Saturday, January 30, 2010

church musicians query?

so... during church, when you are playing/singing a particularly beautiful piece of music, and every once in a while (but always perfectly on cue,) a little kid starts to have a temper tantrum somewhere in the church--do any other church musicians ever get the urge to either seriously strangle the above-mentioned child, or else at the very least, to scream "shut up!" from the choir loft?

oh yes... it is very tempting once in a while...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the wisdom of the Bible...

from Nehemiah (the first reading for tonight and tomorrow)

""Go your way, eat fatty meat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

I first saw it in the Communion Antiphon (which we only do this particular one once every 3 years, so I had neve seen it before,) and laughed out loud.

however the translation for the first reading is LAME-O! It doesn't even mention says something like "drink sweet stuff." yeah, whatever. Go read the RSV. We all know the NAB is it's trying to hide the fact that we're *supposed* to drink wine to celebrate the day of the Lord!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the story of how I *almost* held the door for the archbishop...

alright, never fear, my (three) regular readers, I have not given up blogging!
I just sometimes feel like I have nothing to write.
However, TODAY, I do!

so, to start at the beginning of the story, I may have mentioned this in an entry before, but now it's official. I will be doing an internship at the seminary with the music director there this semester, AND getting credit for this! (no one at either institution seems to know what to do with me, since apparently this arrangement has not been done before, but today went well. I filed a ton of music, and there is lots more to organize-which I love doing, warmed up the seminarian schola, then observed their rehearsal. I am also planning on doing more there like talking to the director and getting ideas and observations.) Of course, it doesn't hurt to make friends with nice young men who will possibly be your future employer some day! :-P was my first day. Everyone was talking about this special vespers service that would be done tonight for bishop so-and-so who is leaving, and I thought it might be interesting to stay for that, but I knew that would involve me getting no dinner before my own choir rehearsal (which I am eating now.) Plus, I wasn't sure if it would be like me and 100 priests and seminarians, or if this was a more general open-to-the-public thing.

So there are priests everywhere, and as I'm walking out the front door to go home (and eat dinner) about 15 minutes before it starts, two priests are approaching me coming inside, and one of them has a suitcase-with-wheels type thing, so I figured I should probably hold the door for him, but then it was a little weird because right behind me there was a man and a woman leaving, so I figured I should hold the door for *them* too, but they, as people naturally do, took the door from me and held it for the priests. THEN they greeted the priests and addressed the one as archbishop! (duh! I should have guessed it! I knew he looked familiar!) So once the priest and archbishop were safely inside, the man and woman and I continued walking to our cars; one teased the other, "oh I should have let *you* hold the door for the archbishop!" And so I couldn't resist turning around and teasing them both, "Oh but you know really *I* should have been the one to hold the door for him!" and we all laughed.

So that made me smile the whole way home through rush-hour-highway-city traffic. (yay.)

It is funny; driving in, I even had a conscious thought, "now what if I see the archbishop?! I'm not even sure I would recognize him!" haha, what are the chances?

Monday, January 18, 2010


I've been thinking about this blog lately, or, rather, I haven't been thinking about this blog lately.

It's like... I have no new thoughts on liturgy or music.

I feel as though I'm just coming out of a really incredible journey (in a sense) from this stage of my life. I would say it started probably in... 2006 sometime? What I mean by a journey is, that I've been through all of these phases and wondering all sorts of questions and talking to lots of people and reading tons and trying to figure everything out about (wait for it...) the perfect liturgy and how music relates to it.

But I feel like I've kind of explored every nook and cranny of this big old room, and I've finally just decided to sit down and curl up by the fire.

In my own mind, I've straightened up some things; realized some are more important than I used to think, others are less important, and that there certainly are negotiable areas. However, I'm certainly not done with my intellectual wanderings, and no doubt I will still continue to change my mind about more things, and discover other things.

But...the whole purpose of this blog (for me) has been to share my questions and my thoughts and observations and rants, and now I feel like these are becoming less and less common, as my own opinions become more steady.

so, yeah. that's all for now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Problem

wow, it's been quite a while since I've written here. My apologies to my (two or three...) regular readers!

Also, a note to those who aren't regular readers: I am fully aware that everything I say on here is completely available to anyone in the world with an internet connection. I have published nothing on here that I would not want ANYone to read. If even the bishop himself were to stumble across my blog, and read things I've written about him, I would not regret anything I have written! So, my apologies to anyone who has been offended by anything I have written. I would hope that if that were to ever occur, people would take the opportunity to engage in intelligent dialogue with me, to determine if there really is any reason for offense.

now, on to business.

my latest thought:

I wonder if I'm beginning to grasp the heart of the difficulty of music in the Catholic Church.
People *want* to sing. The Council of Vatican II instructed to have "active participation" among the faithful, and while there can be a great deal of debate about what that actually means, I am certain that they meant at least *some* level of physically-engaged participation. However, as music goes, they gave us the Graduale Romanum, and put the chants in there as the most highly valued option over hymns! There's no way the congregation is singing that! So they gave us the Graduale Simplex, with simpler, more seasonal responses. (sort of what I do at Offertory, but in Latin, and with different melodies.) Could they truly have intended -as the first choice- to not have the people sing at all at entrance, offertory, and communion? What about what I do as the introit (setting the whole text in English to a solemn psalm tone that stays the same every week.)?
THIS is what I mean by wishing I knew what the "perfect liturgy" would look like...
sometimes I think it would be cool to just hear a schola singing everything, but...people *want* to sing! even if they can't read music! so what to let them, or encourage them, to sing?