Monday, July 10, 2017

Square Note: A Review

It took me a while, but I just downloaded the Square Note chant app for my Android smartphone which I mentioned here; the icon appears above. I think it is more than worth the $2.99 I spent; in fact, this is the first app this tech cheapskate has spent any money on.

It has all the propers for the liturgical year, both NO and EF. It has all the ordinaries and many of the other chants we use throughout the year (Stabat Mater, Adoro Te Devote, Salve Regina, etc.). Although I do not believe Kathy would want you to do this on any regular basis, it can be a source of last resort when you forget to bring some or all of your music.

The only downside, and it isn't much of one, is that the app plays back midi-sounding files for the pieces instead of the voices on Corpus Christi Watershed et al. It plays them along with the notes flashing if you press the screen at the beginning or in any other section. I recommend against how it runs through, say, the Gloria Patri, however; that staccato is exactly what Kathy doesn't want.

Perhaps best of all, each app download benefits its creators, the Oblates of St. Joseph in the United States. It's available for both Android and iPhone.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kathy at the Colloquium

Kathy will soon be returning from her Tradition Unlike Any Other, namely attending the Sacred Music Colloquium held this year in St. Paul, MN. Here are a few shots of her, courtesy of New Liturgical Movement:

I'm guessing the fisheye lens was necessary because the photographer was at the edge of the choir loft.
A better shot of Kathy.
Here, I believe she's the one in the sunglasses.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Totus Est

Thus endeth the 2016-17 Regina Pacis Cantorum season.

I'd say the biggest thing we had to contend with this year would be the weather. We prayed for years for an end to our drought, and boy, did we get it, starting with flooding in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City in January, and following with epic snowfall in the Sierras. The flooding even impacted our rehearsals as a flash flood broke out in our parking lot, and a February rehearsal was cancelled when rain instead of snow again hit the mountains.

We suffered a couple losses as benefactor LTG Martin Brandtner, USMC and former soprano Helen Carrico went to receive what we pray are their eternal rewards. Also, we will be dealing with some uncertainty next season as we learned the Franciscans will leave the Cathedral in April 2018.

We managed to make it through the tension of a brutal election season still unified.

We had to take the Harbor Freeway to any harbor, back up 5 miles to the spoon in the road, and get out and cut off our Slausons just to get to Immaculate Conception while construction was going on at Pyramid Highway and McCarran Boulevard. (I miss Johnny Carson.)

We sang at St. Mary in the Mountains church in Virginia City for the first time, accompanied by a barely-in-tune organ and dozens of motorcycles.

And since we could not get out of the season without one more weather note, we left our robes home for today's heated Corpus Christi Mass while a wildfire raged just to the west of Kathy's house. Looks like her development will be safe, although her home did lose power.

Thanks to all of you who sang for making the season memorable, especially those who had never sung with us before. Thank you to Jennifer and Nancy for accompanying us on organ. Thank you to all the parishes and pastors who had us sing for them. Thank you to our patrons and benefactors, known and anonymous. And thanks most of all to the indefatigable Kathy, who almost singlehandedly keeps RPC going.

Enjoy the summer, and as I like to say, find something else to do on Tuesday nights for the next few months. See you in the fall! If you need some summer reading and listening, look here.

BTW, Kathy and I are filling in for the ailing Bob Buschine (who can still use your prayers) as cantors at the Cathedral's 5 PM Sunday Masses, at least until we start singing again.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hot, Hot, Hot

With a forecast high temperature of 94 in Reno tomorrow, disrobing is authorized. Kathy has said we do not need to wear our robes for our final Mass, but we will still want to dress nicely; no jeans or T-shirts, please. Bring plenty of water. We can all therefore start cleaning our robes; unless you somehow were born with no sweat glands whatsoever, your robe is going to need it.

Make sure to hydrate over the next several days as well, as temperatures push toward 100 degrees. It could be worse; we could be in Las Vegas, where 120 is not out of the question next week. In case you forgot, Monday, June 12's high was 60 in Reno, and several inches of snow fell in the Sierras.
Just another June in Reno-Tahoe. (Photo: the wise guys at CHP Truckee. "Now if we could just get our base tan going," they said.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Or Would He Play For The Sacramento Fracto Demum?


(Photo: nba.com)

A brief and humorous tangent into sports:

In a result that delighted many in our area, the Golden State Warriors just captured their second NBA title in three years over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the other one last year. As a result, many sports pundits are talking about whether the Cavaliers might retool themselves like the Warriors did last year, luring all-star Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder. (The satirical Eye Of The Tiber has a funny related story here.)

While Cleveland's LeBron "King" James gets most of the limelight in Cleveland, his point guard has been essential to the team's success, namely, Kyrie Irving (above). That's right, "Kyrie." But he pronounces it "Ki-ree," not "Kee-ree-eh." It's not likely he would become expendable, but with a name like "Kyrie," how could we refuse him in our bass section?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Meanwhile in Baltimore...

(my and Sandy's hometown, in case you didn't know)

The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori, a.k.a. "Baltimore's Powerhouse of Prayer," is within walking distance of the Basilica of the Assumption, the oldest cathedral in the U.S. It has been the only church in the Baltimore area that offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form, an unfortunate situation considering Baltimore's rich Catholic history. Well, the Rorate Caeli blog reports that St. Alphonsus will continue to offer EF Masses thanks to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) taking it over.

Kathy tells me the FSSP is very much in demand, but unfortunately will not be coming to Reno anytime soon. We can always pray that will change; with absolutely no disrespect to those there now, could you imagine the FSSP in charge of Holy Spirit Mission, if not the Cathedral? Recall that we sang for Fr. Timothy O'Brien two years ago, just after he was ordained an FSSP priest.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Jun. 18: Corpus Christi

And then there was one. 4:15 PM at the Cathedral. We've done this Mass pretty much every year, but let us not become complacent.

Introit: Cibavit eos (T/B: mp3)

KyrieGloria (mp3), SanctusAgnus Dei: Mass VIII

Sequence: Lauda Sion

Credo III (mp3)

Offertory: Portas coeli (S/A, mp3); Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All

Communio: Qui manducatSicut Cervus (Palestrina)

Closing: What Shall I Render To The Lord

Monday, June 5, 2017

What's The Password?

Unlike the speakeasy in Horse Feathers, there is no password that will get us into the Cathedral before 4 PM (for 5 PM Mass) anymore. Several of us had to wait outside until the custodian let us in.

This apparently will be the new normal, as a few particular sinners are ruining things for the rest of us sinners. Deacon Richard Ramm announced in the May 21 bulletin:
Thefts continue in the Cathedral. We are even losing items that are bolted to the wall. Until further notice, the church will be closed except for an hour before Masses.
THE CHURCH WILL OPEN:
Weekdays: ONE hour before each Daily Mass & on Thursdays for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. (11:00 AM-1:00 PM MTWF, THU 11:00 AM-6:45 PM)
Saturday: One hour before the morning Mass & from 2:00 PM until the end of the 5:00 PM Mass. (6:30-8:15 AM & 2:00-6:00 PM)
Sunday: ONE hour before the 7:30 AM Mass until after the 11:30 AM Mass & from 5:00 PM Mass until the end of the Spanish Mass. (6:30 AM-1:00 PM & 4:00-8:00 PM) [Emphasis mine; I also made some slight edits for readability]
As I discovered, not only do the cathedral doors have latches on the inside, they also have deadbolt locks that can only be operated with a key. So do not be late for call time (officially 4:15), but don't be too early either.

Thankfully, there was at least some air conditioning in the choir loft yesterday. May that also be the case at our June 18 season finale for Corpus Christi.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

All Right, Hand It In

It's music turn-in time! Recall that Kathy gave you a manila envelope earlier this year; she distinctly asked you to keep it to facilitate turning your music in. If you don't have it, please get another one. Last year, she had us all put the leftover music in a box; to say the least, that didn't go very well. She wound up having to toss many sheets. Ergo, do not submit ANY loose sheets.

Please erase any pencil marks you make on each of these pieces of music unless you want Kathy to give you back the same copy next year or in a future year; in that case, put your name on the front of each piece in pencil.

Things To Turn In (Most Of Which Probably Should Have Been Turned In Sometime Over The Past Nine Months)
  • Other Gospel Acclamation sheets besides SotY I
  • Psalms in numerical order
  • Propers (with the corresponding Communio inside)
  • Holy Thursday or Easter Sunday booklets
  • Hymns or motets in alphabetical order
Note: Do NOT turn in any music that will be used for Corpus Christi until then, June 18.

Things NOT To Turn In (That Is, You Keep Them)
  • Adoremus
  • St. Michael's Hymnal
  • Parish Book of Chant
  • Liber Cantualis
  • St. Gregory Hymnal*
  • Chormisik der Caecilianer* (the "green book")
  • Chants of the Roman Missal* (English)
  • Sheet music of:
    • Asperges Me/Vidi Aquam
    • The eight Gloria Patri tones*
    • Gospel Acclamations, Sundays of the Year I
    • Memorial Acclamation*
    • Repleatur
  • Tutorial sheets on:
  • Any personal copies of any music (throw away/recycle; please don't confuse Kathy)
  • Any schedule printouts (likewise)
*If you have it; not everyone does.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

From Graduale to Godspell

I was born as Vatican II ended and received little catechesis in my schooling, even though the majority of my time was spent in Catholic schools. I barely even knew what Gregorian chant was, although our parish choir did sing some polyphony. But our "folk group" played "One Tin Soldier," "Blowin' In The Wind," and their own composition "It's Fine Today." I sobbed in my pew when I heard "Day By Day" from Godspell [1] played for Communion, but I wonder whether I was having a Jesus moment or just a purely emotional reaction.

Most Masses these days have no one my age in the congregation; I don't think that's a coincidence. You won't either when you read this from CrisisAbandoning Latin Changed Liturgical Music...for the Worse.

Note how the author refers to Tra le Sollecitudini, Pope St. Pius X's attempt to put chant and polyphony back into prominence a century ago when profane masses and other music were seeping into the Liturgy. I discussed that a bit here.

I'll spoil the money quote from the article:
Mass is not supposed to make me musically comfortable—it’s supposed to make me more holy. [2]
Amen.


[1] If you can handle seeing the 1973 film version of Godspell, you won't be able to watch it as you did pre-9/11. For one thing, in the above photo the ensemble is performing the closing part of "All For The Best" atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center, 1,350 feet above street level. It's impossible not to notice the Towers, still under construction at the time, throughout the film.

Some other quick Godspell trivia:

  • I once met Victor Garber ("Jesus"), who went on to have a prominent role in Titanic
  • Lynne Thigpen, who belted out "Bless The Lord," became better known as "Chief" on Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, but passed away way too soon in 2003.
  • Playing the piano in many of the movie numbers was a young keyboardist named Paul Shaffer, who later became David Letterman's bandleader and sidekick.

[2] Emphasis as in the original.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Meanwhile in Nebraska...

Another chant album is topping the Billboard classical charts, and this one comes from the FSSP priests of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary near Lincoln, NE. In Saecula Saeculorum also includes several polyphonic pieces such as Palestrina's Alma Redemptoris Mater and Adoramus Te; you can hear samples at the album link.

More from SFGate here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Sacred Music Podcast

Not with Patrick Stewart, but with Fr. David Friel, courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

June 4: Pentecost

4 PM at the Cathedral. Pray we feel just a little of the air conditioning. Tongues of fire may not do us much good in the loft.

Introit: Spiritus Domini

KyrieGloriaAgnus DeiMissa Prima (Haller; mp3s)



Offertory: Confirma hocBreathe On Me, Breath of God

Sanctus: Mass VIII

Communio: Factus est repenteConfirma hoc, Deus (Aichinger; click the yellow midi icon)

Recessional: Come Holy Ghost (handout)

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 28: Ascension Thursday Sunday

8 AM at St. Peter Canisius. Bring your Green Book to rehearsals. Note too we are singing a Latin Offertory, not an English one. 😎

Introit: Viri Galilei

Kyrie: Green Book, #21 (Haller)

GloriaSanctusAgnus Dei: Mass I

Offertory: Ascendit DeusHail The Day That Sees Him Rise (SATB) (Adoremus)

Communio: Panis Angelicus (Palestrina)

Recessional: Alleluia! Sing To Jesus

Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 21: 6th Sunday of Easter

4 PM at the Cathedral. Here we go down the home stretch for this season!

Introit: Vocem jucunditatis

KyrieGloriaSanctusAgnus Dei: Mass VIII

Credo III

Offertory: Benedicite gentes, O Holy Spirit Come To Us

Communio: Non vos relinquamIf Ye Love Me (Tallis) -- SATB

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

May 7: 4th Sunday of Easter

4 PM at the Cathedral.

Introit: Misericordia Domini

KyrieSanctusAgnus Dei (no Gloria): Mass XVII

Credo III

Offertory: Deus, Deus meus; Be Joyful, Mary Heavenly Queen (SMH)

Communio: Ego sum pastor bonus, Panis Angelicus (Palestrina)

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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Today at St. Mary In The Mountains: A Photo Essay


We had the honor of singing before a comparatively small congregation at St. Mary in the Mountains Church in Virginia City, the first time RPC has sung there. One reason why it was a small congregation (although it wasn't as small as the photo implies, taken before rehearsal started):

We were accompanied by dozens of off-road motorcycles for the Virginia City Grand Prix. (Photo: KTVN.) Truth be told, the sound they made was no worse than the sirens, buses, and motorcycles we hear when singing at the Cathedral.
Kudos to Jennifer for figuring out how to make the aging and out-of-tune organ not sound like someone just scored a goal at a hockey game.
There was plastic sheeting all over the choir loft because of leaks in the roof. Remember, for a time there was no choir loft after the "mad monks" tore it out in a fit of iconoclasm in the late 1950s.
At the end of Mass, a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary renewed their vows. Congratulations!

Other photos:
Bass Mark Deutschendorf, fresh from his 5K Downtown River Run earlier that morning, snapped this nice exterior shot of St. Mary's.
Alto Phyllis Young added this picture of the stained-glass windows adorning the stairway from the choir loft.

Thank you for having us, Fr. Anton Sommer, and we hope you'll bring us back someday! (Maybe when the motorcycle races aren't going on...)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Chant App

(That caption may or may not be a reflection on us tenors and basses from Tuesday...)

Square Note is a new smartphone Gregorian chant app. From its description:
Square Note puts a huge library of Gregorian Chant scores—over 600 unique chants and counting—right at your fingertips. Always wanted to learn how to read square note notation? Always wondered how to find all the amazing Gregorian Chants of the Catholic Church? Square Note brings the ancient music of the Church to your mobile devices, ready for you to utilize in your schola, your choir, or your home.
Available for iPhone or Android for $2.99. HT: New Liturgical Movement.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Apr. 30: 3rd Sunday of Easter

10:45 at St. Mary in the Mountains, Virginia City. Parking may be difficult because of the Virginia City Grand Prix going on that weekend, so the earlier you arrive, the better. Carpooling is a good idea.

At least you only have to bring Adoremus. The SMH doesn't like the higher altitude.

Introit: Jubilate Deo (T/B)

Kyrie, Gloria: Missa Prima (Haller)

Offertory: Lauda anima mea (S/A), At the Lamb's High Feast

SanctusAgnus Dei: Mass XVIII

Communio: Surrexit Dominus (we will not be singing any verses); Ye Sons and Daughters Of The Lord (unison); O Lord, I Am Not Worthy

Recessional: Christ The Lord Is Risen Today

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Prayers Please


To add to our list: For Bob Buschine, cathedral cantor and occasional fill-in baritone with us. From Kathy:
Bob will be home tomorrow. He has had a small stroke (TIA) and has had those before. He has a pinched nerve in his neck. He has an appointment with a neurosurgeon and may have to have neck and back surgery.
Please continue to pray for Bob - and for Gini too!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another RPCer In The News

If you turn to page 6 of the April-May 2017 issue of High Desert Catholic, look who's pictured:
Yep, at lower left is our very own soprano, Eleanor Walls! She is also the coordinator for the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults (RCIA) at St. Michael's Parish. Those who went through RCIA for the past several months were welcomed into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil Saturday night. Thank you for your ministry, Eleanor!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

See You Next Tuesday

We WILL be having rehearsal next Tuesday, April 18. By then, Kathy hopes to have firmed up our Mass at St. Mary in the Mountains in Virginia City on Sunday, April 30. We do not sing on the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday), April 23.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Three Cheers

  1. To bass Eric Olson, who brought his wife and infant son to Mass today!
  2. To Nancy, for filling in on organ today for Jennifer. But we certainly appreciate Jennifer's service to us as well!
  3. Last, but hardly least: to Fr. Paul Fazio who turned 70 today! It was our pleasure to sing for you.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

General Observations on Singing

Some advice for choral singing from nearly two centuries ago, courtesy of The Sacred Harp. HT: Bass Tim Rhodes. I think you'll agree this is still quite valid today, even though we do not sing in Sacred Harp style.
Persons may be well acquainted with all the various characters in music; they may also be able to sing their part in true time, and yet their performance be far from pleasing; if it is devoid of necessary embellishments, their manner and bad expression may conspire to render it disagreeable. A few plain hints, and a few general and friendly observations, we hope, will tend to correct their errors in practising vocal music.
Care should be taken that all the parts (when singing together) begin upon the proper pitch. If the parts are not united by their corresponding degrees, the whole piece may be run into confusion and jargon before it ends.
It is by no means necessary, to constitute good singers, that they should sing very loud, and if the singers of any one are so loud that they cannot hear the other parts, because of their own noise, the parts are surely not rightly proportioned, and ought to be altered. How hard it is to make some believe soft singing is the most melodious; when, at the same time, loud singing is more like the hootings of the midnight bird than refined music. [1]
In applying the words, great care should be taken that they be properly pronounced, and not torn to pieces between the teeth, nor forced through the nose. [2]
The superiority of vocal to instrumental music is that while one only pleases the ear, the other informs the understanding.
Too long singing at a time injures the lungs. A cold or cough, all kind of spirituous liquors [3], violent exercise, too much bile on the stomach, long fasting, the veins overcharged with impure blood, &c., &c., are destructive to the voice of one who is much in the habit of singing. All excessive use of ardent spirits will speedily ruin the best voice.
There should not be any noise indulged in while singing (except the music), as it destroys the beauty of harmony, and renders the performance very difficult, and if it is designedly promoted, it is nothing less than a proof of disrespect in the singers to the exercise, to themselves who occasion it, and to the Author of our existence. [4]
All affectation [5] should be banished; for it is disgusting in the performance of sacred music, and contrary to that solemnity which should accompany an exercise so near akin to that which will, through all eternity, engage the attention of those who walk in climes of bliss.
If singers, when performing a piece of music, could be as much captivated with the words and sounds as the author of the music is when composing it, the foregoing directions would be almost useless. We should therefore endeavor to improve the talent given us, and try to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, making melody in our hearts to the Lord.
The Sacred Music Press takes pleasure in sharing these quaint admonitions, written 150 years ago, and this page may be reprinted. However all other material in [The Sacred Harp] is protected by copyright and it is both unseemly and quite illegal to reproduce it in any form whatsoever without written permission of the publisher. Blessed are they who respect the copyright laws and keep them, for they make publications such as this possible.
[1] I recall early in my choral singing career, a musically-minded friend of mine said, "I could really hear you!" It took me a while to realize that was not a compliment.
[2] Kathy only reminds us of this at every rehearsal warmup. 
[3] For Kathy's sake, I assume this does not include wine. 
[4] Also applicable when Jennifer, Nancy, or another organist is playing a prelude or postlude piece.
[5] Defined as "behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress." Kind of like this blog...?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

We Alleregretto Nothing!

HT: Scelata at Chant Cafe by way of Kathy, but the original author is lost to the anonymity of the Internet. Images added at no extra charge.


New Music Terms

ALLEREGRETTO: When you're 16 measures into the piece and suddenly realize you've set too fast a tempo


ANGUS DEI: To play with a divinely beefy tone

A PATELLA: Accompanied by knee slapping

APOLOGGIATURA: A composition that you regret playing

APPROXIMATURA: A series of notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an "I meant to do that" attitude

APPROXIMENTO: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch

DILL PICCOLINI: An exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes

FERMANTRA: A note held over and over and over and over and . . .

FIDDLER CRABS: Grumpy string players

FLUTE FLIES: Those tiny insects that bother musicians on outdoor gigs

FRUGALHORN: A sensible and inexpensive brass instrument

GAUL BLATTER: A French horn player

GREGORIAN CHAMP: The title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest

PLACEBO DOMINGO: A faux tenor

SPRITZICATO: An indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound

TEMPO TANTRUM: What an elementary school orchestra is having when it's not following the conductor


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Apr. 16: Easter Sunday

4 PM at the Cathedral.

Introit: Resurrexi

Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus DeiMissa Prima (Haller)

Sequence: Victimae paschali laudes

Vidi Aquam (following renewal of baptismal promises)

Offertory proper: Terra tremuit
Offertory hymn: Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (SMH)

Sanctus: Mass VIII

Communion: Pascha nostrumHaec Dies (Byrd)

Dismissal and blessing: Regina Coeli

Recessional: Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts To Heaven (SMH)