Saturday, June 02, 2012

Church hopping

Since my once-a-month free Sunday is quickly approaching again, I figure that I had better write a review on my church experience from last month!

I had the privilege of going to Mary Queen of Peace, which is a lovely church with a great pastor and an excellent music director (and organist who played a fabulous prelude and postlude) who really understands some of the sacred music concepts. They are lucky to have a part-professional choir, which of course allows them to do some very difficult choral pieces with relative ease.

Luckily, they print all of the music in the bulletin, so I am able to refresh my memory with that. Unlike some people who think that chant/Latin are the SOLE ideals, there was a very pleasant mixture of chant, Latin, hymns, English antiphons, and choral pieces.

I will start off with my single complaint-
The Introit was the proper (English translated) text set to "Duke Street" with four verses. My opinion about the Introit is that if anything is chanted, it should be, since the way something is begun sets the pace for the entire thing, and it should not require the congregation to sing the majority of it, so that they are able to look up and watch the procession, which is a very cool thing if done with all the smells, bells, and whistles. So, singing a new text to a familiar tune in a "marching" style is not ideal for that, I think. There was a cool instrumental interlude between some of the verses, so that was nice.

Oh, then my other sort-of complaint was just that silly "O Mary we crown thee..." song that is far too high for any congregation to sing, and is so schmaltzy that it sounds like it's straight out of a black and white movie. (Nothing against black and white movies; I just don't think most of their music is suitable for Mass!)
However, pretty much every Catholic thinks, "But we've always sung this song at May Crowning!" {eyeroll}

The choir sang a neat piece for offertory, and then I was thrilled to look in the bulletin and see that the choral Agnus Dei was the one written by my buddy Dan Knaggs, "Missa Sancti Ioannis Apostoli!"
Then, (while I don't explicitly remember this, although the bulletin tells me it occurred,) the proper Communion chant was sung, followed by the Communion antiphon in the style which has been very encouraged by the bishop in this diocese (and I approve,) with singable antiphon, short enough to easily memorize and sing without looking at the page, alternating with psalm verses and/or instrumental pieces.
Then the closing was the suitable "Regina Caeli."

A very enjoyable and reverent liturgy; if I didn't have other Sunday morning occupations, I would certainly consider making this parish my home!

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