come, I still think it's cool that we have all four Masses.
So for the first Mass in the morning, it was just me as organist and cantor, nothing special.

then, for 10:30 am Mass, everyone was in for a treat. Four of my friends, (actually, I've gotten to know them all during the past few months through my new roommate as of September,) all normally sing at and attend other churches either in Detroit or away at grad school, but their families all go to St. P. So...for Christmas one of them had suggested to me the idea a couple months ago of all singing at St. P together, and singing some cool stuff, cuz they're all decent musicians.
They all knew Victoria's "O Magnum" and "Lo How a Rose" and I introduced them to Tallis' "O Nata Lux." (I didn't realize before that the O Nata was in five parts! good thing I was there--I sang the counter tenor part. tee hee, --minus the low D!)
We sang all three as preludes, then we sang "O Magnum" as a second Offertory song, and "Lo" again at Communion. It was ....beautiful. As Fr. G described it afterwards, we didn't just sing, we sang with...love.
(I don't know if anyone can access this, but here is a facebook link to O Magnum http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=41856631934 --I didn't know it was being recorded, and the blend is a bit distorted b/c of the position of the recording device.)
And it was fun, cuz they're all friends!

then off to my Grandma's to eat a wonderful dinner and open presents with the whole immediate family and some of the extended family.
A very lovely Christmas, I must say.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

an interesting quote from Fr. Z

"Some of the sourest people I have ever met are on the traditional side of the fence. Sadly, the traditional thing attracts people who are only happy when they are unhappy."

Why on earth? that doesn't make sense...and yet, I have found it seems too often true in my own life with those I have met!

from http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/12/catholic-herald-bp-conry-arundel-brighton-speaks-out/

Thursday, December 18, 2008


blogging has been light as of late...(partly due to the fact that I've discovered "the forum.")

and, note that Christmas is a week away, so blogging comes in quick spurts while I'm eating dinner before choir rehearsal!

at some point, I want to write a post on how I wish I could wear a head covering (maybe not while I'm at work in the choir loft, but for daily Mass at any of the 4 places I regularly attend.)
but I don't...because I am afraid of what people would think of me...of being judged.
once I wear a headcovering (except to a few select churches where it is completely acceptable which are far away,) then I am afraid of being lumped into the group of "oh, Mara is one of those...super-traditionalists!"

at one place I like to attend daily Mass, everyone receives communion on a prie-deux (sp?) and on the tongue. while there are several reasons I do NOT like going to this place, I LOVE that that is the NORM and no one will judge you or think you're weird for receiving communion in that way!

ok, maybe that was enough of a post to elicit some feedback!

4 Advent B

for 10:30 unless noted:

open: entrance antiphon (english, to psalm tone)
other masses: Creator of the Stars
Offertory: Sing of Mary (Pleading Saviour)
Ave Maria (chant)
Communion: Ecce Virgo
choir: Divinum Mysterium/Lo How A Rose (arr. sjmp)
O Come O Come Emmanuel
close: People Look East

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I saw a license plate yesterday that was "OREMUS1"

Friday, December 12, 2008

An advent wreath is not a wheel that needs the lugnuts put back on

...and therefore should be lit in the proper order.

and what might that be?
seemingly not random, which would be, "oh let's light this purple one, and then how about the across from it, and then oh yes we have to light the pink one now, and then i guess we have to light the one all the was across from it cuz that's all that's left."

nooo...we need...some semblance of order.
if you start with the one directly across from the pink one, then it doesn't matter which direction you go, you'll always light the one next to it! (assumming you keep going in the same direction.)
that is nice and orderly.

it seems perfectly reasonable to me, except that both of the churches I have been in recently light it randomly! (starting with one next to the pink candle, then lighting directly across from that.)

is there any logic to this that I am unaware of? A reason for doing it in that order?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2 Advent B

After getting less than positive responses on the music a few weeks ago, (and feeling extremely uncomfortable with it myself,) I think I have come to find a happier median for the music at Mass, particularly regarding my struggles to do what I believe the Church wants us to, while helping people to participate exteriorly to the degree that they want.

here's what the music at St. P has been looking like recently, specifically this upcoming weekend:
music for 10:30 am (unless otherwise noted)

Entrance: "People of Zion" (to the same Gloria Patri tone we have been using.)
(other Masses: Creator of the Stars [Creator Alma])
Psalm sung to simple psalm tone
chant Alleluia
Offertory: The King Shall Come (Morning Song) followed by (at 10:30 only...)
"Show us Lord your mercy, and grant us your salvation" to a psalm tone alternating with verses
chant English Sanctus
chant (to psalm tone) "When we eat..."
two-tone Amen
chant English Our Father
simple Latin Agnus Dei
Communion: Ierusalem Surge
O Come Divine Messiah (Venez, Divin Messie)
Choral Anthem: On Jordan's Bank (by sjmp)
Recessional: Savior of the Nations (Nun Komm)