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!!!


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