Wednesday, March 31, 2004

All Things Must Pass

Six and one half years on my current project. Today's the last day.

When I interviewed, they warned me it might last more than a year. I grudgingly accepted. Now that I've been here roughly quintuple my intended stay, I wish it were continuing.

Actually, it is continuing, but only at about 1/4 - 1/3 its prior levels, and I'm one of the "casualties". It's not really as negative as that, because assignments are supposed to be of a finite duration. But these are uncertain economic times, and you never know where the next gig is coming from. And I got real comfy here. I'll especially miss the friends I made here. But many of them are leaving too, or have left already.

So starting tomorrow, I'll be reporting here:
Compuware Headquarters, Detroit, MICompuware At Night>
rather than that nondescript set of office buildings behind the Speedway Station in South Lansing where i've been showing up for the last eighty months, more or less. 52 mile drive instead of 107 (one way!!!). Still about an hour and a half, but maybe less wear-n-tear on the Alero --- a 2001, already up to 108,000 miles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Man Confesses After Seeing 'The Passion'

Huh. God moves in mysterious ways.

Works for me.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Humble bishop inspired others:

"'I'm Ken, and I'll be your servant.' "

Requiescat In Pacem, Bishop Untener. Your influence went far beyond the borders of your diocese. Without seeing you, we love you.

May the angels welcome you to paradise.

Monday, March 22, 2004

The Trouble With Catholic Social Teaching by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

The salutary process by which the free market leads to an ever-higher standard of living occurs without having to threaten violence against anyone or to confiscate anyone’s wealth by force. It certainly occurs very much in spite of destructive and ill-considered campaigns for a "living wage" – carried out, all too often, in the name of Catholic social teaching – which utterly fail to understand how this process occurs and which only make it more expensive to hire people in the first place.

I mostly disagree - Woods is battling a few straw men of his own making here - but an interesting read nonetheless. Thanks to Mark Owen for the link.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Happy Birthday, J. S. Bach!

319 today. You rock my world, man.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

RIP, Sydney Carter:

"Lord of the Dance" composer dies at 88.

"I did not think the churches would like it at all. I thought many people would find it pretty far flown, probably heretical and anyway dubiously Christian. But in fact people did sing it and, unknown to me, it touched a chord. . ."

My late sister's favorite hymn - we sang it through choked-back tears at her funeral - and one of mine as well. St. Cornelius parish also took to it fondly. It was an Easter season staple there. Old Fr. Dunn remarked more than once, "You sang that like a bunch of Protestants!" It was meant as a compliment, he explained. Good thing, I'm not sure the pew choir was exactly pleased, at least until they got the explanation.

BTW, this has virtually nothing to do with Michael Flatley or clogging. He just borrowed the song title for his revue, and set a dance to its tune (Shaker Song). Sad that generations of non-churchgoers won't know the hymn, but only the show.

Friday, March 19, 2004

MATINS OF THE RESURRECTION - The Schola Cantorum of Saint Peter the Apostle, J. Michael Thompson, director.

A CD of Byzantine Chant for Easter from my pal JMT and his choir.

Troparion, Tone 2,6;
Invocation and Troparion with Verses;
Tone 5 podoben (Christos Voskrese);
Litany of Peace;
Resurrection Canon, Ode 1, Ode 3;
Hypakoje (Tone 4 samopodoben 'Predvarivsija';
Resurrection Canon, Ode 4, Ode 5, Ode 6;
Kontakion and Oikos, Tone 8;
Sticheron, Tone 6;
Resurrection Canon, Ode 7, Ode 8, Ode 9;
Exapostilarion, (samopodoben, 'Plotiju');
The Praises, Tone 1;
The Paschal Stichera;
Litany of Supplication;
Litany of Fervent Supplication;
Paschal Dismissal

And watch for his new CD, now released, but not on the web page yet - "Annunciation of the Theotokos: Vespers and Matins"

Also recorded by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle, this gives the moveable parts of the services of Vespers and Matins for Mar. 25, sung in harmonized prostopinije, including the entire Canon of the feast. This is a dialogue between the Archangel Gabriel and the Theotokos (i.e., Mary). The services contain many melodies which would only be heard on this feast.

The only place you can purchase it is the Byzantine Seminary Press.

Byzantine Seminary Press
3643 Perrysville Avenue
P.O. Box 7626
Pittsburgh, PA 15214

If you haven't heard the St. Peter Schola before, you're missing a real treat. Highly recommended.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"Abraham", by Bruce Feiler - Harper Collins Publishers

I had the privilege of singing at the 30th annual Livonia (MI) Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast with my college chorale this morning. We sang twice, four songs all together:

Kyrie - Hassler
Alleluia - Thomson
Abide With Me - arr. Hogan
Ain't That Good News - trad (Tuskegee arrangement)

Plans for a fifth tune, Moses Hogan's arrangement of "I Can Tell the World", were scrapped - probably for time considerations, but there's been some question about the way we're performing it - we ignore the score's "swing all 16th notes" directive up front, ostensibly because Mr. Hogan has anecdotally instructed that it be sung straight - but a fellow chorale member has sung this song WITH Hogan - and they swung it. In fact, he quoted Hogan as specifically chewing out a member who wasn't swinging the beat properly - "What are you, a robot?" LOL.

Whatever - I have this, perhaps unfair, perception of conservatory types as just not getting it. Our director commented that Hogan was very precise, and "would have written in triple time if he wanted triplets." NO NO NO NO!!!! Swing is not triplets, at least not in its best form. A "shuffle", a specialized form of swing used in blues, particularly blues rock, DOES use triplets. But most forms of swing stop short of a full triplet, where the first (16th, in this case) note gets 66 2/3 % of the beat it subdivides, and the second note gets the remaining 33 1/3 %. Most true swing ranges from ~ 60/40 to ~ 65/35 --- later versions (Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal) being less pronounced than earlier versions (Duke Ellington, and Count Basie in particular).

So you don't write it in triple time because it's NOT in triple time, unless the conductor (or rhythm section in a combo setting) chooses to do a shuffle. But nobody in choral music circles seems to understand this. Can you feel my frustration? Anyhow, kind of glad we skipped it.

I linked our guest speaker above. He's been actively working for a meeting of the minds among the various "Children of Abraham" - Christians, Moslems, and Jews, and offered some great insights into how we got ourselves into the mess we did. His "Abraham Initiative", a ground level program designed to institute interfaith dialog, is an inspiration. I bought a few copies of his book, I'm hoping my Pakistani Moslem friend and I will get a chance to both read it before we part ways at the end of the month, as our work project draws to a close and our respective companies send us both elsewhere.
The Rising Tide of Uncollected Wisdom

Everyone welcome Jerry to the blogosphere! It's always a kick to see my non-blogging compadres fire up their weblogs for the first time. Jerry's an organist from Southern Cali, with a serious technical bent, and strong on RC theology and liturgy issues as well - I've learned a lot from him.

Not sure what's up with the formatting - his code looks okay. Maybe a Radio Userland thing?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Gather Comprehensive Hymnal, Second Edition

The Short of It:

If you liked the green book, you'll like the red book. If you didn't, you won't.

Seems like a bit more hymnody than before, but nothing approaching the (optimal, IMO) blend found in RitualSong. It also appears to be lighter on OCP content this time, and I was surprised to find that psalm paraphrases still abound in the psalm section. Given the anticipated directives of Liturgiam Authenticam, I was expecting to see the paraphrases moved in with the hymns, and only exact NAB text remaining in this section.

My new parish uses nothing in the pews, and only "Lead Me Guide Me" for the choir. That's unlikely to change. I will soon begin subbing at a second parish - this one uses the green hymnals. Not sure yet if they're planning a change.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Yahoo! News - Church Nixes Good Friday Fenway Hot Dogs

Maybe Fenway oughta serve fishsticks??? Just a thought...

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Helen Hull Hitchcock - Roman Missal Translation Update - Bishops Receive ICEL Missal

Ignoring the usual Adoremus spin, this is pretty interesting. My first read of the acclamations found little to which I would object. I'll read it through a few more times before commenting. As to Adoremus' comments - they're nothing if not predictable.

The most valid criticism I've seen of Vox Clara / Liturgiam Authenticam is that it seems to confuse translation with transliteration. But I understand the concern that anything less than transliteration allows the translator to add his own view. Holy Spirit, Guide Us!!!
The Virgil Fox Legacy:

Virgil Fox Masterclass Series!!! Wowy wow wow wow!

These sound files are the only available audio presentations of Virgil Fox Masterclasses, to our knowledge. They were recorded on a consumer reel-to-reel tape recorder of 1969 vintage, and so exhibit the quality expected from this era. The most important aspect of these tapes is being able to hear Virgil talking to a group assembled in his parlor, and hearing his anecdotes, performing tips, and other timeless — and educational — comments.

The recordings — about twenty-eight, in 45-minute installments — will be added to this website, one each month.

Man, do I want to hear these!!!
eBay item 3902169115 (Ends Mar-14-04 20:30:00 PST) - IM SO TOUGH I VACATION IN DETROIT T-shirt

Only three days, folks, no bids yet, hurry up!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Graytail Adventures

Updated my other site. It needed it. Not so sure about this one, so it keeps its admittedly generic look and feel for now.

I really SHOULD find another Cecilia pic, though - the card pic is pretty widely traveled.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Bernardin's "Seamless Garment of Life" revisited

“Despite its contribution, the consistent ethic manifests several major weaknesses,” said Father Conley. “I think that a certain theoretical haziness has blunted its political effectiveness” in that the consistent ethic of life does not clarify what actions, such as the welfare of a child, are the responsibility of the state and government, and what actions should be left up to the Church and families.

In the contrary, I don't believe that seamlessness rules out prioritization, or different approaches. The political problems faced by seamlessness come from the pro-life movement's uneasy alliance with the fundamentalist right-wing, whose ONLY interest in life is babies - hence their indifference to capital punishment and war and medical access and hunger. If we believe in the SANCTITY of life, then we must believe that it is God's property, not ours. But in our alliance with the right wing, we shy away from seamlessness, because it endangers our meeting-of-the-minds on the key issue of abortion.

The reason nobody's buying seamlessness these days is because no one is selling. Just try to find an anti-abortion anti-war anti-hunger pro-medical access politician out there. They're few and far between, and the dialogue that needs to happen, the one that will turn hearts and minds, is not happening. Sad.

Thanks to Gen X Revert for the link.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Meniere's Disease Information Center -- The Start Page

Dunno if this is what I have, but the symptoms sound close. They don't offer much hope for improvement, but do seem to offer some support. I like this thought:

As a rule of thumb, you should spend at least as much time learning about Meniere's Disease as you do complaining about it.

Heh heh. I've got a 7-day intense steroid treatment program, then my docs are out of ideas. St. Cecilia, St. Jude, pray for me!!!
Massachusetts - Chamber Recital

My good friend, Karl Henning, invites you to a concert event. I've heard a few of these pieces. Three Things that Begin with 'C' is especially charming - light but not "cutesy". Highly recommended, tell him Jay sent you...

First Congregational Church
322 Main St, Woburn, Massachusetts
Sunday, 7 March 2004

Karl Henning (1960): Meditation (2003) & Small Ricercar (1994)

Mark Engelhardt, organ

Henning: Prelude on "Kremser" (2002)
Henning: Three Things that Begin with 'C' (2002)
i. Cats
ii. Clouds
iii. Canaries
Henning: Fantasy on a Tallis Hymn (1997)

Karl Henning, clarinet
Mark Engelhardt, organ


David Bohn (1965): Bagatelles & Epigrams for clarinet solo* (2002)
Henning: Blue Shamrock for clarinet solo (2003)
Henning: Night of the Weeping Crocodiles** (1992/2003)
Henning: Fragments of "Morning Has Broken" (2002)

Karl Henning, clarinet
Stephen Symchych, violin
Mark Engelhardt, piano

* World Premiere
** Massachusetts Premiere


Mark T. Engelhardt is Organist and Director of Music for the
Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Paul, Boston, and Music Consultant for
the Diocese of Massachusetts.

As organist, he has won several competitions, and has been heard in
concert throughout the United States, including Trinity Church, Wall
Street, and Columbia University in New York City; Methuen Music Hall
and Old North Church in Boston; and Bristol Cathedral (England); and
in master classes with Arthur Poister, Marie-Claire Alain, Joan
Lippincott, and Gillian Weir.

He appears as solo organist and choral director on the
recording "Author of Light" of the professional choir and unique
double organ of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. He has been heard
on the American Guild of Organists Sunday morning radio broadcast,
and is heard regularly on the "Sunday at St. Paul's" broadcast every
Sunday on Boston's Classical station WCRB, 102.5 FM.

Mark has served as Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild
of Organists.


Stephen Symchych's violin teachers include Carol Stein Amado and
Arturo Delmoni. He also holds degrees from Haverford College
(History), and the Yale School of Management (Strategy, Finance).

Stephen is a violinist in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, which
organization he also serves as Treasurer. When he is not playing
music, he works as an investment consultant at Cambridge Associates,
where he is a Managing Director. He lives in Newton with his wife and
two children.


Karl Henning fell in love with the sound of the clarinet at age 10
and has been learning, practicing and creating music ever since.

Formally, Karl holds a B.Mus. with double major in composition and
clarinet performance from the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio)
where he studied with Jack Gallagher, Paul Schwartz and Nancy
Garlick; a M.A. in composition from the University of Virginia
(Charlottesville, VA) where he studied with Judith Shatin, Walter
Ross and Douglas Hargrave; and a Ph.D. in composition from the
University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY) where he studied with Charles
Wuorinen and Louis Andriessen.

After his doctoral work, Karl lived for four years in and near St
Petersburg, Russia. There he studied the canals, bridges, cathedrals,
white nights and starry winter skies of St Petersburg. This was a
period of informal arts study, which in many ways he considers of
equal importance to his years of formal training.