Tuesday, November 24, 2009

choosing music

yes, I know that I've written on this before, but this is with a slightly different twist.

So if you read my blog regularly, you know how frustrated I am with the idea of "choosing music" for Mass.

Most people just look at the "theme" of the day, or the readings, and try to find hymns that "match" them.
However, we have been given texts, called the "propers" for the opening, offertory, and communion (and other places,) which most people take no consideration of, and just fill those spaces with whatever they feel like.

If you subscribe to one of the big publishers quarterly magazines, they give a list of song suggestions for all of the places in the Mass, based on the readings or "theme" of the Mass, so that we don't have to look that up ourselves (completely neglecting, however, the role of the Propers...)

For a couple of weird reasons, I've been getting one of these subscriptions for free for the past 3 years (since I've been at St. P,) but I think they've caught me, so they've sent me a bill (which I haven't paid,) so they've stopped sending me the subscription. (fair enough.)

I've reached a point where I'm going to see if I can "survive" without a "Mass-planning guide."

Recently, I have been looking first at the Propers to find hymns that match *them* (very frustrating, since we have very few songs that are, "have mercy on me, Oh God, forgive me, I've sinned..." which seems to be the bulk of the Propers, but, oh well, that is a discussion for another day...) then when I find that I can't really find any of those, I look at my music-planning-guide, and discover that really only a couple of their suggested hymns are appropriate, and of those 3, 2 of them are suggested for 3 consecutive weeks in either direction, so I then do a bit more detective work including looking at the readings myself and trying to think of hymns, looking at the scriptural index's and seeing if they match the propers or the readings, then I might go to a website like canticanova.com to see if they have any suggestions I haven't thought of for a particular Sunday, then if I still have open spaces, I'll pick more of a general hymn like "Praise to the Lord."

So, I think I'm now ready to make the break with my music planning guides.

I have obtained a completely blank notebook, and will now attempt to do most of the grunt work on my own!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I see dead people...

no, I mean, seriously, I do! Like a lot!

(a little lighter entry than I've been writing lately...)

Well, ok, so whenever we have a funeral, the casket is put right beside/underneath the choir loft stairs, so even though I try not to, I can't help but looking right into the face of the deceased as I'm walking down the stairs!

(As I'm looking down and watching the steps so as not to trip, as the stairs curve around, the person is right in my view, below me and just a little to the left.)

It's just a little... weird.
Dead people look weird.
I'm not sure I'll ever get used to them. I know the idea that the funeral home people (or whoever dresses 'em up,) is to make them look like they're sleeping, but they're still always kind of...pale, like I know they have makeup on.

What a weird job I had. I never knew that "not being able to avoid looking at dead people regularly" was in the job description for "church music director."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a change in time

(I wish I had a few more facts for this entry, like names and dates, but I don't, so here goes...)

outside of St. P's, there are two memorials to different pastors of the parish right next the the church.

The first one is a plaque to a pastor from (I think?) around the turn of the 20th century (1900?) or so; it is attached to a statue of Jesus, like the Sacred Heart or something.

The second one is actually the grave of a pastor from the 1970's; it has a (not very attractive) bronze picture/engraving of him on a flat tombstone (I think there might also be like a prayer or some words or something, but I can't remember.)

If you think about it for a moment, the contrast is striking, and very telling.

100 years ago, to memorialize and honor someone, you put up a statue of Jesus.
In the 1980's, to memorialize someone, you put up a statue of...them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

who am i?! (a little rant)

what credentials do I have? like seriously...

a bit of rambling,
I was talking to one of my teachers, and my teacher was talking about a few of the other students, "well, so-and-so is quite a bit older than you, and this other student so-and-so has been working in churches for years, and so-and-so is really experienced in these kind of things we are talking about..."

I'm not entirely sure, but it almost seemed like my teacher was questioning my (just recently expressed loudly) opinions on a couple of things, and the mention of the other students in comparison was to have me listen to their experience.

but as I think about it..well, who the heck am i? what right do i have to any opinions about organ music and church music?

well, even though I'm "only" in my mid-20s, I've been doing music in churches for the past 10 years, and believe me, I've run the line-up from charismatic praise-and-worship music, rock bands (with drums and everything), total folk-groups with just me and a few guitars, standard organ music (think: modern day Catholic, in which I hardly cared about proper texts or rules or anything like that, while playing all the "latest " Haugen/Haas,) playing organ for a Tridentine Mass, to playing in my current situation with hymns, english and latin chants.

I don't have experience? Yes, some people have more than I do, and certainly in years, but I do feel like I have intimately known all of the musical/liturgical experiences which I HAVE had...so don't sniff your nose at me, cuz I'm not sure I even know of anyone else who has had anywhere near my broad range of experience, especially in that short amount of time!

(maybe I'm just being prideful and i really dont know anything...if so, forgive me...)

Friday, November 06, 2009

my 300th post

an interesting article (containing many interesting comments from a side of the fence that I rarely ever listen to,) a website I would never otherwise look at, and a writer that I might occasionally read.