Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2011

CHRISTMAS AT HEARTS!

The Masses of Christmas at Sacred Heart Church, West Warwick, RI
Saturday XII-24-11 at 5 and 10:30 PM
Sunday XII-25-11 at 9 and 11:15 AM


Vocal quartet and brass trio at all Masses!

Choral/Brass Prelude (20 Minutes before each Mass)
1. Good Christian men, rejoice / "In Dulci Jubilo" (Brass)
2. O little town of Bethlehem / "Forest Green" (Quartet)
3. Tollite Hostias / Saint-Saëns (Quartet)
4. In the bleak midwinter / Darke (Quartet)
5. Joseph dearest, Joseph mine / arr. Vaughan Williams (Quartet)
6. What Child is this / "Greensleeves" (Brass)

Mass
PSALMS:
(5:00) Psalm 89: For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord / BMP
(10:30) Psalm 96: Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord / Proulx/Gelineau
(9:00/11:15) Psalm 98: All the ends of the earth have seen... / Rice
ALLELUIA: BMP, adapted from Divinum Mysterium, Mode V
ORDINARY:
Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei: Mass of the Shepherds / Yon
Memorial: We proclaim your death, O Lord / BMP
Amen: Dresden

HYMNS, etc.
Entrance: W-392 O come, all ye faithful / "Adeste Fideles"
- Verse 1 in Latin, then vv. 1-4 in English, arr. Willcocks
Offertory: W-387 Hark! the herald angels sing / "Mendelssohn", arr. Willcocks
Communion: O Holy Night / Adam
Meditation: W-379 Silent night, holy night / "Stille Nacht"
Recessional: W-399 Joy to the world! the Lord is come / "Antioch"

Postludes:
1. Angels we have heard on high / "Gloria" (Brass only)
2. Hallelujah! (from "Messiah") / Handel (organ)

Peace,
BMP

GAUDETE SUNDAY BULLETIN INSERT

In light of that moron that got elected Governor of Rhode Island last year despite only 35% of the vote and his "Holiday Tree" lighting at the State House on XII-6-11

This is the way of Governor (Grinch) Chafee and similar whack-jobs!

The Perennial Tree
This holiday tree can be left up ALL YEAR!

The New Years Tree - Hang empty champagne bottles on it with silly hats and toy horns
The George Washington Tree - Hang pictures of the first President on it (or chop it down and admit it)
The Martin Luther King Tree - Hang pictures of MiLK (editing mine) and have a recording of his wonderful I Have a Dream speech playing
The Valentine's Day Tree - Hang little hearts and candy
The Lincoln's Birthday Tree - Hang log cabins with beards on them
The St. Patrick's Day Tree - Have a corned beef and cabbage dinner and decorate the tree with shamrocks (iSNARK! side note: it's GREEN, just like a Christmas tree!)
The Labor Day Tree - Have employees come and occupy your living room
The Columbus Day Tree - Everyone go out and discover something you have never seen
The Halloween Tree - Hang pumpkins and masks from it and have children go beg it for candy
The Easter Tree - Hang colored hard-boiled eggs from it (but NOTHING with Jesus)
The Memorial Day Tree - Bring flowers, but DON'T pray
The Independence Day Tree - Parade around it and smoke lots of pot
The Thanksgiving Day Tree - Have a big turkey dinner there and hang pilgrims and Indians on it
The Christmas/Holiday Tree - Decorate with politically correct decorations, but no God talk or else!

Peace,
BMP

Thursday, December 15, 2011

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (Heavy Duty)

One of the most complex arrangements of The Twelve Days of Christmas that I've ever heard comes from a 1963 album that Firestone distributed called Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Carols, Volume 2. (Yes, the album is a year older than I am!)

This is an album I grew up with as a wee one, and thanks to the owner of the Audio Archives blog, I was able to download an .mp3 of the entire album. In fact, the Audio Archives blog has numerous old albums on .mp3. I also downloaded Firestone's Volume 4, and an RCA Victor collection (RCA Victor Presents Music for the Twelve Days of Christmas).

The album in this discussion features Risë Stevens (mezzo), Brian Sullivan (tenor), the Columbus Boychoir (now the American Boychoir, since their 1980 move to Princeton, NJ), along with the Firestone Orchestra and Chorus.

There are twelve tracks on the album, songs done by each of the "stars" on the album. You can even sing along, as the lyrics are on the back of the album jacket. The album ends with The Twelve Days of Christmas, performed by (as appears in the credits) "Entire Company". Yup - everyone on the album! And to boot, each verse has its own arrangement, vocally and orchestrally - a different color to each verse, pretty much. Several key changes as well!

Verse 1: Key of E-flat, sung by Risë Stevens, backed by the Columbus Boychoir.
Verse 2: same
Verse 3: Key of A-flat, sung by Brian Sullivan.
Verse 4: same
Verse 5: Key of F, sung by Chorus.
Verse 6: Key of B-flat, sung by the Columbus Boychoir.
Verse 7: Key of E-flat, started by Risë Stevens, backed by the Columbus Boychoir. From this verse on, you'll see the switching off of artists for each line (6 geese, 5 rings, etc.).
Verse 8: Key of A-flat, started by Brian Sullivan.
Verse 9: Key of F, started by the men of the chorus.
Verse 10: Key of F, started by the Columbus Boychoir.
Verse 11: Key of F, started by Risë Stevens and Brian Sullivan.
Verse 12: Key of G, started by EVERYONE. (The only verse in a sharp key. While the other key changes are merely changes, this one is an actual modulation.)

Get the entire album here!

Peace,
BMP

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NOW, ON A POSITIVE NOTE:

My FAVORITE Christmas songs

Again, this isn't in any particular order, and this includes both sacred AND secular Christmas songs, as well as parodies (I've always said, if you're going to thrash a Christmas song, it needs to be funny!).

ANYTHING from the Beach Boys Christmas Album.
Sleigh Ride (instrumental/orchestral version only), particularly the Boston Pops, and a really cool organ rendition by Cameron Carpenter. The only vocal versions I like would be parodies.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, by Ringo Starr (I also appreciate Gene Autry's classic version)
White Christmas, Drifters version only
Blue Christmas, Elvis version only
ANYTHING from the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Christmas Album.
ANYTHING from Straight No Chaser.
Caroling, Caroling, Tennessee Ernie Ford version only
All I Want for Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey version only (and WITHOUT Justine Bieber!)
I'm definitely a sucker for a really good parody. I highly recommend Tom's Townie Tunes (WROR-FM, Boston) and Bob Rivers Twisted Tunes (KJR-FM, Seattle). Side note: Bob Rivers used to work with WAAF-FM (Worcester/Boston) in the 1980's (anyone remember the Bob and Zip Show?) It was Rivers that wrote the renowned classic Twelve Pains of Christmas and Grandma Got Dismembered by a Chainsaw.
Holy $&!+, It's Christmas, by Red Peters
ANYTHING done with a good choir/organ/brass. I love a good Willcocks or Vaughan Williams arrangement just as much as any other organist in his/her right mind. :)
'Twas the Night Before Christmas, written by Ken Darby, arranged by Harry Simeone (sang this in high school chorus, very haunting)
ANYTHING by the Chipmunks
The Twelve Days of Christmas, the following versions: The Chipmunks, The Muppets, the Ralph Hunter Choir (RCA Presents Music for the Twelve Days of Christmas), Tennessee Ernie Ford (Sing We Now of Christmas, a 1960's album on Capitol), and one of the "heaviest" versions you'll ever find, the entire cast of the 1963 album Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Carols, Volume 2, consisting of mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens, tenor Brian Sullivan, the Columbus Boychoir (now the American Boychoir, since moving to Princeton, NJ, in 1980), and the Firestone Orchestra and Chorus.
ANYTHING from the album The Glorious Sound of Christmas, by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, plus the Temple University Concert Choir, directed by Robert Page (my dad was Robert Page, but not THAT Robert Page).
Jingle Bombs, by Achmed the Dead Terrorist (via Jeff Dunham)
Finally, any parody my son Chris comes up with from out of the blue!

Entire album of RCA Presents Music for the Twelve Days of Christmas on one .mp3
Entire album of Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Carols, Volume 2 on one .mp3
Source of both .mp3's - I grew up with those!

Peace,
BMP

Friday, December 9, 2011

TOP TEN MOST HATED CHRISTMAS SONGS

...or muzak that gets passed as Christmas songs

Here goes, in almost no particular order:

1) Happy Christmas/War Is Over (by Lennon, OR ANYONE who covers it --- and I'm a Beatles fan) Sounds like a really bad 1970 folk Mass revival
2) Santa Baby (by ANYONE) Nothing like a Christmas wish list by some spoiled, greedy slut
3) Baby, It's Cold Outside (by ANYONE) Which really has nothing to do with Christmas
4) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (by almost ANYONE)
5) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (especially the version by John Cougar Mellencamp)
6) Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (any version where the chorus screams SAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town; SAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town... / that goes for Bruce Springsteen, The Jackson 5, and similar styles. However, I LOVE the arrangement by the Beach Boys.)
7) Last Christmas (Wham!) Every time I hear that song, I think it's Boy George of Culture Club (BLECH!)
8) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (by Billy Gilman - his then-boy voice sounds way too girly, or that jerk who keeps crooning "Rudy" in place of "Rudolph") (However, I'll always appreciate the classic Gene Autry version and the Ringo Starr rendition as well)
9) It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (by almost ANYONE - parodies are OK)
10) Silver Bells (by ANYONE, especially Gloria Estefan) "This is Santa's big scene?" Was Jesus' big scene first!

Honorable mention on my Scheiße-Liste:
We Three Kings/God Rest Ye (by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan)
Little Drummer Boy (Bob Seger cover)
Let There Be Peace on Earth (Since when did THAT become a frickin' Christmas song?)
Merry Christmas, Darling (Carpenters - and I normally appreciate their music) "Christmasing"? Since when did "Christmas" become a VERB?
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (by ANYONE) "New old fashioned way" just never made sense to me, and probably never will
Silent Night (by Stevie Nicks) Can't stand her voice. Period.
ADDED XII-9-11:
Where Are You Christmas? - from the "Grinch" movie. Sorry, I like the cartoon much better. The movie seems to have a very morbid, depressing backdrop, like if Tim Burton had written it. As for the song... COME ON! Christmas comes once a year, December 25. Jesus hasn't failed yet! Be patient! Be ready, but patient! The music is depressing, too.
Grown-Up Christmas List - music sounds too much like "Where Are You Christmas". BLECH!
Anything sung by Annie Lennox. I can't stand her voice!
And what the hell is that goofy ditty that the kiddies sing over the Taco Bell Cannon indeed? BORING!!!

Peace on Earth,
BMP

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'M SORRY, BUT...

Regretfully, we weren't able to make EITHER tree-lighting ceremony, the one at the State House, or the one at St. Patrick's, just blocks west of the State House. My front brakes were grinding to the point of fear, and we needed to get that addressed as soon as humanly possible (I wouldn't have had time any other day this week, due to holy day Masses and prior family commitments). Therefore, our top priority was to get our minivan safe (it's our only transportation).

Not to mention, my conscience was in a big debate with itself over the last couple of days. Do I go to the sure thing (St. Patrick's), or do I go to the State House (where our idiot governor decided to call the tree he's lighting a "holiday tree") to join WPRO-AM's John DePetro and his flash mob to sing "O Christmas Tree" and actually DEFEND Christmas? I mean, it's great that there is a place where our faith is guaranteed. But I feel that there are those times when one feels the need to try to get back those values of faith that are being taken away. Instead, the ultimate decision was to protect my family. I'll be doing plenty of driving the next few days (including work - three Masses for the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation).

At the same time, I make my prayer for those attending BOTH ceremonies. I hope they went well at both venues. As for the State House, I hope John DePetro and his flash mob was able to make a definitive statement to Governor Grinch (Chafee).

Peace,
BMP

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O CHRISTMAS TREE!

A Christus Vincit WTF Award Ceremony

Can you believe our frickin' nitwit governor wants to omit Christmas altogether in this year's State House tree-lighting ceremony???!!! Yeah, we're talking Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican who turned Independent, the man who got in despite 65% of the voters voting against him (seven people ran; I voted for John Robitaille, a Republican, who came second). Chafee, son of the late great John Chafee who's probably rolling in his grave watching Linc's antics unravel, plans to call the Christmas tree a "holiday tree".

Now, just WTF is a holiday tree? And what holiday do we put this up for? Arbor Day? Valentine's Day (Look, honey, I got you a tree for Valentine's Day!)? Mother's Day (Look, mom, I grew this with my magic beans!)? How about Ides of March Day? That would be a hoot, wouldn't it?!

For cripes sakes, Governor, grow up! Your father would have never thought of these things when he was governor, or in the U.S. Senate. Who are you looking to suck up to? Certainly not the people of Rhode Island, the people you are supposed to be serving. Over 60% of Rhode Islanders are Catholic. They all celebrate Christmas. In fact, over 90% of the people in these great United States celebrate Christmas.

So, by the power invested in me, by me, and by the readers of this snarky little blog I write, I hereby award the (Dis)Honorable Lincoln Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island, the Christus Vincit WTF AWARD for December 2011. Oh, and um, Merry Christmas!

Incidentally, John DePetro of WPRO Radio (AM 630) is looking to start a flash mob to sing "O CHRISTMAS TREE" at the State House, 5:30 PM, Tuesday, December 6, the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas. If you're near the area, come join the mob!

Peace,
BMP


Thursday, December 24, 2009

HOW MANY OUT THERE ARE DOING THESE FOR CHRISTMAS?

I just got a call from my good friend Dave Sylvester this morning, and we're out to see who's doing any of the following selections for any of the Christmas Masses this year:

- Laetentur Caeli (Carlo Carturan)
- Tollite Hostias (Camille Saint-Saens)
- Mass of the Shepherds (Pietro A. Yon) in Latin

Dave's doing all three! Anyone else?

Anyone who wants to hear these great works should visit Sacred Heart Church, Providence Street, West Warwick, RI. Mind you - the Mass is in the Ordinary Form.

(You certainly don't think those brainwashed by NaPalM would be doing these, do you?)

In the meantime, in case I forget tomorrow morning, Merry and Blessed Christmas from our families to your families!
Peace,
BMP

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TOSSMAS 2009

Here it is, the annual Tossmas video. RSCT to the Curt Jester.

Peace,
BMP



UPDATE 12/3/09: I've been seeing some improvement in the Christmas department as of late. WalMart and JC Penney actually say Christmas in their commercials. I've seen that same improvement in a few other commercials that I can't remember the source of at this point. Further, normally I land up boycotting two of my favorite radio stations as of All Saints' Day due to their overkill of 24/7 playing of Christmas muzak, you know, that stuff that passes for yuletide favorites, or as many of the radio stations call them, "holiday favorites". This year, two of those stations waited till 11/15 (whoopie!), and another actually waited until Thanksgiving. To boot, one of the stations that started with the crap on 11/15 actually calls it "Boston's Favorite Christmas Music", instead of all that "holiday" crap. That said, any 24/7 of nothing but Christmas tunes is overkill, at least until Christmas Eve. -BMP

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MUSIC AT HOLY MASS

Christmas Day - 9 AM (Ordinary Form)
Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence, RI


This morning I decided to go to the 9 AM morning Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence. Some might remember that I was music director there from 1999-2003 - four very happy years before being lured to another parish for a $12K raise and a year of unprecedented lies from the pastor that lured me there (including why I was fired). Talk about hindsight being 20/20. My biggest mistake EVER was leaving there!

I would have attended the 11 AM Extraordinary Form High Mass if I hadn't had family commitments this morning. Jacob Stott, the music director and organist, had told me that the schola was to do the Mozart Missa Brevis at that Mass. However, the 9 AM Ordinary Form Mass was also done very well.

In addition to the music list I offer here is some pictures I took after Mass. Please pardon the quality of some of these, as, with the exception of the first picture, I took these pictures with my cell phone (which, mind you, was OFF during Mass). I further invite Shawn Tribe and his team at The New Liturgical Movement, as well as the Musica Sacra people to use these pictures at their leisure. I say this because I do remember some pictures in previous posts at NLM (I'd say at least, if not almost, a year ago).


Holy Name is a very beautiful church, completed just around 1900 in a similar style to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.


The six candle setting was used only at the Extraordinary Form Mass when I was there. Now it's used for the Ordinary Form Mass as well.


The Latin inscription on the high altar towards the top (hard to see in this picture, sorry) reads PASCHA NOSTRUM IMMOLATUS EST CHRISTUS. This is translated Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed.


This is the gallery pipe case - one of two organ cases in the main church. This is a 1911 Hook and Hastings organ of 18 ranks, with maybe a couple of borrowed stops, but most of the ranks are independent. Until the mid 1960's, this organ, originally a tracker (mechanical action) was the ONLY organ case in the church.


In the mid 1960's, there was a fire at Holy Name that did some damage inside, but, thankfully, the church was not destroyed. At that time, William J. Laws, Jr. (aka "Butcher Bill" to a number of organists and organ builders) changed the gallery organ action from mechanical to electropneumatic, added the above case in the chancel (accessible by a door located about a third of the way up the bell tower), a nine-rank unit organ. He also built a console (using Austin parts - his father had an agreement with the Austin Organ Company) that controls both organs.

Both Sunday Masses (the 9 AM Ordinary Form and the 11 AM Extraordinary Form) are in the Main Church. All of the Christmas Masses were also in the Main Church. The 9 AM Mass was Jacob at the organ and no cantor. The cantor also sang the vigil Mass, and was due in for the 11 AM Mass. Here is the music list for the Mass I attended, celebrated by Father Joe Santos (current pastor), and concelebrated by Father Jude Onochukwu (chaplain for the African Mass community who has an excellent sense of chant - he came to Holy Name about a year before I left there).

O come, all ye faithful...Adeste, Fideles
Psalm was recited (which surprised me, as I ALWAYS saw to it that it was sung, even if I had to sing from the console)
The Mode VI Alleluia was intoned by Father Santos.
The dialog before the Gospel was intoned by Rev. Mr. Alfred Marcello, a parishioner of Holy Name who will be ordained a priest in June. His First Mass will be at Holy Name. It is my opinion that Deacon Al will make a great priest (not to mention he chants very well).
Hark! the herald angels sing...Mendelssohn
People's Mass (Sanctus and Agnus)...Vermulst
Christ Has Died and Amen...Danish
God rest you merry, gentlemen...English
Joy to the world...Antioch

These next two pictures come from the Lady Chapel, which is adjacent to the Main Church, connected by a short corridor. The 4 PM Saturday Mass is celebrated here (with music), as well as most funeral Masses, some weddings, Marian devotions, and Stations of the Cross.


Sanctuary of the Lady Chapel. Note Mary behind the High Altar.


This is the six-rank Hook and Hastings tracker organ in the gallery of the Lady Chapel. Built in the mid 1880's, this organ is still played regularly.

One of the things I pride myself in was that, in 2000, I was able to talk then-pastor Father Kevin Fisette (of VERY happy memory - I also did the Extraordinary Form Mass with him at St. Leo's for a year, remember) into losing the OCP Muzak Issue and getting Worship III. For the one year that we had the OCP Muzak Issue, I used to create hymnal supplements, which the sexton would place in the back of said Muzak Issues (at my request, and Fr. Fisette's support).

One other thing unique about Holy Name, compared to any other parish I worked for as music director, is that the organist who replaced me kept things going as I had them, and in some cases improved on them. Any other parish that I worked for (or in the case of my last two - got sacked from) would hire people to undo whatever I had going.

Peace,
BMP

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

Merry and blessed Christmas to all readers, listeners, viewers, etc.
I'll be doing my next CVA episode just after the New Year. I've just been busier than a one-legged monkey in a buttkicking contest - 60 hours a week, Christmas shopping, and trying my hand at writing some stand-up comic monologues.

Peace,
BMP

Saturday, December 13, 2008

THIS MONTH'S WTF AWARD

...goes to the English clergy who get their rocks off of bastardizing the texts of the tried, tested, and true Christmas carols.

Story from The Telegraph / RSCT to Argent (who gets a million points for proper use of the phrase "Idiots on Parade") / Snarky remarks mine.

Enduring favourites such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen are being altered by clergy to make them more "modern and inclusive".

But churchgoers say there is no need to change the popular carols and complain that the result is a "festive car crash" if not everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

It comes just a day after a Church of England vicar banned his congregation from singing O Little Town of Bethlehem because he believed its words do not reflect the suffering endured by modern residents of Jesus's birthplace.

Another clergyman has rewritten the Twelve Days of Christmas to include Aids victims, drug addicts and hoodies.

Tell him to save it for the next support group meeting. He'll need all the support he can get after that!

Steve Goddard, co-editor of the Christian website Ship of Fools, which is running a competition to find the worst example of a rewritten carol, said: "It's a festive car crash.

"Half the congregation sing familiar words from memory, while the rest stumble over revised alternatives. Our readers are telling us straight – for some new versions there should be no room at the inn."

Among the "theologically-modified, politically-corrected" carols encountered by visitors to the website are Hark the Herald Angels Sing in which the line "Glory to the newborn King" has been replaced by "Glory to the Christ child, bring".

WTF? Christ is no longer a King? He sure as hell isn't a queen, nor a jack for that matter. So that leaves the King.

The well-known refrain of O Come All Ye Faithful – "O come let us adore Him" – has also been changed in one church to "O come in adoration", both changes apparently made for fear the original was sexist.

"[One reader] wrote in asking if the original line was considered too gender-specific," Mr Goddard said. "But as he rightly pointed out, Jesus wasn't hermaphrodite, neither was he a girl."

But yet, certain clergy want to castrate him, and probably wish to be castrated themselves.

Churchgoers at one carol service will not be allowed to sing the words "all in white" during Once in Royal David's City in case they appear racist, while another cleric has removed the word "virgin" from God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.

Click here for another alteration of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen that was made last year, exclusively for Christus Vincit ANYWHERE (so yes, the alteration was, and still is, merely a joke). It was intended for a segment called Don't Do This at Church!

Real men don't bastardize Christmas carols, except for comic purposes that is!
Peace,
BMP

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A NEW HOLIDAY: TOSSMAS

Posted by Patrick Archbold (link is to his blog post which includes video footage), with an RSCT to Jeff Miller.

A few other Christmas rants and raves:

By the way, how will I be thanking my customers while in a Schwan's uniform as Christmas nears?
Thank you very much, and have a wonderful Christmas.
If the customer replies with "but I'm Jewish"...
Then have a wonderful Hanukkah.
If the customer replies with "but I'm an atheist"...
Then have a wonderful day anyways.

Kudos to Jo-Ann Fabrics for the huge banners (at their store's entrance) that say Let's Make Christmas Together! (albeit a bit early, but at least they're not afraid to say CHRISTMAS!)

I'm already boycotting three radio stations that are normally favorites of mine until Christmas is over: WWBB-FM (101.5 in Providence, aka "B-101"), WROR-FM (105.7 in Boston), and WODS-FM (103.3 in Boston, aka "Oldies 103.3"). These three have been playing non-stop "holiday favorites" (you know, that crap that passes for Christmas music these days) since freakin' All Saints Day. Again - I love Christmas, but when it's Christmas! If I want to listen to that crap non-stop, I'll go to a freakin' mall!

Finally, is it me or is the Salvation Army sending their bell ringers out a bit too early. Earlier this evening as my wife and I were exiting the nearby Shaw's supermarket, there was a bell ringer out there already doing her thing. Now I always throw in a buck or two here and there when I see them, especially as it gets closer to Christmas. Today I did rest this bell ringer assured that I will start throwing money in once it gets closer to Christmas. Thankfully she got her holidays straight and wished my wife and me a happy Thanksgiving (I know - our Canadian readers celebrated their Thanksgiving over a month ago, on our Columbus Day).

Oh, and here's the YouTube version of the Tossmas video. Big kudos to Stuart Shepherd!



Peace,
BMP

Friday, January 11, 2008

SOMETHING THAT BRINGS ME BACK ABOUT 27 YEARS

LL at NLM posted this video clip of Balulalow from Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. This brings back memories of my junior year in high school - just days before Christmas 1980 - when the chorus I sang in went to New York City to sing A Ceremony of Carols, joined by a New York dance troupe. That same troupe came to Rhode Island to join us.

The choir here is from St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England.



My top three personal favorites from the Britten work:
1. Wolcum Yole
2. As Dew in Aprile
3. Deo Gratias

Peace,
BMP

Friday, December 28, 2007

THIS "CHRISTMAS CLASSIC" HITS HOME

OK - any of you West Coast folk ever listen to Bob Rivers on the radio? Bob's been in Seattle for a bit now - KZOK 102.5 FM is his station. I remember him when he did the Bob and Zip Show here in southern New England a couple of decades back (107.3 FM WAAF Worcester/Boston, or as they pronounce it here, "Wistah/Bahstin"). Of course, when Bob went west, he took his "Twisted Tunes" with him (we still have Tom Doyle's "Tom's Townie Tunes" - just as funny).

I stumbled on to this one, pretty much sounds like my current work status. I found this one quite funny (well, not my current work status, but the song).

For the sake of copyright respect for Bob Rivers and KZOK-FM, I'll leave only links...

Lyrics / Audio

Enjoy!
Peace,
BMP

Thursday, December 27, 2007

MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY ON CHRISTMAS

An excellent post on the secularism and consumerism that has eaten up Christmas and simply written it off as "holiday" comes from Dymphna's Well.

Excerpt:
I shudder to think what our more "modern" Christmas songs are telling us. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"? "Santa Baby"? Christmas, like Christianity in general is now something to be put down and made fun of, like the picked-on kid at school.

As Boniface says, "this secular Christmas music exposes how bankrupt our culture is..."

Oh.

No wonder we're depressed. If we don't celebrate the birth of Christ, we are forced to celebrate "Blatant Consumer Day", or perhaps, "Depressing Nostalgia Day", by shopping until we drop and then running to the stores the next day to take it all back, because its not what we wanted.

Boniface, btw, has an excellent post in his blog, Unam Sanctam Catholicam, which Dymphna's post attributes.

All this pretty much sums up much of what I've been trying to say all along.
Peace,
BMP

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MIDNIGHT MASS

Since I was impressed enough with last Sunday's music at St. John the Baptist, I figured I'd go there for Midnight Mass as well (my daughter Jessica came with me this time). When we got into the church, Jessie said to me, "Now THIS is what a church should look like!" (Description of the church here) There was the organist, a trumpet, a flute, and a couple of singers. We got there about "twenty of" (and yes, Midnight Mass was at MIDNIGHT, not 11 PM, not 10 PM --- MIDNIGHT, where it belongs!). I didn't recognize all of the pre-Mass recital, but did manage to catch such titles as Of the Father's Love Begotten (a 3/4 metrical arrangement), Il Est Ne, le Divin Enfant (good choice, especially since there's still some French Canadian blood still looming there), Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, Ding Dong! Merrily on High, and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (which was the very last). All of these sounded great, especially in a beautiful edifice like St. John's.

At midnight came the 12 bell tolls, followed by the reading (chanting would have really been cool) of the Christmas Proclamation, neither of which I've experienced before, but it was really cool. Procession included a pit stop to the manger to place the Newborn King. Mass music went thus:

Cantique de Noel (one verse each, French, then English)...Adam
O come, all ye faithful..."Adeste Fideles"
Gloria...Schutte/"Mass of God's Promise" (the verses were ok, but since the refrain was an altered text, I wasn't too impressed)
Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord...Alstott
Celtic Alleluia...Walker/O'Carroll (I'm not a fan of the Celtic Alleluia, but at least Paul made it actually sound decent)
The First Nowell...Trad. English
Mass of Creation...Haugen (Paul and I got talking after Mass and he had found out that I saw the cantor Sunday and told her "excellent selections, except for Mass of Creation, of course", so he said "I hear you don't like Mass of Creation". I then went and told him how I successfully weaned Holy Name out of it, and the interview/audition at Holy Ghost in '04 where the pastor said "If I hear "Mass of Creation" one more time so help me..." - all in fun friendly fire)
It came upon a midnight clear..."Carol"
Silent night, holy night..."Stille Nacht"
Hark! the herald angels sing..."Mendelssohn" (he played it in G - YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!)

Overall, NICE!

In the peace of the newborn King,
BMP

Monday, December 24, 2007

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS!

Now, what good would Christmas be without a snarky greeting?! :))

Merry and blessed Christmas to all our readers, listeners, viewers, etc.
Peace,
BMP (away from the console for the first Christmas in 26 years)