Friday, March 31, 2006
Arranged by John Rutter
FOR THE FORGOTTEN OF
DARFUR AND THE WORLD
4:00 P.M. SUNDAY
APRIL 9, 2006
ST. MARY’S CHURCH
A BENEFIT CONCERT PRESENTED
BY SCHOLA ST. MARY’S,
CHARLES CULBRETH, DIRECTOR
THE MONACHE H.S. CHAMBER SINGERS
SUSAN EVANS, DIRECTOR
CHARLOTTE GARCIA, SOPRANO
MILTON FRIESEN, BARITONE
TRENT BARRY, ORGANIST
MEMBERS OF THE TULARE CO. SYMPHONY
PROCEEDS DONATED TO THE
DARFUR ASSISTANCE PROJECT OF VISALIA
Break a leg Charles!
RUTTER: Toccata in Seven
BUXTEHUDE: Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist
MENDELSSOHN: Prelude in G Major
HINDEMITH: Ruhig bewegt (Sonata II)
DURUFLE: Prelude sur l'Introit de l'Epiphanie
LOCKLAIR: "The peace may be exchanged." (RUBRICS)
BACH: Prelude and Fugue in D Major (BWV 532)
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Curt Jester has invented a cool way for you to decide which Mass you will want to attend, and at which parish. Mass can now be just as fun as going to the movies - maybe. And attending the RIGHT Mass may result in far more blessings than attending the wrong Mass.
Here is the rating system, as described by Jeff Miller, the "jester" himself:
G -- Genuflect Audiences
TL- Tridentine Latin
LV- Missa Normativa Latin/Vernacular (probably Latin or "hybrid", like on EWTN)
V -- Missa Normativa Vernacular
PG- Progressive Audiences (pictured above)
H -- Heretical
S -- Schismatic
There are the TV-like ratings too. (Like those TV-Y, TV-14, etc.)
R -- Reverential
I -- Ill-reverential
D -- Dialog (when the word "Dialog" is used more than ten times in a homily)
T -- Bad theological situations
H -- Hand Holding (Our Father) I have a solution for that!
O -- Rubrics optional
C -- Gregorian chant
Y8- No hymns published before 1980
F -- Feminist inclusive language situations
The post is old (February 2005), but I just stumbled on it today and found it hilarious. Typical Curt Jester style!
Next thing to happen would be the old "drive-in intermission" after the homily, where someone announces the coffee hour in the snack bar downstairs in a 1950's commercial tone of voice!
Psalm 51: Michel Guimont
Psalm 130 (9:30): Gelineau
Gospel Acclamation: chant
Offertory Hymn: Unless a Grain of Wheat
Anthem (9:30): De Profundis -- Christoph Willibald von Gluck
Mem. Acc. B: chant
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion Hymn: Take and Eat
Anthem (9:30): Hush! Somebody's Callin' My Name -- Spiritual, arr. Brazeal Dennard
Recessional: The Glory of These Forty Days / ERHALT UNS HERR
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I thank the good Lord that some churches still have those beautiful altar rails. I can name a few in my own diocese, albeit most of them are not in use. Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception (my aunt's parish), a historic church in Pawtucket, RI, has a beautiful altar rail with an angel statue popping up about every 3 to 4 feet. Precious Blood (where I was music director for eight years), a French-Canadian parish in Woonsocket, RI, has a nice marble rail. As does Saint Joseph (where I made my First Communion), a Polish parish in Central Falls, RI.
Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence, where I was organist and music director for four years, has a wooden rail (replacing a marble one that was destroyed by a fire in the mid 1960's), but will have a marble one installed by 2008. Holy Name still uses its altar rail, as it is the ONLY parish in Rhode Island with a diocesan-approved Indult (Tridentine) Mass.
Dr. Phil Blosser, the Pertinacious Papist, has more on this topic. My condolensces to Dr. Phil, btw, and his son Christopher, on the loss of their adopted brother/uncle.
I now present to you Assignment Christus Vincit II. This time it's an episode of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I'll supply the good and the bad. What I'm looking for is the ugly. The ugly usually requires some scenario involving the bad. Anyways, the best "ugly" scenario to the following not only get used and credited to whoever posted it to me, but he/she will get his/her blog/podcast/website promo'd as well.
This is Churches under construction sequel edition of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Hat tip to Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed for the Good and the Bad.
This is in Alaska, believe it or not. St. Andrew Church in Eagle River, AK. Gerald reports thus:
"They will not have carpet. The musicians will not be in the sanctuary. They will have statues and stained glass windows, and many other positive things. Maybe it's because they simply call themselves a parish."
This is St. Theresa's Stadium, uh, Church, in Tuckertown, NJ. Here is what some people had to say about this roundhouse:
"It looks like a 50s burger joint." - Father Erik J. Richtsteig
"It reminds me of the Roman Colosseum; wonder if they'll feed our true beliefs to the lions of multiculturalism." - Jose
"Baseball has been played in buildings like that - called 'domed stadiums'." - (yours truly)
"'Future home of the Catholic Church Hall of Fame', or better, 'Future site of the 2007 Catholic Church All-Star Game'." - my son Chris
BTW, the ushers will be selling season tickets right after Mass.
That's where our readers come in. The best ugly scenario gets mentioned on our next podcast (#23), which airs this Sunday. Therefore, deadline is 11:59 PM EST this Saturday (4/1 - ah! good old April Fools Day, as well as my son Brian's birthday).
YOU ARE AN EXTREME REDNECK IF:
1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.
3. You’ve been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
4. You think a woman who is “out of your league” bowls on a different night.
5. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.
6. Someone in your family died right after saying, “Hey, guys, watch this.”
7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
8. Your wife’s hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
9. Your junior prom offered day care.
10. You think the last words of the “Star-Spangled Banner” are “Gentlemen, start your engines.”
11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
12. The Halloween Pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.
15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
16. You can’t get married to your sweetheart because there’s a law against it.
17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.
An East Tennessee* couple, both real-live rednecks, had 9 children. They went to the doctor to see about getting the husband “fixed”. The doctor asked them why, after nine children would they choose to do this. The husband replied that they had read in a recent article that one out of every ten children being born in North America was Mexican and they didn’t want a Mexican baby because neither of them could speak Spanish.
*I inserted "Tennessee" where it says "insert southern state here" so I can razz my wife's "ant" and "unk" who are from East Tennessee.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Brussels, Oct. 19, 2005 (CNA) - According to a new grammar rule in the Netherlands and Belgium, the name "Christ" will soon be written with a lower-case "c", as stipulated by an orthography reform published last Friday.
According to the Kath.net agency, the new spelling rules also will stipulate that the Dutch word for "jews" (joden) be spelled with a capital "J" when referring to nationality and with a lower-case "j" when referring to the religion. The changes will be mandatory starting in August 2006.
Monday, March 27, 2006
9. Homemade guitar made of a shoebox, rubber bands, and paper towel roll (tissue box and a few flimsy wood pieces like as shown above can count too)
6. Candles (There was an episode on Saturday Night Live in its early years where a guy would bellow out the song Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by placing his hand over different lit candles, resulting in an "ah", maybe "ow" in a different pitch)
5. Jaws Harp
3. Coke Bottles
2. Hawaiian Nose Hum (George Carlin makes mention of this in his 1972 Class Clown album)
AND THE NUMBER ONE LEAST POPULAR MASS INSTRUMENT (besides guitar):
1. Schroeder's Toy Piano
As posted by Matt at the Catholic Sphere:
"No, it’s not some indecent confession. It’s the latest in iPod accessories: a hybrid toilet paper dispenser/iPod dock. Now, you might be caught with your pants down, but never without your tunes!"
Sunday, March 26, 2006
It should be noted that all three of us on the Christus Vincit blogging team have some sort of facial hair. ;-)
BMP (who had to start shaving at age 11)
APRIL 2, 2006 - V LENT
Saturday 4:30 / Sunday 7:30, 9, 10:30
Introit: KING'S WESTON - At the name of Jesus (Music Issue, #742)
Penitential Rite: Parrot the celebrant
Psalm 51: Alstott - Create a clean heart, a clean heart in me, O God (Missalette, page 85)
Gospel Acclamation: Tone 2 - Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory
Offertory: Mode I - Parce, Domine (Missalette, #117)
Sanctus through Agnus Dei: same as previous Sundays of Lent
- (except 10:30): Batastini/Berthier - Eat this bread (Music Issue, #346)
- (10:30 only): Peloquin - A Great Harvest
Recessional: ST. AGNES - Jesus, the very thought of you (Music Issue, #717)
Friday, March 24, 2006
Now you can hear the talk given by Mrs. Hitchcock in its entirety on iPadre Catholic Podcasting, which is hosted by Fr. Jay Finelli, my pastor and boss. It's Episode #15. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
I for one always thought "a cappella" was supposed to be spelled "a capella". But, according to this editorial from The Catholic Choirmaster (a 1933 issue edited by Nicola A. Montani), here's the difference:
If one is considering a soloist, either male or female, who with a theatrical "tremolo" wishes to give greater expression(?) to his or her performance, even accompanied by a most capable orchestra, one must perforce write "a capella," which translated from the Latin means "rendered by a goat," or "in the manner of a goat."
But if one is treating of a choral body interpreting a beautiful piece of music in the Palestrinian style without accompaniment (even of the organ), it is necessary to write "A Cappella" because historically this term was applied to those compositions rendered by choristers vested in the "Cappa" or singer's cape.
Hat tip to Musica Sacra
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - arr. by Gustav Holst
This is the arrangement I learned as an 11-year-old tenor in a (can you believe - Catholic) choir of men and boys directed by Reuel Gifford. Yes, I did say tenor! Back then I had never even heard of the hymn, let alone the choral arrangement. Now, as many musicians know, the hymn tune of choice is the French tune, PICARDY. The text comes from the 4th Century Liturgy of Saint James. Many probably know the arranger of this edition I'm reviewing - Gustav Holst - as composer of The Planets, and the hymntune THAXTED (which is Jupiter in The Planets).
The Holst arrangement is for SATB with accompaniment. It calls for piano, but sounds really good on the organ. The end result is quite mysterious, especially in the beginning. Don't rush it. I've heard the basic hymn itself often played at quarter note=120 or more. Take this one at 100 or less (preferably less - maybe low to mid 90's - tops!).
You start with a group of sopranos or a soprano solo (if you have a boychoir, a solo treble would sound really nice). Keep the organ light - probably a very soft string celeste, no pedal.
The second verse is sung by a baritone or group of baritones. The organ takes a bit of a deeper, darker tone here (add 8' flute or geigen to existing registration). Here you could use a well-blending 16' pedal on the bottom note. The excitement builds on the organ with the last line of the verse: his own self for heav'nly food.
Then boom! The third verse is sung a capella (less a near staccato quarter note chord on the very first beat of the verse). It starts as an SAAT harmony (yes, the alto section divides and the bass section sits out the first couple of lines), then goes into SATB. You start to hear the organ on the last few bars.
Now, the final verse. You start in unison, and start playing on brighter stops. I start with 8' and 4' principals here. Get the 2' ready for them triplets in the accompaniment that follows "as with ceaseless voice they cry" (on that line, you should have your choir build a nice crescendo). Then the climaxing Lord, most high! Here I add the mixture, and then the chorus reed for the two Amens that follow.
To this day, thirty years later, I'm still stuck to the Holst arrangement. It's in E-minor. Personally, I won't use this as a "basic" hymn with just a cantor, because of its high pitch. But as a choral piece with or without congregation, this octavo is a must have. It's published by Galaxy Music Company of New York.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Psalm 137: R & A
Psalm 23 (9:30): Gelineau
Gospel Acclamation: chant
Offertory Hymn: I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light / HOUSTON
Anthem (9:30): The Lord is My Shepherd -- John Rutter
Mem. Acc. B.: chant, arr NFB
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion Hymn: Amazing Grace / NEW BRITAIN
Anthem (9:30): I Will Arise -- American Folk Tune, arr. Austin Lovelace (I want to do the Shaw/Parker arrangement, but they had Lovelace's arr. in the library, so we'll use that for now)
Recessional: Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days / ST. FLAVIAN
Thee We Adore – T. Frederick H. Candlyn
This anthem is, of course, a choral adaptation of the Latin chant Adoro te Devote, and is a fine addition to the liturgies of Holy Thursday, and Corpus Christi.
T. Frederick H. Candlyn (1892-1964) was English by birth, and was the Choirmaster at St. Thomas – Fifth Avenue, New York City, being the immediate successor to the famous T. Tertius Noble.
Candlyn beautifully orchestrates the chant into metrical singing, and the introduction of the accompaniment is a perfect location to solo a 4’ flute over some slushy celestes. The tenors and basses begin in unison with the first verse, in unison. A brief interlude, then the sopranos take over with verse 2. After a modulation and registration change (and waking up the altos who have been asleep for the first 3 pages…), we arrive at verse three, where the chant melody is in the tenor, while the other three voices soar around it in gorgeous harmony. It is important to note that the organ accompaniment truly lets the chant have precedence: a fair portion of the anthem is a cappella; the organ provides interludes and “mini-versets”, if you will, after each phrase. For verse four, the organ modulates back to the original key, and the entire choir sings the chant in unison, save for 2 measures, and accompanied by the organ. Candlyn’s work is a true gem worthy of the repertoire of any choir that relishes and thrives on fine anthems.
Thee We Adore is published by Carl Fischer, #CM492. It has been recorded by the choirs of Grace Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina on the album “A Land of Pure Delight”, available from ProOrgano, #CD-7173, with organist-choirmaster J. Scott Bennett conducting.
Nicholas F. Basehore, B.Mus
Director of Liturgical Music
The Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Pretty soon, the cell phone will be the new instrument of choice at Holy Mass, if some have their way. But thankfully, our favorite bomb, the B16, is here. So, that won't happen! :)
I would like to order the following:
1. Mode V Ave Verum
2. Mode VIII Veni Creator
3. Mode VI Ubi Caritas
4. Mode III Pange Lingua
5. Mode V Divinum Mysterium (for Christmas, er, "the holidays")
Check this article out!
Pope’s upcoming Apostolic Exhortation likely to call for increased liturgical solemnity, reintegration of Latin (I must inform you that this is contrary to the modern teachings of certain "professional" organizations and of certain "Catholic" publishers.)
Hat tips to Cantate Deo and The New Liturgical Movement!
Monday, March 20, 2006
K-tel is making a marketing comeback with this new Catholic collection - Music for the APEX Catholic. Twenty great cuts, all for that APEX Catholic in your life.
Check these out:
1. Long Time, No See, God (sequel to "Hi God")
2. Hi There, Stranger
3. I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!
4. It's Too Crowded Here
5. Beatin' the Traffic (this one is almost Spiritual-like)
6. Let's Lift Up Our Hymnals and Not Sing a Note
7. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ (a sequel to MMM MMM MMM MMM by the Crash Test Dummies)
8. The Post-Communion-Out-the-Door Trot
9. Here I Am, Lord (And I'll be back at Christmas)
10. I'm Missing the Game
11. The Faces Have Changed
12. Get the Jaws of Life, I Need A Seat
13. The Highway's One Foundation is traffic leaving Mass!
14. Joyful, Joyful is our exit, with Communion on our tongues.
15. Let Us Race All Together out the Door
PLUS BONUS CUTS:
16. Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing... NOT!
17. Eat This Bread, Drink This Cup, Hit the Door Running
18. Here I Am, Lord, What More do You Want?
19. Somebody's Walkin' Out Your Door
20. Leavin' in the Need of Prayer
Some of these cuts may even apply to everyday Catholics. Maybe teach someone a lesson. All selections craftfully sung by that vintage Catholic gospel sensation, the Flip Flops! Order yours today!
Note: Tracks 1-15 compiled by Brian Michael Page. Tracks 16-18 compiled by Jay Ricketts. Tracks 19-20 compiled by Bill Grabbe. This project was done in the early days of our Yahoo Group "Contemporary Catholic Music", back when it was a Yahoo Club. Eventually all Yahoo Clubs became Yahoo Groups. Jay is the group's founder. I am a co-founder.
First, the letter written and sent to Catholic New York by organist/choirmaster David Hughes. Click here to read this well-put letter.
Then, read this take from the composer himself, Michael Joncas, found in OCP's planning guide Today's Liturgy. At the same time, Fr. Joncas doesn't think that certain liturgy documents, namely the IGMR, Liturgiam Authenticam, and Redemptionis Sacramentum, should be taken too seriously. Well, that sounds like some of the posters I know (I won't mention names) on the NPM message boards. They'll take Fr. Funk's brainwashings over the teachings of Holy Mother Church and her authorities. More on that in later posts.
Note: not everyone on the NPM boards are bad. The bad ones, however, outweigh the good in voice and in clout. More later.
What happens when a bunch of churches (many of them beautiful) close in the Archdiocese of Boston? Its remnants get picked up by Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence. Holy Name, of course, was one of my former parishes where I served as music director (1999-2003).
This beautiful pulpit was picked up by Holy Name from the now closed Nuestra Senora del Carmen Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. A Communion rail of the same age (100 years old) and from the same church was also obtained by Holy Name.
The fire that hit Holy Name was not just a few years ago, however, as The Pilot points out. It took place about 40 years ago, in fact. Thankfully, the Roman basilica-style church was rebuildable. The organ was one of the first items to be rebuilt. Originally the entire organ - console and case - was located upstairs in the gallery. It was originally a tracker-action organ, built by Hook and Hastings in 1911.
This picture is the gallery case, less the console. In 1967, William D. Laws, Jr. electrified the gallery case, and also added a chancel case. He also built a new two-manual console up front that could play both cases. His father, William Laws, Sr., had an agreement at the time with the Austin Organ Company, allowing William Jr. to build Austin-style consoles using Austin parts. Unfortunately, the new chancel case consisted of pipes older than the old gallery pipes, as the chancel pipes were mainly used odds and ends from various organs. Some from the field, namely the late organbuilder Paul DeLisle of Fall River, MA, used to refer to William Laws, Jr., as "Butcher Bill" because of that practice of using odds and ends to build a pipe organ. The gallery case still sounds good enough to stand alone, I think.
A beautiful hanging sanctuary lamp from before the fire was restored and is now hanging once again.
Holy Name Church was designed after Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica in Rome. Could be a minor basilica itself someday, but only a Pope can decide that. The parish was established in 1882. Construction on the current church (below) started in 1896 and was completed in 1900.
Holy Name of Jesus Church
The music continues to be very good. Jacob Stott, my successor, has maintained and built upon the music program I left behind, and has done it very well. The parish has a gospel choir for the 9:00 Mass, and the Schola Cantorum sings the 11:00 Tridentine Mass. The parishioners are wonderful also. I've never met Father Santos personally, though via e-mail, he was gracious enough to print my concert promo in their bulletin last Christmas. Father Kevin Fisette was my pastor while I was there, and a wonderful one at that. He was reassigned in July 2004 to St. Leo the Great in nearby Pawtucket, RI. After my first year of service to Holy Name, Fr. Fisette rewarded the parish with some real liturgical bragging rights - dumping disposable hymnals and getting Worship III from GIA, putting a far better repertoire of hymns and Mass settings (ordinary and Psalms) in the hands of its worshippers.
Keep up the good work, Holy Name!
Yesterday's reading from Exodus, the Ten Commandments, had me thinking of this. Now, the second commandment is "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Such is often achieved by taking His name and following it with "damn", "damned", or "damn it". Now, as far as I know, and I'm no theologian, but for Almighty God to damn someone or something is very very very rare.
On the other hand, I'm always thankful to God for many things, matters big and small that have affected my life in a positive way. From the loving family I have to having the slowpoke driving in front of you turn or pull over so I can get up to speed. And for all these things, I thank God, not just "goodness". When you think of it, God IS goodness, and more. So, for all things good, let's "thank God".
St. Augustine's Cathedral
He's also in the middle of this brand spankin' new church building - this is beautiful!
St. Mary's Church, Ridgefield, CT
Kudos, Mr. Menzies, for your fine work! Keep it up!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Saturday: 4:30 PM
Sunday: 7:30, 9, 10:30 AM
At 10:30 Mass, Bishop Tobin will be on hand to bless the new altar for the Blessed Sacrament. I'll get some pictures of it soon. It's almost like a high altar, really. It's behind the main altar, and it houses the Tabernacle. This is the only Sunday in Lent that the Mass chants will be accompanied.
Anyways, all parenthesized numbers are in the Music Issue.
Introit: ERHALT UNS, HERR - Take up your cross, the Savior said (#722)
Penitential Rite: parrot Father (most likely Kyrie XVI)
Psalm: Tone 2 - Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you
Gospel Acclamation: Tone 2 - Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory
Offertory: KINGSFOLD - I heard the voice of Jesus say (#470)
Sanctus through Agnus Dei: same as last week
- (except 10:30): NEW BRITAIN - Amazing grace! how sweet the sound! (#451)
- (10:30 only): Mozart - Ave Verum Corpus
Recessional: ST. AGNES - Jesus, the very thought of you (#717)
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Repeating the words from Nick's milestone post:
CHRISTUS VINCIT! CHRISTUS REGNAT! CHRISTUS IMPERAT!
Why Christus Vincit? QUONIAM CHRISTUS VINCIT SEMPER!
My program will be as follows:
Toccata in D Minor ("Dorian")
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (2 settings)
Vater unser in Himmelreich
Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund
Christ lag in Todesbanden
Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland (from Leipzig/Great Eighteen Chorales)
Air for the G-String (organ/bass duet)
Prelude and Fugue in D Major (BWV 532)
And this is the THREE HUNDREDTH POST on the CHRISTUS VINCIT BLOG!!!
CHRISTUS VINCIT! CHRISTUS REGNAT! CHRISTUS IMPERAT!
Sunday, March 19, 2006, at 4pm
Nicholas F. Basehore, organ
assisted by Raymond M. Matula, contrabass
Cathedral Organist Nicholas F. Basehore will present a program of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, in observance of what would be Bach's 321st birthday. This is Mr. Basehore's first solo performance at the cathedral since becoming Director of Liturgical Music in October 2005. He will be assisted by Raymond Matula of Lititz, his grandfather. Mr. Matula is known throughout the Harrisburg and Lancaster areas as an excellent jazz bassist. As part of the program, they will play a duet. There is no admission fee, however, a suggested donation of $10 may be given at the door.
Kick butt, Nick, and grandpa! (ok, this last missive is from me)
Came across it this morning - just HAD to promote it. ;-)
Friday, March 17, 2006
One does more to restore the sacred.
One does more to promote faithfulness to the liturgy documents as prescribed by the USCCB, BCL, the Vatican, and the Holy See.
One's dues are $60 a year less than the other.
One takes the word of a Vatican Official (e.g., the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments) over the brainwashings of a certain organization's founders, favored publishers, and favored songwriters and liturgist wannabes.
One can handle the Truth!
That "One" is the same person in all five of the above sentences. See if you can guess which one it is. There is only ONE clear choice!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I've been debating on having something like that for three certain snarks who blog here! ;)
The Christus Vincit Snarks Bobbleheads! Coming to a Choir Loft near you!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The Bad: Click Here!
The Ugly: Cantor for either: Shamus O'Reilly (the Christus Vincit Leprechaun)
BTW - in forthcoming Episode #21 (due this coming Sunday), Shamus is hung over from St. Patrick's Day!
And, don't forget to check out our TWENTIETH SHOW, and vote for us on Podcast Alley, if you haven't done so yet this month. (Each month is a new vote!)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
1) the Red Sox
2) whoever beats the Yankees
Long hair, full beard, Sox uniform - GOOD
Short hair, clean shaven, pinstripes - BAD
Kyrie: arr NFB
Psalm 19 (5:30, 7:30, 12:15): Michel Guimont
Psalm 95 (9:30): Michel Guimont
Gospel Acclamation: chant, arr NFB
(9:30) First Scrutiny of The Elect
Offertory Hymn: The Church's One Foundation / AURELIA
Anthem at 9:30: Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts -- Henry Purcell
Mem. Acc. B: arr NFB
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion: Attende Domine (alternate English and Latin)
Anthem at 9:30: As the Hart Longeth -- R. Evan Copley
Recessional: There's a Wideness in God's Mercy / IN BABILONE
Patron of the Diocese of Harrisburg
Titular Saint of the Cathedral Church
Because Saint Patrick is our diocesan patron, the day is raised from the rank of Memorial to the rank of Feast, the vesture is white, and the Gloria is sung.
Entrance: By All Your Saints Still Striving / AURELIA
(a verse for St. Patrick was written by Fr. N. Sullivan, director of the Office of Worship, Diocese of Harrisburg)
Kyrie: adapted from Kyrie IX by NFB
Gloria: Carroll T. Andrews
Psalm 96: Michel Guimont
Gospel Acclamation: chant, arr. NFB
Offertory: Go Make of All Disciples / ELLACOMBE
Mem. Acc. B: adapted by NFB
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion: Lord, When You Came to the Seashore
Recessional: O God Beyond All Praising / THAXTED
"The spiritual impact of zealous priestly leadership and example have been underlined in the long career of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler of the Minneapolis-St Paul Archdiocese, who celebrated his 60th Jubilee of priestly ordination on 30 October 2005 at the Church of St Agnes where he had been parish priest until his retirement in 2001."
While Minnesota is often associated with such things as Haugen/Haas/Joncas and the infamous St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis, one can find beauty in the liturgies on the other side of the Twin Cities, at St. Agnes Church in St. Paul. Much is due to Msgr. Schuler, who not only continued on the tradition of Msgr. Bandas of doing it right, he built on it.
Finish reading the article here.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Courtesy of Shawn Tribe at New Liturgical Movement.
"I do not consider fidelity to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal as a legalistic imposition, nor as simply “following the rubrics.”Rather, our obedience here is an open, public profession that the Eucharist is something which we have received and not something which we ourselves make. It is something which we must hand on in its entirety to our children and grandchildren."
"Our fidelity to the General Instruction is also a daily reminder that the Eucharist is not a “thing” which can be manipulated or played with. The Eucharist is not subject to the whims of those who celebrate it nor those who derive their life from it. The Eucharist is a Person, Jesus Christ, who gives Himself to us that we might participate in His selfsurrender."
The last sentence in the above paragraph is one I deliberately emphasized. I had quite the ongoing argument with one person on a certain message board (who was seeking to abolish Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) that the Eucharist that we receive in Holy Communion IS, of course, Jesus Christ. Should we adore him? Absolutely! He's not just any old piece of food. He needs to be adored and received with the utmost care and love.
"The Church has always been quite insistent that when we celebrate the Eucharist we neither invent it nor do we make it as if from nothing. Rather, it is something we have received, and that “something” is Christ’s own being handed over, so that we can say that every individual celebration of the saving action of the Mass - whether in Holy Family Cathedral or one of our storefront missions - is a participation in the full Paschal Mystery of Christ who is the same “yesterday, today, and always.”"
This re-iterates something that the iPadre has mentioned time and time again in homilies and other talks and columns - that we don't give God the liturgy. We receive it from him.
"It is Christ who allows us to receive this liturgical action and through it to participate in His obediential worship of the Father. The Mass is not something that we do, but something that we receive, and all those who celebrate the Mass, both the celebrant and the congregation, must be conscious that what we have received must in turn be handed over in its entirety to those who come after us."
"...it is absolutely essential that our liturgies be characterized by the kind of openness which can only be created by a deep and genuine silence which will allow the recreating Word of God to be heard in its fullness. By silence, I do not mean the mere avoidance of noise, but a much more profound silence, that deep silence of the heart which promotes an attitude of openness and receptivity to the Word spoken by the Father and proclaimed in the Scriptures. This is the silence which we experienced during Pope John Paul II’s Year of the Eucharist, when we rested in silent adoration each Sunday after Communion."
And for that reason:
"Don’t fill reflective space with music for music’s sake." (- Subtitle of next paragraph)
"There are periods in the liturgy into which silence naturally fits, periods in which silence allows the worshipper to dispose himself or herself to participate in the saving action of the Mass by listening for the voice of God Who speaks to the heart in silence. These periods are specified in the GIRM, and I am asking our pastors and priests to respect the congregation’s need for reflective space in the penitential rite, in the Liturgy of the Word after the first reading and again after the homily and, finally, after Communion."
As a personal practice, this is why I let any visiting priests know (my pastor already knows this) that I deliberately wait for the celebrant to stand before I start intoning the Alleluia (or Lenten replacement thereof). This is my duty in keeping in accord with what the good Bishop has stated above, for priests, and below, for music ministers:
"At the same time, I am asking choir directors, musicians, and liturgy coordinators not to fill those open spaces with music for music’s sake. Let there be silence so that God’s creative and redeeming Word can be heard. Let the Word penetrate the heart and the mind of the pray-er."
God wasn't in a hurry. Why should we be. Silence doesn't necessarily constitute a "dead spot" in the liturgy, unless we've stopped abruptly during incensing at the Offertory. We can make some cool excuses to bring on some sort of silence. We don't have to "intone something" right away. Like the Alleluia, as I mentioned above. Wait for Father to get up. You've created the silence. After the First Reading, wait for the lector to sit down before you start the Psalm. The lector won't sing it for you, don't worry. Many a lector I've met will claim that he/she can't sing in the first place. And a trained lector on Sunday will NOT just READ the Psalm on you. Don't worry. He/she will park his/her tookus. Silence! Nice silence! Shhhhhhhhhhh! Sit! Start Psalm. Let Father sit down in silence after Communion while the server, sacristan, or deacon is "cleaning up the Supper mess", that is, purifying vessels and putting everything back into place. Ahhhhhhhh! Sweet silence! Let us pray.
"I am also asking our people to recover their sense of the sacredness of the sanctuary by refraining from idle conversation in Church before and after Mass. How is it that Christ, the Host of this Sacred Banquet, can invite us as guests to share communion with Him and yet we do not respond? He speaks to us, yet we do not hear Him since we prefer to engage in unnecessary and trivial conversations with those around us. Is there any topic of greater value or of more pressing urgency than His love for us? Let us then be mindful of Who it is who calls us so that we might direct our conversation to Him, in gratitude for his love and with sorrow for our sins."
Some of the biggest pet peeves of mine - those few people who can't even shut their pieholes for two minutes. I have times when I no sooner announce Please join in singing our recessional hymn.... and you have people right around you chit-chatting, in an outdoor voice, mind you! It's like their chit-chat HAS TO OUTBLAST those who are actually trying to sing that last hymn. Another instance that really got me peeved was when one gentleman approached me after the postlude because "the people in the narthex couldn't hear themselves talk". Of course they can't. The narthex at that particular parish was right underneath the gallery pipe case. And, again, it was a postlude. Not exactly something that normally gets limited to strings and celestes, mind you. Ya wanna shoot the breeze, go outside.
"Since it is important to guard this sense of silence, this sense of the sacred, even at times of great joy and after celebrations involving the whole parish, I am asking that pastors exercise reasonable caution after baptisms, confirmations and weddings to ensure that a family’s desire for keepsake photographs does not give way to an attitude which disregards the sacredness of our churches and the Presence - after Mass as well as during Communion - of Him who is the Author of the Sacraments we celebrate."
Yes, and shut the dang cell phones off, too! Matter of fact, take them off "vibrate" while you're at it. Better still, lock it in the glove box of your motor vehicle, and do not take it out until you leave church! The next paragraph or two can be read here. But more follows:
"At this point, too, some mention must be made of the great dis-ease I feel when I see the celebrant at the altar while the cantor or the choir stands arrayed either to his right or to his left. I am uncomfortable when I watch the congregation forced to shift their focus from the celebrant to the singers, and from the singers back to the celebrant, over and over again during the course of the liturgy. This greatly upsets the balance of the Mass between proclamation and response (when our song is our response to what has been proclaimed) by making the response itself something that we have to respond to."
This makes me ask the musical question: What on earth were pastors, musicians, and other wreck-o-vators thinking??? Yes, I'm referring to those who either had new churches built where the music ministry somehow shares the stage with the celebrant, or existing churches where the organ console, piano (why piano?), and choir suddenly get moved downstairs in a new stage, only for a resounding choir loft be left to deteriorate. And that cathedral in Milwaukee --- what happened in there is a crying shame!
"If we have built our churches in such a way that the only place for the choir, the cantor and the musicians is beside or behind the sanctuary, then we face an architectural difficulty which will have to be addressed eventually by architects and designers. But we should be honest enough to acknowledge that the placement of the choir, the cantor and the musicians has proven to be a terrible distraction in many parishes."
The solution at Holy Ghost was an easy one. You see, Holy Ghost was one of those poorly-built churches. A 1987 ediface replacing a nicer one that burned down completely, the choir and musicians, accompanied by only a Kurzweil 250 keyboard (which the director often programmed instead of played live - NOT GOOD), were up front. Our pastor made a very simple solution - trade places with the cry room. So, now the choir is in back (or out west) (the windows to the old cry room, of course, were removed), and the cry room is now a closed room on the south side of the building. Of course, my predecessor gave her notice over it. So, when I came down to audition, the transferral of areas (cry and choir) were still a work in progress. I marvelled at the finished product, which was complete before I started work there. Kurzweil was also removed, replaced by a Rodgers ORGAN.
Music at Mass is simply "sung prayer". Music by the choir is "enhanced sung prayer". What it should NOT be is "concert performance", classical, rock, pop, or otherwise. My predecessor, according to some sources, insisted that when her choir sang at Mass, it was to be thought a "performance". All the more reason to deep-six the "stage". The liturgy documents mention that the choir should be situated in a prominent place, and should be part of the "assembly", or the congregation. The choir is just as much part of the congregation in the loft, and probably more a part of the congregation in the loft, than on stage. In the loft, the choir is facing the altar like everyone else. On stage, they often (not always) face the congregation, thus attracting attention to themselves, many times not realizing such.
Again - why wasn't Bishop Slattery head of the BCL? I'd like to hear more from him.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Saturday at 4:30 / Sunday at 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30
Introit: CRUCIFER - Lift high the cross
Psalm: Proulx/Gelineau - Lord, you have the words of everlasting life
Offertory: KINGSFOLD - I heard the voice of Jesus say
Communion: Deiss - Grant to us, O Lord
Recessional: IN BABILONE - There's a wideness in God's mercy
The rest of the Mass (Ordinary) same as last week's list.
Hat tip to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who says, "I love this guy" (referring to the Bishop). So do I, and I'm only nine states away from his diocese. Similar articles and references have popped up in The Curt Jester, Open Book, Pontifications, Musica Sacra, The Cafeteria is Closed, and Hymnography Unbound. Did I miss any?
“I ask them to pay special attention to the sections devoted to Sacred Music (Chapter 6, 112 – 121) that those who share responsibility in a parish for the implementation of the Council’s liturgical norms might reacquaint themselves with what the Council Fathers actually wrote concerning the requirements of proper liturgical music, and in particular the principle which places the text in importance over the melody, thus acknowledging the primacy of Gregorian Chant among the Church’s musical traditions, not merely from the position of its great venerability and beauty, but also because chant, having no rhythm, never forces the text to be rewritten to fit a specific meter. Chant allows us a certain sacred space within which that Word which God spoke in ancient times can be heard today with greater clarity and fidelity. I understand that this review of music must lead to changes and that changes will often be irksome and problematic. For this reason I would caution that this gradual, but definite, reintroduction of Gregorian chant into our parishes and communities be done with careful study, deliberate consultation and much prayer. However, as a sign of the seriousness with which I approach this topic, I am asking that pastors move with some dispatch to introduce their congregations to the simpler chants of the Kyriale, including the Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei.” (Eastern Oklahoma Catholic March 6, 2006).
“I am also asking our people to recover their sense of the sacredness of the anctuary by refraining from idle conversation in Church before and after Mass.” Or, how about this: “If… our attention is repeatedly pulled away from the altar to the presence of the cantor or the choir, then our participation at Mass can become a kind of tennis match, and our response in prayer remains shallow and disjointed. … (W)e should be honest enough to acknowledge that the placement of the choir, cantor and the musicians (in the front of the church) has proven to be a terrible distraction in many parishes.”
Kyrie: Missa XVII
Tract: Commovisti, Domine
Credo: Credo III
Offertory: O King of Might and Splendor (O Haupt voll Blut)
Sanctus: Iubilate Deo
Mysterium: Danish A
Amen: De Angelis
Agnus: Iubilate Deo
Communion: Jesu, Word of God Incarnate (Ave Verum), Elgar
Gift of Finest Wheat (Eucharistic Congress)
Final: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (Grosser Gott)
Saturday, March 11, 2006
You now can also hear the promo from our sidebar.
Digest of Regulations and Rubrics of Catholic Church Music, Rev. Robert F. Hayburn (pub. by McLaughlin and Reilly in 1961 - Fr. Hayburn was Director of Music for the Archdiocese of San Francisco)
The New Instruction for American Pastors on Sacred Music and the Liturgy, William J. Leonard, SJ (also McLaughlin and Reilly - 1959; Fr. Leonard, a Jesuit, was then Secretary for the National Liturgical Conference)
A Practical Guide for Catholic Church Organists and Choir Directors, Joseph A. Murphy (Gregorian Institute of America, 1962)
Laus et Jubilatio, Carlo Rossini (1942 - a collection of chant hymns and Mass chants, melody-only edition)
Secunda Antholigia Vocalis, Orestes Ravanello (McLaughlin and Reilly, no date - a small book of three part motets)
Holy Week, Leo P. Manzetti (1923, a Breviary and Missal for Holy Week)
Then, a few more issues of CAECILIA:
(none of these have music supplements within the issues, though a separate piece was issued in the August 1957 issue - Magnum Nomen Domini Emmanuel, in SATB arrangement from the Andernach Gesangbuch, 1608.)
In his pastoral letter this week, Archbishop Agustín García Gasco stated that "those who dedicate themselves to abolishing family identity, who are making the juridical and social meaning of 'being father' and 'being mother' disappear, are imposing their ideological instructions to destroy the institution of the family and, with it, society itself."
Spanish law allows for same-sex unions, including the adoption of children.
Subsequently, the Official State Bulletin establishes, with an order of the Ministry of Justice, a new family book form in which the terms "progenitor A" and "progenitor B" supplant "father" and "mother," according to archdiocese's Avan news agency.
For Archbishop García Gasco, "Spanish legislation in the matter of marriage and the family is every day more deceitful, sectarian and radical."
In his pastoral letter, he invites families to "break absurd silences" because "to complain or laugh about the absurd anti-family policies is not enough."
He encourages the faithful to consider the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Valencia as "a privileged occasion for families worldwide to manifest their initiative and solidarity."
Dave has two really cool churches illustrated. First, this 1960's built church that was amongst the bland looking churches - St. Aloysius, New Canaan, CT:
Now, this beautiful renovation in the 1990's.
While many churches and even cathedrals were busy getting wreck-o-vated (a la Abp. Weakland, who made a total mess-up of what was a beautiful cathedral in Milwaukee), this church was getting a reverse treatment done - it looks beautiful now, even for a modern ediface.
Now, here's a completely new building, built in the 1990's - Holy Spirit, Atlanta, GA
Yes, I did say 1990's, not 1890's! This church even has a choir loft, and an 18-rank pipe organ.
This altar looks quite nice too. And to think, this church looks a good 100 years older than it really is. It's stunning! For more pics, click here. Dave also has the sanctuary, tabernacle, and confessional.
Kudos, high-fives, and many blessings to the pastors of these parishes, and to architects of their church buildings!
The "Catholic Podcast of the Day" feature is the one I made yesterday. Here is Fr. Seraphim's review:
"The Christus Vincit Podcast mixes advice on music selection for liturgy and humor for a very entertaining podcast. Learn the ins and outs of the various hymnals, the background of Latin music and experience the Mass more fully - plus there's a wacky Leprechaun."
Fr. Seraphim has some excellent podcasts of his own, including Catholic: Under the Hood. BTW, he also has a "Frobot" in one of his episodes, which he started about the same time as my "Leprechaun" (who will be known as Shamus O'Reilly starting tomorrow). In fact, one can even go into CatholicPodcasts.info and scroll down the sidebar and find his podcasts listed there.
That "Frobot" scene was cool. I got to hear a cool debate at the end, when Father had asked "Who's the greater saint?" Two of these "robotic priests", one a Dominican and the other a Franciscan, argue amongst themselves - "Dominic!" "Francis!" "Dominic!" "Francis!".
Thanks for the great review, Fr. Seraphim, and keep up your great work!
....New Orleanians were treated to a special Mass at St. Augustine's. The culture of our inimitable Mardi Gras Indians combined with the heritage of black catholics to result in a uniquely New Orleans rite.
New Orleans is now a rite? Wow! If that's the case, maybe London, Ontario should be a rite. So should Providence, Harrisburg, and Lafayette, for that matter, and every other diocese and archdiocese in the world. Next breath: ha ha ha!
Friday, March 10, 2006
Also mentioned was the Powerpoint presentation of the BCL, and their mention of having to develop a common repertoire. Something that was asked for in May 2001 to be developed in five years. Well, here we are in March 2006, only two months to go. How much progress has been made? Well, word is going around that the "big three" publishers have been working on that list themselves. Of course they're going to push their copyrighted materials. God forbid we press on for the stuff that's in the public domain. And there is a rich treasury of that in the Catholic Church that could use a good unleashing, or re-unleashing. But, we have to help finance (I'll try to re-quote Mrs. Hitchcock as best as I can) "that big publisher out in the west coast". I knew already who that was (as the other two legs of the "big three" are both in the midwest). Fr. Kocik could hear me chuckling, as could Elaine from my choir.
Ah yes - did I say Fr. Kocik? Yes, I did! I finally got to meet Fr. Thomas Kocik in person. Yes, the same Fr. Kocik who wrote "The Reform of the Reform?" He, too, likes to see liturgy done right. He is also part of the team of contributors in the blog The New Liturgical Movement.
The evening ended with a conversation in the narthex between Mrs. Hitchcock, Fr. Kocik, Fr. Finelli, and myself - bragging that we do not allow any of the "banal ditties" at Holy Ghost, and will continue not to allow them.
But it did conclude with the fact that folks are realizing that what was SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN with Vatican II, DIDN'T. So, now it's the slow process of correcting things. And even Pope Benedict is realizing that the process is not an easy one.
Another issue was what Pope John Paul II supposedly allowed. Some World Youth Day festivities under JP2 were planned and contracts signed before the Holy Father or the Vatican could even get a say in what was going on. Yeah sure - Pope John Paul II allowing rock bands at WYD Masses but writing a fine document like the Chirograph. JP2 didn't have much say. Such was the case in Canada a couple of years ago.
A great talk by Helen Hull Hitchcock. Next week, our own Laurie Biszko will talk on "Active Participation", and on March 24 and 31 will be Fr. Finelli's two-part talk "What is the Mass?"
But he does offer a cool challenge in that same post - find at least one or two decent pieces of music by the following:
The St. Louis Jesuits
I was able to come up with a little something here:
For the St. Louis Jesuits, John Foley did go to bat with "Who Has Known", and "The Cry of the Poor". I should have listed "Patience, People" as a performance piece. I credited Dan Schutte with "Only This I Want" and "Christ, Circle 'Round Us".
From the pen of Michael Joncas, there is "As the Watchman" and "Lord, You Have the Words". Both are gems compared to much of anything else he'd written.
From the pens of Haugen and Haas - absolutely nothing. I could say the same with Carey Landry, but he wasn't listed for Dave's challenge.
The CHRISTUS VINCIT Blog Promo - 415 kb - 0:53
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Geist: Du gleichst dem Geist, den du begreifst,
Goethe, Faust I, 500, 512-513
Not an organization member myself, and therefore not entitled to receive it in print format, a few weeks ago, I was sent the PDF file of the article from the February-March 2006 edition of Pastoral Music, the journal of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, which reported on its recent poll. The poll sought to determine what religious “songs” were the most popular among American Roman Catholics. I had learned about the poll from colleagues and was happy to provide a few titles of anthems, motets, and congregational hymns which seemed to fulfill the NPM’s queries. This particular poll seemed quite interesting to me, mostly because I wondered who it was who would respond to it. Surely the membership of the NPM would, and that full-heartedly. But what of the others? (There are indeed others, mirabile dictu.) Judging from the red herring titles in the batch of poll results, I suppose that a number of us non-NPMer’s did indeed respond. It would have been foolish to assume that the majority of respondents were not members of that organization itself, and that ultimately, the poll results would have been any less predictable.
Eagerly, I read the report and reviewed the list of “songs” which made the NPM “A” list. No surprises. Even less surprising was the fact that no consequential conclusion had been drawn from the poll, for whatever reason, if nothing else than to see in print “On Eagle’s Wings” listed in the #1 spot. The points made in the preliminary material accompanying the results could just as easily have been made without a poll. The NPM found that the music mentioned by those polled reflected 1) a very wide variety of songs (just like our two-century treasury of Catholic vocal music – no poll required), 2) a variety of musical styles (again, like the treasury of Catholic vocal music. Also, exactly like the radio stations set on my car stereo – no poll required), 3) an association with significant events (I have yet to meet anyone for whom some music carries no connection with particular life-events. The entire CD of “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road”, for example, reminds me fiercely of my college days and of late-night thesis-writing – no poll required), and 4) an association with childhood experiences (really, this is the same as conclusion #3, but with a bit more nostalgia – poets throughout time have marveled at youth, longed for its return, and mourned its passing: A.E. Houseman, to cite just one example, makes that clear enough. “Schmücke Dich” still reminds this author of long waits while the communion rail filled and emptied, shifts of adults communing, returning to the pews – no poll required).
The poll is entitled “Songs That Make a Difference.” But honestly: a difference in what? In faith? In religious zeal? In devotion? And even further: what difference? Between worship styles? Between denominational liturgies? Between one musical selection and another? Between one composer and another? The article’s authors offer this insight:
Funeral celebrations were by far the most commonly cited occasions on which a
particular song made a lasting effect.
The death of a loved one is without question a most trying time: continuing to live without the physical presence of one departed. As Kübler-Ross outlined years ago in her famous study, we humans take time to re-adjust to this new circumstance, not necessarily physically, but emotionally. We naturally move through various stages, eventually to arrive, either on our own or with assistance, to accept the loss. The power of emotion is fierce. Likewise is the power of music. It takes no specialized knowledge other than a familiarity with the human condition to realize that when one is emotionally raw, one may find comfort in music. I am reminded here of the lyre cartouche which appears on the familiar yellow covers of G. Schirmer scores, which bears the motto that music is the “dulce lenimen”: the “sweet solace”. Emotion is clearly not the soundest foundation upon which to conclude anything, and certainly not proof of the popularity of musical works, either sacred or secular – since music cuts, as it were, “too close to the quick.” I beg the reader’s forgiveness at this point to indulge me the opportunity briefly to digress. I find attachment to two secular items which I associate with the death of my father: the song “La Paloma”, which, according to my mother, he had said was the “most beautiful song in the world” and to which he loved to dance with her. Also, the Toccata movement from the Widor Organ Symphony No. 5, which I played onto a tape along with a recording of La Paloma and some other items for my father to listen to as he lay dying. Even as I write, I grow teary with emotion at the memory of his stirring in the coma as the Spanish words of La Paloma drifted from the tape recorder, and especially in recalling when my mother said, “You hear the organ Toccata? It’s our little Jason playing for you.” (I had by then, of course, outgrown my littleness, although not in my mother’s eyes). Despite my emotional attachment to these two items, neither is more or less important or popular in the musical macrocosm. La Paloma remains a beautiful song to some, possibly unknown to others, and the Widor Fifth remains a composition of the French organ repertoire which many enjoy, which some dislike, which some have never heard or played.
In the final brief section of the actual poll commentary, the article’s authors make this statement:
…musicians and other pastoral leaders should be attentive to the many different
musical styles that nourish and support the faith of American Catholics, taking care
not merely to choose music from our own personal taste but to make selections
out of a pastoral concern [italics added] for the members of our communities.
I believe this to be very true, yet not in the context of the NPM report. Taking into account the importance placed indirectly on the role of emotion in musical selection and popularity earlier in the report, were a Church musician to take this statement in the NPM context, he would pastorally dupe his flock, exchanging with them an opportunity rightly to worship the Almighty in song, for an opportunity to prey upon their emotions. Allowing emotion to be guide in music selection discards the Almighty as the focus of worship and sets before the worshiping congregation a glass in which they may see themselves and their emotional states reflected. As the sacrificial species are elevated and transformed upon the altar of the Most High, the golden calf of Self is hoisted high amidst a frolicking and wreathed assembly drunk on emotion, whirling in narcissistic frenzy.
This emotion-based outlook is nothing new. One need only recall the Roman poet Catullus’ description of the initiation rites into the Cult of Cybele, during which, hypnotized by emotion (we would patronizingly term it “charismaticism” or “being spirit-filled” today), the spinning initiate, Attis by name, grasps in hand a razor-sharp flint and therewith castrates himself. (Catullus 63). Awakening from his stupor, he later bemoans the loss of his manhood.
Were one to base musical selection upon true pastoral concern, emotion should and must play no part in the decision-making. Rather, the liturgy itself and the lessons from Scripture must be the guides. That which fosters worship of the Almighty is the clear choice, “the music”, as Pope Benedict XVI states in Geist der Liturgie, “of the Sursum Corda, the lifting up of hearts.” Selecting music simply because “the assembly like it” is a very dangerous game which has but one outcome: a rendering impotent both of music director and of worship: the eunuch shepherd leads the flock to graze upon sand in the wasteland. As human beings, it is neighborly to be concerned about the emotional well-being of others, however as Church musicians (and, to join the trendy set, as “pastoral musicians”), we are to be most attentive to the worship of God by the faithful through music. The faithful must not sing or play instruments in a liturgical context in order to “feel good” about themselves, but to worship God. If all that Sunday morning means is “assembly” and “building community”, we may as well meet not in a church at all, but at a community center for coffee/donuts. Calvary was not necessary merely to build fellowship. The second table of the Decalogue, may we remind ourselves, deals with nothing else but love of neighbor. This we knew from Sinai, generations before the Cenacle, Gabbatha, and the Skull Place. Nor is fellowship something particularly Christian: the pagan Trimalchio certainly enjoyed more than a share of fellowship at his colorful assemblies. The Cliché is true: Holy Mass is not about what we “get out of it”, but what we “put into it”. I certainly am thankful that Christ the Lord in Gethsemane did not ask, “Father, what’s in it for me?”
Ironically, the NPM staff continue: “We should ask ourselves if these songs are able to bear the weight of inspiring and sustaining faith.” And this: “Are we introducing our children to repertoire that can last a lifetime?” These are indeed the correct questions to pose. As more and more youth and young adults smirk at the liturgo-pop of Landry, Haugen, Haas, and others, we are left to wonder also, how long will the popularity last? We stand before two altars, one of Baal and one of the God of Israel, waiting for the fire with the prophet of old. If use of the Bach B minor Mass at the recent World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany teaches us anything at all, we should already know the answers to the important questions posed by the NPM staff. Now I ask the NPM: are you ready to extricate your heads from the sand and to stand up to the challenge? Useful to know: the Bärenreiter score of the B minor is not available from OCP or GIA, but you can pick one up at your local music shop for about $20. See you at rehearsal, Mr. Funk.
Next question - now that Cardinal Arinze has his own podcasts, I wonder how soon it will be before the Holy Father puts out a podcast of his own. Perhaps something like - the iPontiff.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
9. I like my kneelers padded.
8. For years, I have shunned help wanted ads for music directors who play organ AND piano, only to find none of the ads mention only organ
7. I sport a beard at Mass with the attitude that Jesus had one too, citing the "live like Christ" passage in Holy Scripture. However, I refuse to grow my hair too long.
6. My favorite processional hymn registrations include manual stops that are brighter than 8' and pedal stops deeper than 16'
5. I don't limit myself to one set of organ registrations.
4. I made the B-team!
3. My blogging partners and I are re-inventers of the word "snark".
2. I have a two-way conversation with a technological leprechaun with no name while podcasting.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON I AM AN AMATEUR CATHOLIC:
1. I write foolish Top Ten Lists like this!
Ipsissima Verba - Mrs. Robinson
"There are no rigid criteria for selecting good music for the liturgy. In recent months many songs have appeared which could well find an appropriate place in the liturgy; these might include 'Both Sides Now,' 'Abraham, Martin and John,' 'Mrs. Robinson,' 'Gentle on My Mind' (there is a real need for good love songs in liturgy), and 'Little Green Apples.' In a sense we need 'disposable' music just as we need, and to some extent have, 'disposable' art - objects which are created to last not centuries, but weeks (or hours). Our secular music is that way; the amount of new material is so great that even many good things pass quickly. While many of the songs from the folk and pop lists (as well as the country-western list or the Broadway list) do not have the depth or quality to last for decades, they still have the power to enrich the liturgy here and now."
"Music - We Must Learn to Celebrate," by the Rev. Robert W. Hovda and Gabe Huck.
Liturgical Arts: Liturgical Arts Society's quarterly. Volume 38, No. 2 (February 1970), p. 42.
Source: Musica Sacra
This is a quote from a Fr. March as appears in Sacred Music (formerly CAECILIA), Spring 1970 edition. I was ready to start calling Fr. March names, thus judging the book by its cover: that is, reading only up to "Little Green Apples". I was about ready to get "little green apple splatters" over it. But then I got to read the last couple of sentences to discover that the first few lines were written in sheer sarcasm so it could lead to the last few lines. Thank the Good Lord for that.
Ipsissima Verba - We Are Tired
Source: Musica Sacra
"We are tired young Catholics, yes tired and aghast at what has happened to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in our time. Modern day liturgists seem to regard our generation as being completely without any appreciation for music, other than what one would expect at a teenage dance etc. We feel that this is not only untrue but also unfair. Teenagers today look toward the Church for a Mass that is reverent and causes us to become closer to Christ as our God not as our equal. We take this opportunity to express some of our thoughts and suggestions."
At Mass we should:
1. Have music that reminds us of the God we worship, not of a dance the night before.
2. Have a text that is sound and appropriate and music that is appropriate for the text.
3. Stay away from compromising on tunes that are popular. No one is impressed with a sloppy adaptation of a melody that has been twisted to suit some individual's personal taste.
4. Have a balance of Latin and English so that neither becomes monotonous.
5. Have congregational singing but not to the point of minimizing the role of the choir.
6. Use hymns that are simple enough for congregational participation without resorting to songs that have nothing to do with the Mass but were written for entertainment purposes.
7. Have a large enough variety of music so as to avoid unnecessary and boring repetition which defeats the purpose of keeping the congregation aware of their participation in the action at the altar.
8. Leave the task of sacred music to those trained in the field.
"We want you to know exactly how we feel and these are the views expressed by a cross section of teenagers. If individuals who are subjecting us to the current trend for irreverent and banal music wish to continue to do so, we would like them to identify it with themselves and not with our generation. We want no part of it and do not expect that it be accredited to us.
"Further, we feel that we have as much right to sing and listen to good music at Mass as those who grew up before us. If there are places that did not experience good music it is because they failed to have good instruction. We look toward you as the hope of rectifying the unfortunate state of liturgy and sacred music in the Catholic Church today.
"The girls from Catherine McAuley High School Brooklyn, N.Y."
This was from Sacred Music, Spring 1967 edition. And yes, these girls wrote this letter to their music director, a Sister of Mercy - in a high school named in honor of Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in the Americas. Now, we need more letters like that from today's Catholic school students, and even from public school students who just happen to be enrolled in a parish's CCD/Religious Ed/Faith Formation/whatever ya wanna call it program. Send them to your music director, principal, pastor, CCD director, and even your local Ordinary. Tell them you want only SACRED music at Holy Mass, because "SACRED music is the only cat who knows where it's at".
Do it today!
So, yes, even as early as 1959 you have the "liturgist" in the progressive sense who wants to destroy the sacred for the sake of "what's hip".
Events have in some ways given substance to our fears. For a long time now, liturgical dust-throwers have been crying, in effect, "Let's get rid of these ridiculous choirs and all stand up and holler!" No papal directive ever said this, but scores of underlings have. One may submit with little fear that you bash the choirs and you bash whatever chance there is (it grows smaller) of rescuing the music of the church. One may submit that you bash the choir and you bash whatever chance you really have of congregational singing.
Snippet 2:Thus, the "dumbing down" process. It still wasn't half as bad 45 years ago as it was now. In the words of a singer known as Meat Loaf, it was long ago and it was far away; it was so much better than it is today. You see, back then the Gelineau Psalms were considered "over-rated." A couple of decades later, though chant is still to be considered supreme in Catholic music, I would take the Gelineau Psalms long before anything from the Singing the Psalms series or the Celebration Series.
Well meaning attempts by professionals were scuttled in favor of amateurish attempts to sing all of the chant. When the chant became significantly complicated, adults were scuttled for children's choirs, which were not, and are not now, intended or prepared to reach musical adulthood. Now the chant is in the process of being scuttled by things like the highly over-rated Gelineau Psalms.
And today, the self-styled "experts" have all sorts of job titles. You have the liturgist (who I like to call the "litter-geist"), the folk group leader, the "pastoral assistant" (now, there's an oxymoron - I worked with ONE, just enough to turn me off - very arrogant woman), the CCD director who still thinks the kiddies should get a taste of HI GOD at every Mass, the school principal (with similar agenda), and even a misguided pastor (remember the post about the pastor who wanted to sack O Lord, I Am Not Worthy, but Good Night, Sweet Jesus was ok?).
There is precious little interest in the professional Catholic Church Musician, who many decades before the liturgical enlightenment, was responsible for such decency in the solemn worship of the Church as there was. We now hear about the self styled "experts". And one is reminded of Chesterton's remark that the world is ruined by the ignorance of experts.
But now, on the next breath, the editor writes:
To face the question: there are indeed ridiculous choirs, and more than once, in well-known churches of Europe, where one had expected more, I have with real anguish placed my head in my hands and asked: "Is all of this really worth defending?"
What I'm wondering is this: is the editor referring as "ridiculous" those choirs that sound like crap, as a result of being almost talentless, or perhaps talented, but misguided by a bad director? Or is this a choir that is "too good" to a point where you'd never get a congregation to sing what's theirs because the choir is so good the congregation just wants to listen? I'd think the former. Here's why:
But even more ridiculous are the situations where the choir has been removed and congregations and children are asked to lift themselves by their boot straps. One tires, with an overwhelming tiredness, of hearing well-meaning souls say: "Now the important thing is not to worry about how we sound when we sing -- remember what Msgr. so-and-so said"...when the good Msgr.'s congregational Mass is a mess and a mockery of the singing splendor of the liturgy.
Well, the congregation shouldn't really worry about their sound. But a choir should be trained to get a decent sound, decent enough so maybe they might not have to worry either, but either way, the choir should be the "example".
The writer made a not too scientific survey when he was preparing his congregation for the Holy Week Services last Spring....He found particularly that more people could sing a tune than could match a tone. He found, for example, that while 36 out of 51 could sing a very simple tune in a key of the subject's choice, only 26 of 51 could sing the tune in a given key. The result could well be described as congregational, but hardly as singing. Still, in the area of responses, litanies, and hymns it is still possible to manage something robust and ringing (discount cork ceilings and other architectural gobbledgooks)--but only because possibly 300 of 500 tested were under some form of fairly intensive musical training.
Recruit those 300 for the choir. Recruit them now! But don't use the 200 for an excuse to "dumb down" (ah, the common practice today).
Trouble is, we have always sought the easy, not to say the cheap way out, and after fifty years we have arrived nowhere. It will be interesting to hear what the Liturgists (at Notre Dame) and the Educators (at Purchase, NY) come up with.
I can't say much for 1959, as I wasn't born until 1964 (just months after Vatican II), and learned the Mass Ordinary in 1970 (Novus Ordo) as a requirement to make my First Communion in first grade (Catholic school - predominantly Polish parish). So I have no clue what Notre Dame or Purchase came up with. But, thanks to an army of "litter-geists", we have a mess on our hands now that is finally getting cleaned up, poco a poco (little by little).