Saturday, December 18, 2004

Notes from the Music Guy IX

We haven't had a lot of time to prepare, but: Yes, Virginia, there is a choir. We'll be singing at the "midnight mass", which is actually at 10:30pm on December 24th - prelude will start at 10pm. And we'll sing at the following two Sunday masses, 11am on the 26th, the Feast of the Holy Family, and 9am on January 2nd, the Feast of Epiphany. We'll be singing some old favorites, and some new songs too. We're also hoping to be able to do some caroling to the local senior homes, and perhaps with McRest as well.

I'd like to thank the choir members for their warm welcome and enthusiastic participation, and for helping me learn how to conduct a choir. I'm still struggling with the hand motions a bit, but it's getting better.

This will be a rebuilding year of sorts for the choir, but watch for us again around Holy Week and Easter season. If you'd like to join the choir, please call me at the parish office - there's always room for another voice!

May Christ be the song in your heart,


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Notes from the Music Guy VIII

Different churches use the term "cantor" differently. Sometimes it's a fundamental difference, as in the Lutheran Church, where the cantor was the director of music for the parish. J. S. Bach was the "Cantor of Leipzig", for example - but I don't really picture him standing at the ambo with his arm raised. The Jewish cantor is much more like ours, but cultural differences elevated the cantor of the synagogues into local stardom of sorts - in the first part of the 20th Century, it was common for cantors to hold concerts at Carnegie hall, for example.

Even with modern Catholic worship, the roles are different in different communities. Some parishes have no cantor at all, some have two cantors at each mass. Some have a cantor who leads responsorials and a songleader who leads everything else. And some have a separate post called a psalmist who only proclaims the psalm, along with a cantor and perhaps a songleader as well.

Here, our cantors are stretched pretty thin, so they will serve as psalmist, cantor, and songleader. If you attend a mass where there is no cantor, chances are someone got sick: and our bench isn't deep enough to pull out a replacement at the last minute.

So if you feel called to sing God's praises, and to help the assembly do the same, then you're one of us. And we'd love for you to join the cantors of St. Clement's. We have at least two openings, and the more, the merrier. Please call the parish office and let me know if you'd like to be a cantor.

May Christ be the song in your heart,


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Notes from the Music Guy VII

Kyrie Eleison,
Christe Eleison,
Kyrie Eleison.

There’s a wonderful, subtle difference between the Greek “Kyrie Eleison” and the Latin “Miserere Nobis.” They both translate, roughly, as “Lord have mercy”, but the Greek is a song of praise as well. “Lord, you ARE mercy.” The Roman rite retained this single piece of our Greek heritage in the Mass, because there was no way to convey the same sense with Latin text. Nor is there with English.

So this Advent season, while we must abstain from the Gloria, we can sing the Kyrie in its original Greek, so that we may yet give God the praise that he is due. “Lord, you are mercy.”

May Christ be the song in your heart,