Thursday, April 28, 2016

May 8: Ascension Thursday Sunday

At St. Peter Canisius, 8 AM. Third straight year we've sung there for ATS. Give your biceps and triceps a rest and leave SMH at home; bring Adoremus instead.

Introit: Viri Galilei

Kyrie: Missa Brevis (Rossini)

GloriaSanctusAgnus Dei: Mass I

Offertory: Men of Galilee

Communio: Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler Of All Nature [1]

Recessional: Hail The Day That Sees Him Rise (SATB)

[1] I owe an apology for a comment I made on a prior use of this hymn in which I criticized the title. It turns out "...Ruler Of All Nature" is indeed part of the original title for this hymn and not a modern adaptation. I have deleted the comment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

About Last Night...

We were really dragging at last night's rehearsal, but I'm here to say that's not always bad. If we keep up at not keeping up, we may have a future in the cottage industry of doing popular songs at slower speeds. Check out the following 45s played at 33 1/3 (hat tip to MTV):

"Paperback Writer," The Beatles

"Whip It," Devo

And one of the wildest-sounding examples of all: "Jolene," Dolly Parton. Sounds like a guy singing it.

Somehow, I don't think Kathy will ever have us sing the hymn "Slow Down."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mind Blown

Part and parcel of being in RPC is learning things you were never taught--but as a Catholic, should have been--about the Liturgy. 

I was once among those who helped select "four-hymn sandwiches" for Masses, and I was taught to use the Scripture readings as the guide for which hymns to use. By "taught" I mean, "did what everyone else did." I never heard of Sacrosanctum Concilium or the GIRM. I had no idea what rubrics were, except possibly a misspelling of Rubik. All I knew was what GIA, OCP, and J.S. Paluch told me liturgical music should be.

Only today did I learn how hymns should be selected, thanks to Corpus Christi Watershed head troublemaker Jeff Ostrowski. He points out that "the official GIRM (going back all the way to the 1970s) requires that any text replacing the Entrance Chant must be approved by the local bishop." Entrance Chant?! What in the name of Tom Conry is that? Few Catholics know, thanks to post-Vatican II nullification:
On 20 November 2012, the USCCB committee on liturgy confirmed a practice that had been going on for decades behind closed doors. The committee said that several sections in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal can be ignored.
Ostrowski elaborates on this practice:
The Bishops’ Liturgy Committee maintains a principle called “one-for-all,” which says that if any USA bishop approves a substitute text, that same permission automatically extends to every other USA diocese. That means a musician in Los Angeles can use an alternate text approved by the bishop of Philadelphia in 1978. Likewise, a musician in Houston can use an alternate text approved in 1984 by the bishop of Minneapolis. Is this really what the GIRM meant when it stipulated that an alternate text must be approved by the local bishop? Many believe this “one-for-all” rule violates the spirit and letter of the law. 
And by the way:
When the USCCB approves a hymnal—as they often do—the approval does not apply to any of the music inside that hymnal. The approval only applies to certain texts excerpted from the Missal, such as the Ordinary of the Mass.
Read the whole thing, which isn't very long. Then, pick up the pieces of your mind that just blew out of your skull, shove them back in, and come to rehearsal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dance of the Paper Clip Fairies

As the year goes on, you may acquire quite a few paper clips in your binder or among your other choir-related belongings. Feel free to return them to Kathy at a rehearsal; she calls it "a visit from the Paper Clip Fairy." The more paper clips Kathy gets back, the fewer she has to buy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Apr. 24: 5th Sunday of Easter

(Maurice Duruflé, who only passed away in 1986.)

4 PM at the Cathedral. St. Michael's Hymnal this week.

Introit: Cantate Domino (S/A)

KyrieGloria (mp3), SanctusAgnus Dei: Mass VIII

Credo III

Offertory: Jubilate Deo (T/B), Come Ye Faithful Raise The Strain

Communio: Ego sum vitis veraUbi caritas (DuruflĂ©) (S, A, T1, T2, B1, B2)

Recessional: Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven (Ode to Joy)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Another Benefit of Choral Singing

 "We have been building a body of evidence over the past six years to show that singing in a choir can have a range of social, emotional, and psychological benefits. . . . Now we can see it has biological effects too.”
Want to boost your immune system? Sing with us! This article by Tom Jacobs in Pacific Standard cites research showing how choral singing can do just that, even with cancer patients.

HT: RPC alumna Shirley Beasley, who also provided this similar article.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Apr. 10: 3rd Sunday of Easter

4 PM at the Cathedral.

Introit: Jubilate Deo (T/B)

KyrieGloriaSanctusAgnus Dei: Mass VIII

Credo III

Offertory: Lauda anima mea (S/A), Be Joyful, Mary, Heavenly Queen

Communio: Simon JoannesPone Luctum

Recessional: At The Lamb's High Feast (SMH)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Why "Praise And Worship" Is Not Sacred Music

A two-part article by Peter Kwasniewski from One Peter Five (Part One, Part Two) is one of the best arguments I have ever read about why "praise and worship" music is simply unacceptable for the Liturgy. Here are some highlights, with my comments in red:
If the musical style is borrowed from the outside world and brought into the temple, it profanes the liturgy and harms the spiritual progress of the people. [Remember the definition of "profane" in this context; it simply means "not sacred."]
When we hear chant, there is no ambiguity or ambivalence about what it is or what it is for; it breathes the spirit of the liturgy and cannot be mistaken for secular music in any way. [Most churchgoers these days have no problem whatsoever hearing secular music in the Liturgy, but as Kwasniewski points out later, they've had catechesis that ranges from faulty to nonexistent.]
[Praise and worship songs, even instrumentals] do not express or evoke their divine subject or the human person’s spiritual nature with appropriate musical means. The regular metrical beat and the predictable, uninspired melodies suggest a confinement to earthliness and the comfort of familiarity, as opposed to the free-floating word-based rhythms and the soaring, at times capricious, modal melodies of traditional chanting, which so well evoke the eternity, infinity, and ‘strangeness’ of the divine. [How many times has Kathy told us "chant reaches for eternity"?]
Sacred music gently moves man’s emotions in order to support and promote the intellectual activities of meditation and contemplation. This approach corresponds to the advice of the spiritual masters of all ages, who, while recognizing that emotion (or feeling or passion) has a legitimate value and place in human life, are cautious when it comes to fostering it or tapping into it for the ascent of the mind to God. Emotion is more likely to have a clouding or distracting effect than a clarifying or concentrating one; it can lead to an illusion of self-transcendence that is evanescent and disappointing. [I found myself moved to tears as a child when our "folk group" played "Day By Day" from Godspell at Mass. That became my baseline for experiencing God in the Sacrifice of the Mass, pushing aside the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, inter alia. Sacred music is about the Divine, not about How I Feel. St. John of the Cross has a lot to say about this in his writings.]
Ultimately, Kwasniewski argues that with praise and worship music, the good (really, the bad/profane) has become the enemy of the best (the sacred). That is why Kathy doesn't want us to just "get by" with our singing of Gregorian chant and polyphony; we owe our best effort to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as well as to Our Lady, the congregation, the priest, and the Liturgy.