Thursday, October 03, 2013

I love my choir! Kidney stones? No so much.

Ew....what an disjunct, incongruous title. So, just the sort of impetus to resume the push/pull perils of personal blogging! A dear friend of mine from CMAA has just started her own liturgical music blog as a way of chronicling the trajectory of her increasing duties as choirmaster at her parish. And that reminded me that I haven't checked in here for quite a spell. We've all come a long way since my last post, particularly in the realm of embracing the new papacy of HH Francis. Here's my simple take: on my way to Weight Watchers yesterday afternoon, I stopped by the Catholic bookstore as I'd noticed in our entry-way I had neglected to have a portrait of our current pontiff next to his predecessors. So, I have an erzatz but not unpleasant rendering of him to put up on the lintel next to "my" pope, Emeritus Benedict XVI. But, I'm going to wait to go up the ladder until the ailment passes. Any abdominal movement right now is, um, quite unpleasant. Regarding my love for the choir, we have started our 20th year together by a collective review of the settings of the Ordinary settings we've employed since the promulgation of Missale Romanum 3, in English. I've had some qualms about the results of a couple of settings regarding FACP, though the settings (Chris Mueller's MISSA EDITIONE TERTIA and Jeff Ostrowski's MASS OF THE ENGLISH MARTYRS)are artistically impeccable. As one of my tenors simply, obviously remarked "They (the PiPs) like to listen." But the heirarchy of sung "things" from Musicam Sacram do nag at me, particularly with the singing of the Sanctus. Next to the Pater Noster, the responses to priestly cantilations, the singing of ALL of the Sanctus is, to me, a tangible necessity for participatio activa by ALL. So, we've started with the Eucharistic Acclamations of Msgr. Mancini based upon Holst's THAXTED. So far so good. And that provided the added benefit of reintroducing the ICEL Kyrie/Gloria at the front end of the Mass. The upshot of all this is that our Schola Choir is so capable. I can put out some SATB motets such as an Ingeneri "O bone Jesu" or Pierre de la Rue's "O salutaris" and they'll read right through it with relative ease. We may not be many in numbers, but we continue to grow in both numbers and competency. It makes my job so much more rewarding. And then, preparing the seasonal concerts becomes an easier task because the time alotted it is greater for their wonderful discipline. And did I mention they can be ready to sing Richard Rice's amazing Choral Communio settings (not the Simple Choral Gradual) after a couple of run-thru's, as well as sight read Adam Bartlett's Simple English Propers! I love my choir. Perhaps that's why I need to have episodes with kidney stones now and then; to bring me back to earth by the natural method of maladies that aren't unlike the mustard seed parable. After all a kidney stone can be miniscule (don't look at one through a microscope, though, it's scary!)I think it must be the potassium in the bananas! Blessings to all.