Monday, August 24, 2009

This week in CC TX

Thought I'd share with you what we do at our 8am weekday Mass. It's the only Mass offered, and is always preceded by Morning Prayer. The hymn chosen for the office is not necessarily the best choice - I don't spend time pouring through the psalmody and the lection of the day to choose the hymn. Although for specific days, I manage to choose a hymn that fits really well. For example, this morning, the feast of St. Bartholomew, warranted a newer hymn text and tune, which the people really seem to enjoy singing: The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King, sung to Deo Gracias (Agincourt Hymns, sans the Alleluia section). The school kids were "sort of" miffed with me after Mass, when they discovered that they had missed the singing of this hymn - it's turned out to be their favorite thus far!!!! And I'm happy about that. They are anxiously awaiting the time when I tell them we will use the tambour and finger cymbals (All Saints).

We have the St. Michael Hymnal in our pews. While it's a very nice hymnal, it has what every hymnal has when it's being put together and published and sold: AN AGENDA. The agenda of the SMH is not political, however. It is, however, a personal pietistic sort, though, and that has a tendency to rankle my feathers a bit. It wouldn't have done that, except that "they" changed the final stanza, and, in my most humility-laced opinion, NOT FOR THE BETTER!!!!! Just what were they thinking, man? Anyway....

The Hymn which was sung was The Martyrs, Saints of God, authored by Becket G. Senchur, who must be a monk at St. Vincent Archabbey. The tune is very singable, if not predictable, but not bad at all. Of course, the kids love this one, too. We sang both of them Friday 8/14, the memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe at the school Mass.

What we've been doing for the hymn at Mass, is singing stanza one as the priest and servers enter the sanctuary. Then Father Bossman wants the introit, so we chant it, usually to Tone VIII. It's really kind of a downer, singing two entrance hymns, both of which are truncated to the point of high ridiculousity. Be that as it may.... on Feast days, we chant the Gloria (III). The psalm is read, although we'll begin chanting the refrain in a few weeks, and second semester, the students will chant the psalm entirely. The rest of the music for the ordinary is the same as Sunday.

At Holy Communion, after the older kids are back in their pews, we sing the concluding stanzas of the first hymn. At least the poetry isn't totally marred, and the response is very good from the kids as well as the adults.

We have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every day from 9am to approx 9pm. After the final blessing, the priest and servers move to the front of the altar and the bell rings for the Angelus. At the conclusion of the Angelus, the priest moves to the tabernacle. That's when we begin singing this really pretty Spanish/Mexican hymn, Cantemos al Amor de los Amores. The sing it very well. This gives the procession time to reposition the Blessed Sacrament and return to the sanctuary. A brief organ improvisation follows - or if prepared or fitting, a composed piece.

I'm happy with most of what is happening with the kids, musically speaking. But there is just not enough class time to get everything done. So I need to plan more carefully.

Like last Tuesday when one of the boys sneezed all over me.... yep, it went flying. That kid is going to have to carry a Kleenex box with him everywhere..... my immune system is still very susceptible to such quickly airborne my day off and the following were spent in isolation.....

Tomorrow's lineup:

Hymn: O God, You Search Me and You know Me. It's the only Bernadette Farrell piece that I will do - unless she comes up with something nice again, without interweaving her music with noxious anti Roman Catholic theological stances..... (I chose this, because tomorrow's Psalm at Mass is Psalm 139.)

Have a great week.

living in Corpus Christi TX where we've well passed 90 days of 90+ degree temperatures!


Motherhen said...

Steve, your posts are becoming a near occasions of sin (coveting!) for me! Know what my kids are learning to sing for the 50th anniversary Mass (their school's 50 years old this Aug)? Our God is an Awesome God. Yes, the Bishop is saying Mass and the kids are singing this. Grrr.

Maybe either you or Brian can tell me what this Mass setting is called. I've heard this Agnus Dei sung at the teen Mass. It goes like this:

Lamb of God
(echo)Lamb of God
You take away
(echo)You take away
the sins of all
(echo) the sins of all
the whole world
(echo)the whole world
Misere re nobis
(echo) Misere re nobis

etc.....Is there a name for it, like Mass of Creation? This annoys me because if they can sing half of it in Latin, they can sing the whole thing in Latin.

Steve O said...

Paula, Mediocrity reigns supreme in church music, doncha know? Yesterday, 8/26, the Corpus Christi Catholic schools had their annual Mass at the cathedral...which has the largest pipe organ in the city. Know what was used to accompany the kids? Keyboard. Makes me want to puke. Our 4th-6th graders attended. This afternoon in class, they told me about the awful music. Plus the fact that it was announced that the "choir" for that Mass included one student from each school, but there were no kids from Christ the King school in the choir. In the end, the class was happy to not have had to suffer through the trash. Tomorrow at OUR school Mass, we're singing the chants from Jubilate Deo, the Agincourt Hymn (Deo Gracias), and Thaxted (O God, Beyond All Praising...all THREE stanzas), plus the Alleluia (greatly truncated, of course) from Mozart's "Exultate Jubilate" cantata for soprano solo. I asked the kids if they heard any Bel Canto singing... in unison, and LOUDLY, they all yelled NO!!! Although I'm working hard at getting them into good head tone, I still want them to sing expressively. So Bel Canto singing is a motto of our music classes. Why give the kids McDonald's burgers when they can chew and enjoy the filet mignon....?

In the meantime, say three hail Mary's, and two Te Deums in Latin for your penance, lol!

Motherhen said...

:) Steve, your penances are easy! :) I sound like my kids when they "get lucky" and only have 1 Hail Mary LOL.

Today was the 50th anniv. Mass @ the kids' school. Last night, my 6th grader informed me they would be singing "I'll be There". Yes, that snazzy little number from the Jackson 5. I.About.Had.A.Stroke.

Thank God, my son was mistaken and they had been listening to it during quiet time before school let out that day and he was confused. I told my husband, if they would have sung that at Mass, I was going to pitch the biggest fit that school had seen in the past 50 years! LOL

Your kids are so lucky to have such a wonderful, traditional, music class/teacher/hymns for school Mass.