Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Happy fifth birthday to the Contemporary Catholic Music mail list

Five years old Monday. We WERE up to 277 members, but the count seems to be falling off now that a blanket mailer went out. I get notified of the unsubs (there was one), so chances are these are drops for undeliverable mail. Down to 259 as of this posting.

Still, a lively bunch, though I miss many of our early members. And don't let the title throw you - we have our share of traditionalists and noncatholics. And a true international presence, including Canada, New Zealand, England, and Ireland, among others.

Monday, August 25, 2003

In the words of my pal Quilisma:

Moving is one of the fruits of original sin.

[NOTE - picture removed]

Good luck in the new digs, Q.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Report Card

Ugh. An A- in both theory/sightsinging make-up classes, but a C+ in organ. Dr. W. has taken the gloves off - I better start practicing more if'n I want better grades.

I was actually pleased with my progress this summer - we worked primarily on service music, and I was able to take a four week hymn-learning process down to one week by the end of the semester. Of course, I'll still need to be able to learn 4 in a day - for those times when I get a call Friday night for a Saturday mass. But I can still fake 'em pretty well in a pinch. Grade probably would have been better if he could have waited another week to turn them in - my best progress was at our final lesson, a make-up session after grades had been submitted.

Better news - our department finally gets that Wilhelm tracker this year. NOT to AGO specs - 56-note manuals, 30-note FLAT pedalboard, but promises to be a glorious instrument anyhow. I'll miss the Allen toaster, which had a nice warm principal, decent flutes, and a thrilling posaune in the pedal. And fun features like alternate tuning switches, tremulant, and room acoustics emulators. Still, it's a giant leap forward, and my Hammond is nominally AGO (touch is very light, though).

We'll probably start the year with a toaster, and be involved in the organ setup - a great learning opportunity. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 15, 2003

"Hey, some of our best friends are..."

Macomb County stung by stigma of intolerance

A pretty balanced piece from the Freep. Macomb is integrating, slowly, but the county of my youth (Shelby Township, 1969 - 1979) still has the attitude. This is the place that gave us Kirby Holmes, Gil Di Nello, David Jaye, and voted 51% for George Wallace in 1972.

In its defense, though it's a bit of a lame one: I lived in the Martinsburg WV area from 1989-93. It was MUCH worse.

But Macomb has definitely earned its reputation, too. I hope things continue to improve. A faster pace would be nice.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thanks to Gerald Sarafin for this:

Prayer for Acceptance of God's Will

O Lord, I do not know what to ask of You.
You alone know what are my true needs.
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me.
I dare not ask either for a cross or consolation.
I can only wait on You.
My heart is open to You.
Visit and help me, for the sake of Your great mercy.
Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will and Your unsearchable ways.
I offer myself as a sacrifice to You.
I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray.
Pray You Yourself in me.

Attributed to either 17th Century Archbishop Francois Fenelon or Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, depending on your flavor preferences. As Gerald points out, it's nice to have the prayer in cvommon, regardless of the attribution...
Off for a Few

To: The 3rd Annual home Recording Jamfest and Barbecue, Andover, CT, August 8-10.


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

For the benefit of my St. Blog's colleague AAE and the slow but steady stream of Adoremus visitors:

A somewhat more detailed review of the Cincinnati NPM Convention

Joys and sorrows, in no particular order:

1) J. Michael Thompson's Easter Procession (Litpress), a parallel to the stations of the cross, but designed for Easter season, was just excellent, both in concept and implementation. A great idea for giving the Easter season its due, and the ingenious mixing of choral responses with assembly responses really displayed the breadth of options. This is a topic that really deserves its own thread, but the short of it is that it is both innovative and yet strongly rooted in our traditions, and rock solid in its faith foundations. I really hope we take this to the world;

2) Though I'm looking forward to a second reading of the plenum addresses, I found myself largely put off by the one-sidedness of Mitchell and Ciferni's presentations. Coupled with the "GIRM and sacred texts" breakout I attended, which echoed the same point of view, I have to wonder if we limit our efficacy as an organization, in that there's a perception out there that we're squarely in the liberal camp, liturgically. I know at least one music minister who was not allowed to attend by his pastor, for precisely that reason. I believe we might have been served better by hearing a few dissenting voices as well;

3) I really got a kick out of Jennifer Breedlove's "solution" to the bilingual text issue at the WLP reading session. The response was bilingual, but the verses were sung line-by-line, with the choir singing a line in English, holding the last chord, while the cantor sang in Spanish over the held chord. Very nicely done - A very musical and prayerful approach to a thorny problem. I'd used the same approach with Latin and English once (on an Agnus Dei), but never thought to combine Spanish and English that way;

4) Ran into (a) my first choir director, (b) a musician from neighboring parish, (c) a co-keyboardist from an old parish, and (d) a Pittsbugh compadre (whom I'd never seen before or since) from the '99 convention. Seemed like every time I'd turn around, there was another blast from the past;

5) "Clown of God" (WLP) was a truly enjoyable drama, marred only by some serious feedback problems and some heavy mic pops. Funny how you only notice the sound engineering when it falls short. I also have to question whether a typical parish would really be able to pull that off, as claimed in the writeup. Fun nonetheless; and

6) Other magic moments: Val Parker and Rick Reed at the Millennium Hotel piano, Durufle at Pipedreams, discovering Concordia's Laudate and Jubilate series, SAVAE's Ancient Echoes concert, Skyline chili (but I'll stick to Detroit's coneys, thank you), the St. Meinrad Chant workshop, the John Bell concert, and FINALLY getting the NPM Detroit chapter off the ground!!!


Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Canon Law / Labor Law Collide

So much for Catholic teachings on social justice. Kinda reminds me of labor advocate Bruce Springsteen's issues with his road crew a few years back - do as I say, not as I do?

I'd really like to see us (NPM) get something going with the American Federation of Musicians, but this idea seems to get a collective yawn from my colleagues. Maybe they're picturing a Brownsville-type reception...
Thanks to Aristotle Esguerra for the link. I hope he makes the gathering in Milwaukee. I've been gently chided by one of my NPM pals for the lefty comment - he felt it was a pretty balanced presentation. Recordings of the lectures are available from WLP if you're interested. Or the next issue of Pastoral Musician will have the texts.

And --- it seems Adoremus has found me as well. They have a lovely hymnal...

Friday, August 01, 2003

Quote of the Day

Sunday has to be connected to Monday. If it isn't, we aren't who we say we are.

I don't have an attribution, but thanks to fellow musician Ken for sending it...