Sunday, December 30, 2007

30 December - Feast of the Holy Family

This one had an interesting division of duty this morning. Because the organist needed to leave early to get to another service at 9.00 am, I ended up playing the Recessional Hymn, as well as the Postlude. Admittedly, I felt rather lazy and didn't start practising these pieces until the night before ... and it still turned out rather well, with a small group of people hanging out at the end of Mass and mobbing me at the console when I finished. It was also rather nice to be complimented by the Presider when he caught me in the Gathering Space as I was leaving ...

Here is the list. As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover).

December 30: Holy Family (Sun. 7.45 am)

Gloria: Mass of Creation
Alleluia: 261 Murray; Verse to Tone VIII-g
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation

Prelude: In dulci jubilo (Seventy-Nine Chorales, Op. 28): Marcel Dupré
Pro: 372 Once in Royal David's City (IRBY)
Psalm: 125, Ps 128, Haugen
Off: 380 What child is this (GREENSLEEVES; Stainer harmonisation)
Comm: 366 God rest you merry, Gentlemen
Re: 362 Good Christian friends, rejoice (IN DULCI JUBILO)
Postlude: In Dir ist Freude, BWV 615: J. S. Bach

For some strange reason, I was feeling so nervous, like I felt like my heart was going to pop right out of my chest! Slipping into the Willcocks descant for Once in Royal David's City for the last verse helped calm my nerves somewhat ... and I sung that without consciously realising it.

Admittedly, I am not very keen on the Stainer harmonisation. That C-sharp kept bothering me!!!

Also too - before the Mass, I chatted with the cantor briefly, and when I told him I was going to take the tempo of the Recessional Hymn at dotted half = 60, he expressed concern that was a little too fast. In my opinion, any slower than that, and it sounds like a funeral dirge. Happily, even though he disagreed with my tempo, he said he would follow along whatever tempo I took. (There's a delay anyway between the organ and the cantor podium, so I wasn't concerned - I figured he'll catch on, even if we're talking the early Sunday morning Mass here.) As I was playing, however, I was able to hear the people singing, and singing this one well, which made me feel really good. (Oh goodie, I can lead people from the console, yay!)

Enough rambling from me ... at least, for the moment ...

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's Official ...

Starting Sunday, 13 January (First Sunday after the Epiphany), I will be the Organist/Music Coordinator at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church and Organist at Episcopal Center at Duke University. It is a joint position, and will be a part-time position as well. I'm excited and scared at the same time. I know I will be able to do the organist bit, but it's the choir directing bit at St. Joseph's that has me a little worried. St. Joseph's is a small parish, but growing, and the hope is that I can help their 5-member Music Ministry grow along with the parish.

I do have some very supportive friends, especially my organ teacher Tim Baker, who also has a Master's in Choral Conducting, so he will be a great resource ... Eddie Abernathy, a good friend who is currently the interim organist/choirmaster at St. Phillip's Episcopal Church ... Charles Culbreth, a friend from California who has heaps of experience in dealing with small group ensembles and a wonderful long-time music educator ... Dan Huff, the director of the UNC Men's Glee Club ... in fact, it was after speaking with Dan that I decided to accept the offer from St. Joseph's and Duke.

So between that and my teaching duties at Campbell University's RTP Campus, I think I should be okay. At least life will get rather interesting for me once term begins, with lots of new challenges for me to tackle.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Priestly Organophile

Here is another post from the PIPORG-L listserv. I think this is a cool story, courtesy of Roy Daniels; if only Clergy Creatures could be as supportive as this RC priest from Corpus Christi, TX:

I had lunch today with my favorite RC priest, in Corpus Christi, TX, and we were discussing his heroic effort to get a pipe organ in his church. He purchased a 1936, 5 rank Wicks from the Wicks factory, about a year ago, and personally flew to the factory, rented a truck and brought the organ back and, with a fellow organist, installed the organ (with a little help from an organ builder friend)...mind you at a total cost of less than $8,000 We were just wondering how many other priests, pastors have gone to this length to get an organ in their church. Everyone at St. Joseph's now thinks it's the hottest thing around...mind you the same people told Fr. Tom that it was a crazy idea, he'd never find an organist...blah, blah, blah. We'd really like to hear some good stories along the same lines..not stories about raising money but stories where the priest personally did the work. I will pass them all along to my good priest friend, who is a very accomplished organist...


If any of you have some great stories along these lines, feel free to share them in the comments section, and I'll in turn post them on the PIPORG-L listserv to share with those people there.

Organ in the movie "Sweeney Todd"

This comes from the PIPORG-L list. Those who have already seen the movie Sweeney Todd commented about the organ played in the film. As it turns out, the organist was Andy Richards, and the listserv member had written Mr. Richards an email, asking about the organ he played.

Mr. Richards very kindly supplied this response:

Thanks so much for your kind email - and I'm so glad that you liked the movie - it was a labour of love for all of us involved with it. I went to Rugby School in my teens (Rugby is a large and famous 450-year-old public school in the UK - I believe that you call them private schools in the US) and so when the Music Producer, Mike Higham, (with whom I've worked closely on the picture) said that he wanted to use a real Cathedral Organ on the score, I suggested that the Rugby School Chapel Organ might be perfect, since I'd studied on it many years ago and knew how wonderful it sounded.

The Organ, in my time, was a large Walker 4-manual electro-pneumatic action beast, but in 2001 it was rebuilt, with funds left by a charity, by Kenneth Jones and Associates. Many of the old pipes remain, but the console was moved closer to the body of the Organ and the action was changed to being tracker action. It is still a 4 manual organ but has has 32' reeds added to the pedals which really helped to give alot more 'ooph' to the score and it is employed throughout the movie. Also, during the rebuild, the reeds and mixture pipes were moved to the front of the organ, outside the main case, to give the sound of the organ more clarity and volume, much needed when playing with a large congregation. Apart from myself, Mike Higham and a sound recording team being there, Tim Burton also came along to witness the recording. We all had a great day out!

I hope that this helps with your question Joe, and I'll pass on your remarks to the rest of the music team involved with Sweeney.

Below, I've added some info about Kenneth Jones, should you wish for more detail.

Kind regards

Andy Richards



Organ Builder Profile:
Kenneth Jones & Associates

Kenneth Jones and Associates design and handcraft unique pipe organs. Each instrument is custom designed architecturally, musically and technically, for its particular location and musical requirements.

The founder of the firm and its chief executive is Kenneth Jones, who was born in Longford, Ireland, in 1936, was educated in Dublin and holds degrees in engineering and in arts. He practised as an engineer in West Africa for seven years and started organbuilding there in 1961, having studied the craft in theory since his schooldays.

Kenneth Jones' executive co-director is Trevor Crowe who holds degrees in music and in engineering. The firm of Kenneth Jones Pipe Organs Ltd. (the corporate name) has a staff of fourteen.

Several members of the team are practising musicians, organists and singers and this contributes to the artistic dimension in every hand-crafted organ which comes from Bray. Kenneth Jones himself has been a frequent performer (harpsichord, organ, piano-accompaniment) on radio and television and, for some years, was principal conductor of the Dublin Orchestral players.

The work of the firm can be found in cathedrals and churches of all denominations, in major institutions including Trinity College Dublin, University College of Dublin, St. Patrick's College Maynooth, the Royal College of Music London, the University of Cambridge, the College of Music Dublin, and in many private homes.

In addition to their work in Ireland, Kenneth Jones and Associates have been commissioned to design and build instruments for other countries, notably the United States, with representatives in several areas. Installations in the United States now comprise a significant part of the firm's work, and considerable experience has been built up from as far south as Florida to as far north as Alaska.

Since he started organ building with his own firm over twenty-seven years ago, Kenneth Jones has been responsible for an Opus list of over 120 organs. Over 80 of these organs have been new (of all sizes up to four manuals) and the others include major rebuildings and historic restorations.

Piæ Cantiones


This comes courtesy of Tyler, who is a contributor to the RPInet Forums. He discovered a scan of the first edition of Piæ cantiones (1582), courtesy of the Finnish National Library. He wanted to point out the Gaudete on page 35. It's on the third page.

Click here to see this extraordinary piece of work.

Happy St. Stephen's Day, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some reflections on the Eve of Christmas

So here I am, sitting and relaxing before the next choir call that is to come at 9.30 pm for an 11.00 pm Christ Mass at Chapel of the Cross. It's been an interesting year thus far, and I find I do have a lot to be thankful for. Despite the fact that I've not been working in a lab since the middle of February, and that I still don't have a full-time job, I'm cognizant of the fact that I'm thankful that I have my life (having had a close call last July in Toronto), I have good support from my friends and family, I do have a part-time teaching position with Campbell University's RTP Campus through their Extended Campus Education program. I'm still healthy, I have a roof over my head, enough food to put on the table.

All in all, I really can't complain. However, I will ask your prayers for a few people:

1. Desiree Zaballero. She is due to undergo a kidney transplant at St. Luke's Medical Centre in Quezon City, Philippines next month. She is definitely a fighter, and this transplant will give her the chance to lead a normal, healthy life. She was the focus at this year's Misa de Gallo that the Filipino community celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church last Saturday (12/22/07), and I know the support from the local Filipino community was definitely appreciated.


2. Orlando Torneros (pictured on the left) is my sister-in-law's father. The Torneros' as well as my brother and his family decided to go on holiday at Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, Tito Andy fell ill, and he ended up suffering pneumonia and a mild heart attack. The last I heard, Tita Beny is trying to find a place to stay over there as they don't want to move Tito Andy back to Sacramento just yet. I just hope he pulls through, so please pray for his recovery.



3. Eric Cabrera (pictured with my cousin Trisha) is the 1 1/2-year old son of my cousin, Beverly. He was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Luckily, his twin, Dylan, was not similarly affected. Understandably, Beverly, as well as her parents, Tito Ver and Tita Tessie (my mum's youngest brother and his wife, respectively) are shell-shocked over this, but hopefully with prayers and support, Eric will be able to pull through this.

I hope you are all well. Happy Christmas to everyone!

Christmas Eve Festival Service of Lessons and Carols

A friend of mine asked me to sing with his choir for their Festival Service of Lessons and Carols at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham. It was great fun, and it was a wonderful group to work with.

Here is the line-up:

MUSIC BEFORE THE SERVICE
Pachelbel: Chorale-Prelude on Vom Himmel hoch (Trio)
Lebegue: Noël varié pour organ: "Puer nobis nascitur"
Daquin: Noël Suisse, Grand Jeu et Duo
Adam: O Holy Night, R. Benjamin Hutchens, II, baritone
Reger: The Virgin's Slumber Song, R. Benjamin Hutchens, II, baritone
Poston: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Gallery Choir of St. Stephen's
Brahms: Chorale-Prelude on Est ist ein Ros' entsprungen

PROCESSIONAL HYMN
Once in Royal David's City (IRBY)

CAROL
King Jesus hath a garden: Traditional Dutch, set by Charles Wood

FIRST LESSON
Genesis 3

CAROL
Adam lay y-bounden: set by Boris Ord

SECOND LESSON
Genesis 22

HYMN
Angels from the realms of glory (REGENT SQUARE)

THIRD LESSON
Isaiah 9

CAROL
Sussex Carol: arranged by David Willcocks

FOURTH LESSON
Isaiah 11

CAROL
Personent hodie: Piae Cantiones, arranged by Gustav Holst

HYMN
Lo, how a Rose e'er Blooming (ES IST EIN ROS' ENTSPRUNGEN)

FIFTH LESSON
Luke 1

CAROL
Bogoroditse Devo: Ave Maria, set by Sergei Rachmaninoff, sung in Old Church Slavonic

SIXTH LESSON
Luke 2

CAROL
How Sweet is Love: Dutch Carol, set by Michael Paget

HYMN
The First Nowell: arranged by David Willcocks

SEVENTH LESSON
Luke 2

CAROL
Shepherd's Carol: Music, Suffolk Harmony; Words by William Billings

EIGHTH LESSON
Matthew 2

CAROL
We Three Kings of Orient Are

NINTH LESSON
John 1

HYMN
O Come, all ye faithful (ADESTE FIDELIS)

HYMN IN PROCESSION
Joy to the World!

MUSIC AFTER THE SERVICE
Pachelbel: Chorale-Prelude on Vom Himmel Hoch

This took place at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church; the choir was directed by Dr. R. Benjamin Hutchens, II, and the organist was Dr. Joseph Kitchen.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

An Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols

Here is the Order of Worship for Advent Lessons and Carols at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill.

Opening Voluntaries
Chorale Improvisation on In dulci jubilo (Op. 75 No. 2): Sigfrid Karg-Elert
In dulci jubilo (Seventy-Nine Chorales, Op. 28): Marcel Dupré

Hymn in Procession
Once in royal David's city (IRBY)

Invitatory Anthem
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence: Liturgy of St. James, set by Edward C. Bairstow

The First Lesson
Genesis 3:8 - 15

Carol
Adam lay y'bounden: 15th Century Carol, set by Frank Boles

Lighting of the Advent Wreath
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, vs. 5, 6 (VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL)

The Second Lesson
Isaiah 11:1 - 4

Carol
The Lamb: Text by William Blake; set by John Tavener

The Third Lesson
Isaiah 9:2, 6 - 7

Carol
People, Look East (Besançon Carol; set by Craig Phillips)

The Fourth Lesson
Isaiah 60:1 - 6, 9

Carol
Look Up, Sweet Babe: Text by Richard Crashaw; set by Lennox Berkeley

The Fifth Lesson
Luke 1:26 - 38

Motet
Ave Maria: Franz Biebl

Hymn
Joseph dearest, Joseph mine (RESONET IN LAUDIBUS)

The Sixth Lesson
Matthew 1:18 - 23

Carols
A Spotless Rose: Herbert Howells
A Babe Is Born: William Mathias

Carols During Offertory
My Dancing Day: English Traditional Carol; set by John Rutter
Unto Us Is Born a Son (PIAE CANTIONES; set by David Willcocks)

At the Presentation
Festival Doxology (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)

Benediction and Choral Amen

Hymn

Of the Father's Heart Begotten (CORDE NATUS EX PARENTIS)

Closing Voluntary
In dulci jubilo: Johann Sebastian Bach

This will be presented in identical services of Lessons and Carols tomorrow morning at 9:00 am and 11:15 am, by the Junior and Senior Choirs of Chapel of the Cross; Dr. Wylie S. Quinn, Organist and Choirmaster, with Dr. Susan Moeser accompanying the choirs on the organ.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My absolute favourite setting of Ave Maria

While browsing on YouTube, I came across a vid of my absolute favourite setting of Ave Maria by Josquin des Prez. I came to know this setting thanks to my singing in a small Schola in Chapel Hill, singing Compline services every Sunday night of the academic school year. We just finished for the Fall Semester, and won't start up until after a week after the Spring Semester has started.

We haven't done this setting for a while, with the Choirmaster instead opting for settings by Arcadelt, Verdonck, and Victoria, and I will admit to really missing singing this one.

I don't think it's the best quality recording, but it was enough to bring back happy memories.

Enjoy!

The Contribution of Filipino Catholics

Finally, something positive about Filipinos. Here's something very positive written by Steve Ray about Filipinos. (Hat tip goes to Carmen Castañeda, who sent this to me via e-mail.)

Mr. Ray wrote an Open Letter to the Filipino Catholics in his blog. He wrote this letter for a parish bulletin in Manila, and thanks to publication in all the Filipino newspapers, as well as word-of-mouth through the Filipino Diaspora, this has been circulated widely throughout the world.

I share this with you here because it's a beautiful message about the faith of the Filipino Catholic. If anyone were to ask me, what does it mean to be Catholic and Filipino, I would refer them to this link.

It is truly an inspiring letter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Christmas Meme

Duly "picked off" from Christus Vincit - The Blog! although the jist of this meme is very similar to the survey my friend Summer passed along to me on MySpace.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Does it matter? Isn't it the thought that counts?

2. Real tree or artificial?
Usually artificial, unless my brother has a say in it.

3. When do you put up the tree?
When I'm at home in San Diego, we put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?
On or around January 6.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Not very keen on it. My system can't take it in very large doses.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Interestingly enough ... I don't recall.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
Yes, several. The favourite is the one Mum and I made at 32nd Street Naval Station's craft centre. We were into ceramics, and we painted a Nativity set. I believe it is still at home today, and gets displayed every Christmas season.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My brother. What do you get for the man who has everything?

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Bath towels from a certain relative who shall remain nameless.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
They each have their merits. I'll have to admit that I am having loads of fun with Facebook's SuperPoke application - sending a Grinch after someone is loads of fun. So is tossing an elf at them ...

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Don't really have one.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Well ... in the days when I had money ... I generally kept my eyes open all year so that I'm not rushing at the end of the year. Sometimes, if I'm making my prezzies, I start early, like July.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Er ... yes.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Anything from the Noche buena table. What is Misa de Gallo without puto bumbong, bibingka, suman, arroz caldong manok, or salabat? Some of my rellies like the queso de bola, but that's one thing I can do without. (Despite one of my earlier posts, no, I am not a cheese fan.)

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Coloured

16. Favorite Christmas song.

"Once in Royal David's City," although I also have a soft spot for Bairstow's setting of "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," the Holst setting of "In the Bleak Mid-Winter," as well as both the Victoria and Lauridsen settings of "O Magnum Mysterium." So I'm a choir geek, okay?

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Well, considering that I live far away from home, I guess it would have to be travel.

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer.
Er ... I don't really care.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Angel

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
It depends on our church going plans ...

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Christmas shopping. Enough said.


One more question that I think is worth including with this worthy meme that comes from Summer's MySpace survey:

22. What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?
I used to think our custom of travelling to relatives' houses, both in San Diego and LA was a little forced. I appreciate it more now though as when we get together, we genuinely enjoy each others' company, plus we are graced with a visit from Santa Claus :-)

TAG YOU'RE IT, anyone who wants to pick it off.

Friday, December 7, 2007

E-Mail Prayer Brigade from Fr. James Reuter

A friend of mine just sent this to me via e-mail. In general, I don't make it a habit to forward things I receive via e-mail unless it's a particularly riveting piece.

Fr. James Reuter, S.J. is credited with initiating this Prayer Brigade, and has asked members of the worldwide Filipino Diaspora to: 1. Forward the text to everyone they know; 2. Pray. The meaning will be clear with his prayer below.

--

THE ONLY HOPE FOR THE PHILIPPINES
by Father James Reuter, S.J.

The signs are clear.

Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence. It is not for lack of effort. We've seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups & people's organization devote themselves to the task of nation-building, often times against insurmountable odds.

But not even two people revolutions, bloodless as they may be, have made a dent in reversing this trend.

At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward. We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster.

It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It's time to claim God's promise of healing of the land for His people. It's time to gather God's people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. Is prayer really the answer?

Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I'd like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history.

England's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fuelled by intense prayers.

The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life.

Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movement swept across the land.

In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today, led by Rev. Paul Yongi Cho. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering.

Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling & seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity. YES, we believe prayer can make a difference.

It's our only hope.

Today, we launch this email brigade, to inform Filipinos from all over the world to pray, as a people, for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. We do not ask for much. We only ask for 5 minutes of your time in a day, to forward this email to your close friends and relatives.

This is the kind of unity which can make a big difference. Of course, if you feel strongly, as I do, about the power of prayer, you can be more involved by starting your own prayer group or prayer center. We have tried people power twice; in both cases, it fell short. Maybe it's time to try prayer power.

God never fails. Is there hope? YES! We can rely on God's promise, but we have to do our part.

If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land. By God's grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. God bless and God save our country will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.'(2 Chronicles 7:14).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Some thoughts on Course Preparation

So here I am, with a month left before I teach my first Chemistry course solo. I've TA'd Organic Chemistry lab courses in graduate school, so that's pretty much old hat to me, but taking the reigns for a lecture course is a new and different thing for me. I'll be teaching Chemistry 101, Elementary Chemistry for the Spring I 2008 term. It's the Chemistry course for non-Chemistry majors. We have 8 week terms, so I'll have to squeeze in a 14-week semester course into those 8 weeks. I'll have to be innovative - TPTB want me to teach this as a "Blended" course, relying heavily on Blackboard - class "meets" two days/week, 8 hours total. Only 4 of those hours is actual face time; the rest 4 hours will be "virtual" time. I've decided I was going to use "virtual" class time to have the students download lectures in PowerPoint format. I'm going to ask them to visit the website for their textbook for extra on-line quizzing to ensure they're picking up the material. I'm also going to require them to participate in an on-line discussion forum through Blackboard, and to ensure they do that, they will be marked on the extent of their participation.

Dr. Andrew Bryan at the Main Campus is doing his Blended Course opposite to me - he's designing experiments that students will be able to do at home, with a Chemistry 101 Lab Kit they made available for their students. He showed me the cutest portable balance. The cost is reasonable, and after they finish the course, the balance may find uses elsewhere (for me, the Foodie, I'm thinking kitchen). However, I'm not all that comfortable with the thought of having students try to do experiments on their own. But on the other hand, I'm not all that comfortable leaving the students to their own devices as far as picking up the material is concerned either. I will do a one-hour lecture on days we meet in class, but really just to hit the highlights (or the lowlights, if you're not a Chemistry fan), and to give the students the opportunity to ask any questions they have on materials in the PowerPoint files and/or the textbook, as well as to give them a chance to ask questions on homework I've assigned. I may also use that time to administer exams, although there is also the option of having students take their exams on-line.

Most of the face time will be spent doing labs in-class. I just took inventory of materials and such we have in the lab that would be appropriate for Chemistry experiments. We are sorely lacking in materials, so I'm going to have to get cracking as to what experiments we can do with our limited equipment, as well as what equipment we would have to get in the first place just to ensure we'd be able to teach the course so as to be beneficial to the students.

At this point, I hear four students have registered for the course. Most of the registration, however, will take place over the next couple of weeks, so that number could very easily rise, but I believe TPTB will cap the class size to 20, maximum.

We'll see what happens. I only hope I can do the course justice, and that the students will come away from the course with an appreciation of Chemistry, and that it is not the scary science that many non-Chemists seem to believe that it is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Working with an instrumentalist -- or not

This comes courtesy of the PIPORG-L list. Larry Wheelock of Kenwood United Methodist Church in Milwaukee, WI shared this hilarious video with the list. My rudimentary translation of the Italian reveals the, er, "instrument" as a makeshift horn constructed with a heater hose and parts of a truck horn.

Some interesting comments I've received thus far:

"I want that hose!"
"What?! No ornaments!?"
"That is outstanding ... I'll have to find some garden hose now ..."
"Sounds God-awful, but that is hilarious, a riot!"

The message Larry included with his post:

In this busy season many of us will find ourselves working with various instrumentalists. They can be demanding, fussy, and annoying, but this organist seems to have found a workable solution...

For your listening...(pleasure?)


Enjoy!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

2 December - Advent I

I'm cantoring the 7.45 am Mass tomorrow morning. Here is the music list:

December 2: Advent I (Sun. 7.45 am)

Kyrie: 175, in English
Alleluia: 177 Mode VI; Verse to Tone 6F ("Let us see your kindness, O Lord, and grant to us your salvation.")
Sanctus: 180 People's Mass
Mem. Accl., Amen: 181, 182 Danish
Agnus Dei: 184 XVIII, in English

Pro: 318 People look East (BESANCON)
Psalm: 120 Ps 122 (Joncas)
Off: 333 O Come, Divine Messiah (VENEZ, DIVIN MESSIE)
Comm: 328 My Soul in Stillness Waits (BEDFORD ABBEY)
Re: 323 Come, thou long expected Jesus (STUTTGART)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christopher Ryan Leggett - Concert Program

The final Bach's Lunch recital of the Fall 2007 Semester featured Christopher Ryan Leggett, a senior Organ Performance major at UNC Chapel Hill, studying with Dr. Susan Moeser. He is also the Assistant Organist at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, NC. He gave a wonderful recital, and is yet another young organist who I'm sure will be making his mark in this area and beyond in the future.

With that, here is his program:

J. S. Bach: Three settings of Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (BWV 662, 663, 664)

César Franck: Chorale No. 3 in a minor

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ellen Williams and Tim Sparks - Concert Program

Mezzo-soprano Ellen Williams and tenor Tim Sparks gave a wonderful program yesterday afternoon at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Accompanied by a 13-piece orchestra under the baton of Scott Tilley, Williams and Sparks presented the Schönberg orchestration of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). Six poems from Die Chinesische Flöte (The Chinese Flute, tr. Hans Bethge) were set to music. These poems were imbued with a sense of nature: a certain, almost imperceptible uneasiness developed into a resigned acceptance of man's mortan condition, finding consolation in the intimate contact with nature. Mahler made a personal connection to these pieces, thanks to his ailing health. Mahler completed this work in 1909, two years before his death.

Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)
  • Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde (The Drinking Song of the Sorrow of the Earth)
  • Der Einsame im Herbst (The Lonely One in Autumn)
  • Von der Jugend (Of Youth)
  • Von der Schönheit (Of Beauty)
  • Der Trunkene im Früling (The Drunkard in Spring)
  • Der Abschied (The Farewell)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Cheese Plate

It's fallen to me to create a Cheese Plate for a post-recital reception for tomorrow as the person who usually does this is out of town this weekend. After having done a bit of research on how to put one together, I decided on the following 5 cheeses. Let me know what you think.

Champagne-flavoured aged cheddar cheese
Soft, unripened goat cheese topped with roasted red pepper jelly
Brie, stuffed with cranberry and walnut (will be heated shortly before serving)
Manchego
Borough Market Stilton

I've heard the following rule of thumb works for putting together a cheese plate:

Something old
Something new
Something goat
Something blue

Well, at least I got 3 of the 4 ... not sure just how new the brie is; the manchego has 8 months on the label.

I will be arranging the cheese plate with green and black grapes, and will have a good amount of crackers nearby. Someone else is bringing the wines; I heard a chardonnay and something red, maybe a Shiraz or something similar.

At least I learnt something new today. I've never put together a cheese plate before, and I had fun poking around Whole Foods, looking for the cheeses for this plate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Catholic Carnival 145

Catholic Carnival 145 is up and running at Adam's Ale. Fr. Valencheck does a wonderful job of summing up all the posts he's received.

I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

Laurie Ryan - Concert Program

The fourth Bach's Lunch recital of the Fall 2007 Semester featured Laurie Ryan, Minister of Music at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Burlington, NC. She gave this recital on the Dobson organ in the Antebellum Chapel.

Here is her program:


  • Felix Mendelssohn: Fantasia und Fuge
  • Samuel Scheidt: Cantico Belgica: Ach du Feiner Reuter, Theme and Variations
  • Johann Jakob Froberger:
    • Toccata VII
    • Ricercare V
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 656

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pope Benedict to visit US in 2008


I just noticed this on the AP newswires. Pope Benedict XVI will visit the US in April, 2008. According to Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Pope will visit the White House, ground zero and speak at the United Nations. He will be in New York and Washington, DC over a 5-day period in mid-April.

Click here for more information.

David Arcus - Concert Program

Yesterday, as part of Duke Chapel's organ recital series, Duke Chapel's own David Arcus performed on the Flentrop (Benjamin N. Duke Memorial) Organ. As usual, David gave a brilliant recital. Again, I came in a little late, and ended up missing the first three pieces, thanks to playing an afternoon service.

Here is his program. He did an all-Buxtehude recital, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Buxtehude's death.

  • Toccata in F Major, BuxWV 156
  • Ein fest Burg ist unser Gott, BuxWV 184
  • Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BuxWV 221
  • Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179
    • Allemande
    • Double
    • Courante
    • Sarabande
    • Gigue
  • Te Deum laudamus, BuxWV 218
    • Præludium
    • Te Deum laudamus
    • Pleni sunt coeli et terra
    • Te martyrum
    • Tu devicto
  • Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist, BuxWV 208
  • Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BuxWV 210
  • Ach Gott und Herr (Two Verses), BuxWV 177
  • Magnificat Primi Toni, BuxWV 203
  • Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BuxWV 223
  • Toccata in d minor, BuxWV 155

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A nice All Saints/All Souls Reflection

Admittedly, I wish I saw this early enough so that I could have incorporated this in my Catholic Carnival post. This comes from Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC. Fr. Stephen gives a nice historical background to both All Saints' and All Souls' Day, and encourages us to "remember the dead, the people of our precious, personal past in prayer." He continues, "We pray to the saints while we pray for the departed. Prayer is our strongest link to each other wherever we may be."

Beautifully stated, Fr. Stephen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Organ Hero I

I'll have to admit this is not an original post, but one that I felt I had to share! The Curt Jester is reporting on the latest craze to hit Praystation 3. Check out Organ Hero I - a game where you can pretend to be a church organist, put your fingers to the keyboard and produce awesome church-filling organ music.

Try it, you might like it! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reasons why All Saint's Day in the Philippines is better than Thanksgiving in the US

Just for fun, here is a Top Ten List. As alluded to in my Catholic Carnival post, I present the Top Ten Reasons why All Saint's Day in the Philippines is better than Thanksgiving in the US. Note that this is a bit dated because of the reference to Erap (former President Joseph Estrada).

This was originally posted at Synthesis Online's Top Ten Archives. (Note: Synthesis Online is the official website of the Ateneo Chemical Society.)

10. You're not obliged to serve turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to your family and they can't complain if you just hand them out kornik and kropek.
9. You get to hang out in the cemetery.
8. There's no football here so you won't miss anything if you go to the cemetery.
7. Family reunions--deceased members included.
6. You think you're in Lollapalooza when you reach the cemetery except that instead of rock and roll, you hear cheesy, bakya music, Britney Spears, the current hits remade into dance tunes or some drunk man singing off-key to a karaoke song.
5. Collecting candle drops so you can either sell them or use them to wax your floor.
4. We have none of that "I'm so thankful for yada-yada-yada" stuff those Americans are so full of; heck Erap's already a handful.
3. You get to hit on girls/guys in the cemetery and people won't think you're some sort of sick weirdo.
2. You've always wanted to have a picnic in an exotic place, well here's your chance; the local memorial park's waiting for you.
1. You don't have to be actually thankful for anything.

Catholic Carnival 144

Welcome to Catholic Carnival 144! This is my first time hosting the Catholic Carnival.

Considering how close to All Saints/All Souls Day we are, I decided to do a Saints-Themed Carnival. Before I introduce you to the other bloggers who have submitted their entries, I would like to share with you the way Filipinos celebrate All Saints Day.

On November 1, Filipinos observe All Saints' Day (Araw ng mga Patay). During this time, Filipinos remember the dead by visiting the cemeteries, cleaning the graves of their deceased loved ones, and decorate them with flowers. It is a somber occasion, but also a joyous time, full of merry-making and laughter, as a way to honour those who have gone before us. If Filipinos schedule family reunions, All Saints Day is generally the day for that as it truly is a reunion of family, both living and dead. Families gather together, share food, stories, and games. It's kind of like a big picnic at the cemetery. I've not personally experienced this, but my cousins have sent me photos of celebrations and picnics at the gravesites of my grandparents, and they'll spend the whole day there.

There is an interesting Top Ten List explaining why celebrating All Saint's Day in the Philippines is better than celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S., but I will save that for another post.

Let the Carnival begin!

First stop: All Saints/All Souls Reflections.

Elena at My Domestic Church writes about the Annual Cemetery Mass that takes place in her diocese. On the first Sunday of the month, Mass is said among the graves for a real celebration of life and resurrection. She also gives some other traditions associated with All Souls’ Day celebrations.

In her All Saints reflection, Jean at Catholic Fire lists ten things saints have in common.

Finally, Seth at CatholicLand! makes the following request of his readers: he would like to know some good book recommendations on Purgatory.

Second stop: Reflections on the First Reading from the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sunday 4 November).

Both Christine at Domestic Vocation and Heidi at Streams of Mercy give their reflections based on the first reading from Ordinary 31 (Wis 11:22 – 12:2). Christine's reflections are here, while Heidi's reflections are here.

Third stop: Reflections on other lines from the Bible or Prayers/Praying.

Joe at Ho Kai Paulos writes a reflection based on the line, “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:3-10; Ps 36:11).

Amanda at Pajama Mommy gives her reflection on the Serenity Prayer. She analyzes this prayer, line by line.

Finally, Red Neck Woman at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill shares her response to someone’s questioning why she, or anyone else, should pray for Jesus. She states that she “prays for Him, as well as thank Him and praise Him for each terrible step He took, for enduring the scourging, for enduring the mocking and the shame, for the pain, and the horror of bearing [all our] sins.” Beautifully stated.

Fourth stop: Reflections on Children and Parenting, and Life in General.

This week's blog entries yielded some very nice stories and vignettes.

First up: Kate submitted a very beautiful post: she has no regrets about having children, unlike a French mother of two children who wrote a book explaining why she regrets having had children. To all the mothers out there, this is worth the read.

Heidi’s second submission is a follow-up on her 40 reasons to adopt that is targeted specifically at those interested in foster parenting.

Matthew’s brief post is a cute vignette on the priceless things that kids say. This involves a bookshelf, books, and eight-year old girl, and her eleven-month old sister. This should bring a smile to your face.

Finally, Melissa at A Third Way relates the story of the lessons she learns from her front steps while she’s praying the Rosary. It’s a beautiful story of how important it is to be there for your friends.

Fifth stop: Reflections on Parish Life, including Faith Formation, Liturgy, and Worship.

Denise at Catholic Mom explores the effects a parish school has on the overall religious education of a parish, and discusses whether or not it is an asset to the parish, or does it drain the parish of resources as related to the faith formation program of the parish as a whole.

In the meantime, Brian at Christus Vincit – the BLOG! echoes the sentiments of many a Catholic Music Director as he questions why it is that English speaking Masses get the short end of the stick when it comes to liturgy and music. My friends who have attended Mass in various churches in Europe relate similar stories to me, how the French, German, Italian liturgies and music lend themselves to a sacred environment during the Mass, whereas the English liturgies and music do not. Apparently, Americans aren’t the only ones afflicted with this problem.

Sixth and Seventh stops: Miscellaneous Reflections.

Okay, so I like the number seven. The last four entries range from the political to the satirical.

C. E. H. Wiedel at Kicking Over My Traces believes there is a legitimate question as to whether Mormons can be considered Christians in the orthodox sense. She quotes Fr. John Neuhaus in trying to answer this question. She then brings the argument that perhaps the question ought to be, can a Mormon effectively govern the United States? This will be a question that will be asked over the course of the next year as Americans prepare to choose the next President next November 2008.

Jay at Living Catholicism explores the new movie, The Golden Compass, which is the first book from the His Dark Materials trilogy, written by Phillip Pullman. He discusses, with citations, the anti-Christian themes that comprise this book and the series in general.

James at WORDS – A Prophecy Fulfilled writes on the difference between Truth and Lies. Money quote: “There is no reward for a lie that one can obtain that is forever: no not one reward. The reward for becoming Truthful and the image of our Lord and Saviour, although not always manifested for earthen eyes or ears, is always eternal!”

Finally, last, but not least, The Therapy Doc at Everyone Needs Therapy gives a lighthearted account of two angels and The Old Mighty arguing about giving humans the gift of speech, among other things.

Thanks to those who submitted their entries for this week's Carnival! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have in writing this!

I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here.

Until next time, I remain
Yours faithfully,

Lyn F.

Josh Dumbleton - Concert Program

The third Bach's Lunch recital of the Fall 2007 Semester featured Josh Dumbleton, recently appointed Organist/Associate Director of Music at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC. He gave a wonderful recital, and it featured a piece that, to Van Quinn's knowledge, has never been played on the Kleuker until now. Josh is a wonderful organist, and I'm sure he will be making his mark in this area and beyond in the future.

With that, here is his program:


Prelude in C Major, BWV 547 - Johann Sebastian Bach

Two Settings on the Chorale In dir ist Freude ("In Thee is Gladness")
  • Prelude on "In Thee is Gladness" - Dale Wood
  • Afro-Cuban - Johannes Matthias Michel
Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue - Healey Willan

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thomas Brown - Concert Program

Yesterday, Thomas Brown of University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill gave a nice program titled "300 Years of Music from Paris: An Evening of French Organ Favorites." Amazingly enough, he gave the entire program from memory.

Here is his program:

François Couperin: Four movements from Messe pour les Paroisses
  • Plein chant du premier Kyrie, en Taille
  • Fugue sur les jeux d'anches
  • Tierce en Taille
  • Offertoire sur les Grands jeux
Eugène Gigout: Scherzo (from Dix Pièces)

Charles-Marie Widor: Andante sostenuto (from Symphonie Gothique, Op. 70)

Marcel Dupré: Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20
  • Noël Nouvelet - Moderato
  • Larghetto
  • Poco animato
  • Cantabile - Canon à l'octave
  • Vif
  • Vivace
  • Plus modéré - Canon à la quarte et à la quinte
  • Vivace
  • Cantabile - Canon à la seconde
  • Animé
  • Fugato - Non troppo vivace; Presto
Louis Vierne: Impromptu (from Pièces de Fantaisie, Op. 54)

Maurice Duruflé: Toccata (from Suite, Op. 5)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

4 November - Ordinary 31

I'm cantoring the 7.45 am Mass tomorrow morning. Here is the music list:

November 4: Ordinary 31 (Sun. 7.45 am)

Gloria: Andrews
Alleluia: Hughes
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: MOL

Pro: 646 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (KINGSFOLD)
Psalm: 137 Ps 145 (Haas)
Off: 625
Where Charity and Love Prevail (CHRISTIAN LOVE)
Comm: 840 Shepherd of Souls (ST. AGNES)
Re: 714 God, Whose Purpose Is to Kindle (HYMN TO JOY)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Catholic Carnivals!!!

Catholic Carnival 143 is up and running at The Scratching Post. My contribution was YouTube for Catholics (h/t Fr. Stephen Cuyos).

In other Catholic Carnival news, I'll be hosting #144, and it will be my first time doing so. Considering how close to All Saints/All Souls we are, it might be interesting to do a Saints-inspired Carnival. Just a thought, of course. It's all dependent on what submissions I receive. Please feel free to give your submission. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here.

I'm looking forward to it!

Happy and Blessed Saints Day to All!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Music for All Saints' Day

I will be cantoring the 7.00 am Mass tomorrow morning at Immaculate Conception, and then tomorrow evening at Chapel of the Cross, I will be singing with the Senior Choir in their Solemn Eucharist at 8.00 pm.

Here are the music list for both services.

November 1: Solemnity of All Saints (7.00 am)

Gloria: Mass of Creation (MOC)
Alleluia: Halle, Halle (Verse: Mt. 11:28, I managed to fit it to the music for the Gospel Verse. Cool.)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: MOC


Pro: 793 For All the Saints (SINE NOMINE. Here's to hoping we get to do all 8 verses, but I'm not holding my breath.)
Psalm: 34 Ps 24 Refrain I (Keil)
Off: 771
Jerusalem, My Happy Home (LAND OF REST)
Comm: 659 Blest Are They
Re: 794 Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)

-----

November 1: Solemn Eucharist for the Feast of All Saints (8.00 pm)

Prelude: Passacaglia in c minor (Bach)
Pro: For All the Saints (SINE NOMINE)
Kyrie: Messe Solennelle (Langlais)
Gloria: Messe Solennelle
Sequence: Who are these like stars appearing (ZEUCH MICH, ZEUCH MICH)
Offertory: A Song for Athene (Tavener)
Sanctus, Benedictus: Messe Solennelle
Communion: Remember Your Servants, Lord (Russian Orthodox Chant)
Re: O what their joy and glory must be (O QUANTA QUALIA)
Postlude: Fugue in c minor (Bach)


Concert Programs for Bach's Lunch II and PipeScreams!

For this, my 50th post, I decided to share a couple of concert programs with you. Both took place yesterday (Tuesday, October 30). The first is the second in a series of noontime organ recitals at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill. The second is a Halloween program and fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity, in which I played a piece.

Bach's Lunch
Thomas A.J. Bloom, organ
Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, NC

Program: An Abendmusik for the Eve of Reformation Day: Organ Music of Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 - 1707)

Voluntary: Ciacona in e minor, BuxWV 160
Psalm 46: Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, BuxWV 184
The Canticles:
  • Magnificat Primi Toni, BuxWV 203
  • Nunc Dimittis: Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, BuxWV 76
    • Contrapunctus [I]
    • Evolutio [I]
    • Contrapunctus [II]
    • Evolutio [II]
The Hymn: Nun lob, mein Seel', den Herren, BuxWV 212
Voluntary: Praeludium in d minor, BuxWV 140

-----

PipeScreams! 2007
University United Methodist Church, Chapel Hill, NC

Vierne:
  • Allegro Maestoso from Symphony III ("Ghost", actually the MIDI player on the Moeller organ)
  • Scherzo from Symphony II (Tim Baker. He was the emcee of the entire event.)
Boëllmann: Toccata from Suite Gothique (Lyn Francisco. I played the Student, and wore my academic robes, minus Ph.D. hood.)

Albright: Nocturn (Tom Bloom. What a trooper, after having played that brilliant Buxtehude program at noon, he came back 7 hours later to perform in this program!)

P. D. Q. Bach: Toot Suite (Barbara Leder and Sandy Hobgood. She was dressed as a she-devil. He was dressed as a green-faced witch.)
  • I - Preloud
  • II - O.K. Chorale
  • III - Fuga Vulgaris
Tournemire: Improvisation on Te Deum (Mila Karamushka. She played the part of the Firefly Fairy, but really looked more like a large orange butterfly up there.)

Lloyd Webber: All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera (Florence Peacock, soprano and Lewis Moore, baritone, accompanied by Tim Baker, organ, dressed as the Phantom. You can guess how Florence and Lewis were dressed.)

J. S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in d minor (Tim Baker, de-Phantomed.)

Tim billed this as a "serious" piece; however, there were a series of "monsters", including a witch threatening to cast a spell on the organist before being chased away by a bucket of water; a big hairy gorilla, who threatened to slap the organist before being lured away by a bunch of bananas; a Duke Basketball Fan (Cameron Crazy?), who was chased away by Carolina Tar Heel pom-poms (you would have to know the Duke-UNC basketball rivalry to get that one); and Frankenstein, who threatened to strangle the organist but was lured away by his bride, who scolded Franky and led him away.

Throughout the program, there was funny commentary by a couple of women who played the part of bossy and nosy churchwomen, who at first were insulted that they weren't even consulted about this apparently serious organ program, but then insult turned to outrage as they threaten to report this to the Senior Pastor. In a stroke of comedic timing, just as they finished that line, guess who walks into the sanctuary? The Senior Pastor!

It was a fun program, and the audience was very generous, giving their shares of standing ovations to those of us performing either on the bench, singing, or acting.

The coolest thing - after the program, I was approached by a young mother and her daughter. The mother asked me if I was at the NC State Fair, doing the Chemistry Magic Shows. I said yes, I gave a couple of shows at the Fair. She said she thought she recognized me, and said her daughter was one of my assistants. I recognized her daughter as the one I had stuff an inflated balloon in a beaker filled with liquid nitrogen. Very cool indeed!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Me? Sport Prognosticator?

For all the years I've been following baseball and football/soccer, I had never dared to make predictions over who I think will win the major matches, especially since I generally get them wrong. (Don't even remind me of the 2004 World Cup ... I was travelling in Italy with friends when that was going on.)

Here's one time when I actually got it right. Quoting from what I wrote on Ryan L.'s Facebook wall on October 7:
Dare I say it? Sorry, Cubbies, but I'm glad AZ won. I'm hoping the Rockies will finish off the Phillies, and that the Rockies will win the NL pennant (small consolation since they beat my Padres), so that the World Series would be Boston vs. Colorado. Who would I want to win it all? Why, the Red Sox, of course! :)
Admittedly, the only reason why I cheered on the Rockies is because they beat my Padres in that single-game elimination to decide the Wild-Card spot for the National League. Naturally, I'd be cheering on the Red Sox in the American League. After living for 7+ years in the New England area, how can you not cheer on the Red Sox? I celebrated with the rest of the Red Sox Nation when they finally threw off the Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years back in 2004.

I was happy when the Rockies swept the Phillies (sorry, Nick) and the Diamondbacks, and happy when the Red Sox swept the Angels and managed to get past the Indians, yielding the matchup I had hoped for as described on Ryan's wall. Little did I know that my prognostication would come true tonight. I had been away all day, and didn't have a chance to catch the game, so I found out from Ryan's page, when he changed his status to: Sox are World Series Champs '07 :)

And the Red Sox Nation is cheering tonight. Congratulations, 2007 Boston Red Sox!

Borromeo String Quartet - Concert Program

I was at an amazing concert today, given by the Borromeo String Quartet. The BSQ consists of Durham native Nicholas Kitchen, violin; Kristopher Tong, violin; Mai Motobuchi, viola; and Yeesun Kim, cello. This is, I believe, their third in a series of concerts at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, in which they intended to perform the entire cycle of Beethoven String Quartets.

Today, they presented String Quartets by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. We had a packed house, and a great time was had by all.

Here is their program.

Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, N0. 5
  • Allegretto; Allegro
  • Largo ma non troppo, cantabile e mesto
  • Menuet: Allegro ma non troppo
  • Finale: Presto

Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117
Moderato con moto
  • Adagio
  • Allegretto
  • Adagio
  • Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130
Adagio ma non troppo; Allegro
  • Presto
  • Poco scherzoso, Andante con moto ma non troppo
  • Alla Danza tedesa: Allegro assai
  • Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
  • Finale: Allegro

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More fire news

KPBS is such a godsend!!! I've been listening to their live feed for the past 4 hours or thereabouts, and they're a wonderful source of news going on in San Diego.

I also heard from my sister-in-law. She shared some very interesting data with me:

  • The burned areas of San Diego are now the equivalent to the area of the entire island of Oahu.
  • Half a million people have been displaced. There are three million people in San Diego.
  • This is FEMA's second-largest disaster; Katrina was the largest.

She reports that the Rancho San Diego area, where she used to live, has been evacuated. She graduated from Valhalla High School in El Cajon. The evacuation orders for Eastern Chula Vista have been lifted. We have friends who live in those areas of Chula Vista, and thankfully, there have been no reports of houses lost in the Eastlake area. She also reports that most of the county is on fire. (I'm not sure about that, but having a look at the very useful maps on KFMB Channel 8's website has been most illuminating.)

Hopefully the winds will shift soon. As long as the Santa Ana winds are still blowing from East to West, the fire problems will still persist and not be alleviated.

Prayers to all affected by the fires.

Catholic Carnivals 141 and 142

Catholic Carnivals 141 and 142 are up and running. I haven't noticed them much lately because of other things that have come up lately, but I am looking forward to hosting one of these in a couple of weeks.

Here are the links:

Catholic Carnival 141, hosted by 50 Days After
Catholic Carnival 142, hosted by Play the Dad? No, be the Dad! (Matthew's 100th blog post, by the way).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To friends and family in San Diego

My goodness - I'm just having a look at photos and videos from Channels 6, 8, 10, and 39's websites. Those wildfires are more extensive than I thought - if they're calling for evacuations as far west as Torrey Pines and Del Mar ... !!! ...

And for those of you in Chula Vista, I hope things are okay for you down there. I know Chula Vista's had a huge building boom since I left (I don't even recognize it any more), and I hope those of you who have had homes built in the eastern parts of Chula Vista will come through this.

My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Update:

I just heard from my Middle School Choir Teacher. She works at Rancho del Rey Middle School, and informed me that area, as well as parts of Bonita, have been evacuated to a shelter at Chula Vista High School (which is farther west than the areas listed above). I know my friend Reynila is a counsellor at Bonita Vista High, and my High School History Teacher, Mr. Tony Maio, lives in Bonita. A quick check revealed that all the schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District are closed today, due to air quality.

Another friend lives in Lemon Grove, and noticed that Mt. Miguel (Spring Valley) was totally ablaze. She is ready to evacuate at any time - when the order comes, she will leave.

This sounds very serious ... please send your thoughts and prayers to all those in Southern California who are affected by the wildfires.

YouTube for Catholics

Finally, a Catholic Video Sharing Site. This comes courtesy of Fr. Stephen Cuyos, a Filipino Missionary of the Sacred Heart. This website, lovetobecatholic.com, was apparently launched sometime this month, and its goal is to “provide a safe and entertaining place for people to access Catholic content on demand, 24/7.”

It's a pretty neat idea, kind of a YouTube for Catholics. According to Fr. Stephen, "it is a cool ministry tool as well as a fresh and innovative way to communicate the Word of God in today’s world."

More from Fr. Stephen:
Lovetobecatholic.com invites everyone to upload and share videos, build communities, join existing groups and connect with friends, but the site reserves the right to “monitor content to assure that videos reflect true Catholic teaching.” I hope that the site will not only gather Catholics but also become a meeting place and a connecting point where Catholics and non-Catholics learn from each other and enrich each other.
I definitely agree with Fr. Stephen's sentiments. Naturally, I paid attention to the Music section. It's mostly Catholic Rock videos. Not my cup of tea, but interesting, nonetheless.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bach's Lunch is Back

The Bach's Lunch recitals at The Chapel of the Cross is back with their new Fall 2007 season.

First up is Dr. Van Quinn, Organist/Choirmaster at Chapel of the Cross. His program, which will be performed on Tuesday, October 23 at 12:15 pm, will feature music by Dietrich Buxtehude and Jean Langlais, in honour of the 300th anniversary of Buxtehude's death, and the 100th anniversary of Langlais' birth. It looks like it will be a great program; I'm sorry that I won't be able to go because I have a lunch-time faculty meeting to attend.

Here is his program, as he will perform it Tuesday afternoon.

Buxtehude:
  • Praeludium in g minor
  • Passacaglia in d minor
Langlais:
  • Suite Brève: Dialogue sur les Mixtures
  • Trois Poèmes Évangélique: La Nativité
  • Trois paraphrases gregoriennes: Hymne d'Actions de Grâce: Te Deum

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun at the Fair

Well, it's done. Not the fair; my involvement with it. I did my last volunteering today by working the morning and afternoon shifts at the Our Land, Our Legacy exhibit at the North Carolina State Fair. I did two of the Chemistry Demonstration shows. The theme was States of Matter, so I demonstrated the solid, the liquid, the gas, and the plasma. The kids really liked some of the dry ice tricks, especially the dry ice shower trick. My colleague, Ken Lyle of Duke University, built a contraption where you feed dry ice into a 2 litre container filled with water. A PVC pipe rises out of the bottle, and ends up at the top, bent into a U shape. When dry ice is placed in the bottle, the water vapour is forced up the tube and comes out the other end of the tube. If you place a special soap solution at the end of the tube (dishwashing soap, water, glycerol), you get carbon dioxide-filled soap bubbles. They fall to the floor, and they just sit there. If you wet your hands with soap, you might even be able to catch one of the soap bubbles.

The most exhausting part was the chromatography butterflies. The kids love to make the butterflies, but it's pretty taxing when you have 10 kids surrounding you, wanting you to help them finish their butterflies. There was also a Scavenger Hunt, specific to the Our Land, Our Legacy exhibit, and I had to help people answer the question. If they get the answer, they receive a sticker, and if they receive stickers from all 11 exhibitors, they get a really cool tie-dye t-shirt with this year's State Fair logo. It's a much nicer shirt than last year's.

So now I'm just relaxing and tucking in to some supper before choir practice in 1 hour. More fun with Langlais' Messe Solennelle, which we'll be presenting at a Solemn Eucharist on All Saints' Day, Thursday, November 1.

Monday, October 15, 2007

John Walker - Concert Program

Yesterday, as part of Duke Chapel's organ recital series, John Walker of the Peabody Institute performed on the Flentrop (Benjamin N. Duke Memorial) Organ. What a wonderful recital!!! Duke Chapel brings in some of the world's finest organists for their recital series; however, there are just a few who can figure out how to play the room very well. Walker is one of those who figured it out. I'm sorry I came in a little late, but I only missed the first piece.

Here is his program. His notes were great, as well. (Why can't more organists take the time to do that? I prefer concert organists who just play and not talk during the course of their concerts.)

  • Prelude and Fugue in f-sharp minor, BuxWV 146 (Dietrich Buxtehude)
  • Mein junges Leben hat ein End (Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck)
  • Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • Prelude on the Chorale O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen (Franz Schmidt)
  • Tanz-Toccata (Anton Heiller)
  • Fantasy and Fugue in B-flat Major (Alexandre-Pierre-François Boëly)
  • Concert Variations on Old Hundred (John Knowles Paine)
  • Hommage à Messiaen (McNeil Robinson)
  • Dieu parmi nous (from L Nativité du Seigneur) (Olivier Messiaen)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy 39th Wedding Anniversary ...

Thirty-nine years ago today, my parents were married in Manila, Philippines. That's them to the left, holding a photo of their grandchildren (my brother's 2 sons and 1 daughter).

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! May you have many more happy years together.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Catholic Carnival 140 is Up and Running

Yet another Catholic Carnival is up and running. Steven McEvoy at Book Reviews and More drew the hosting duties this week. You may check out his Canadian Thanksgiving right here.

Enjoy!

Wheeeee! It's Fair Time!!!!



It's that time of the year again, folks - the NC State Fair is back!

As usual, I'll be working the booth with the local chapter of the American Chemical Society. We'll be doing cool Chemistry tricks with dry ice and liquid nitrogen, demonstrate density differences using our old friends, Regular and Diet Coke, demonstrate the different states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma. Yes, plasma ...), and just for the kids, demonstrate the concept of chromatography by having them make Chromatography Butterflies. Very cool stuff.

I'll be there Saturday 13th from 8.45 am - 1.15 pm, and again on Tuesday 16th from 8.45 am - 1.15 pm, and Wednesday 17th from 8.45 am - 5.15 pm. It should be loads of fun! If you're in the area, stop by; Fairgrounds are close to NC State's Vet School. I, for one, am also looking forward to the fair foods. I think I will pass on the deep-fried Snickers, but definitely, I will look forward to caramel apples, funnel cakes, turkey legs, and bloomin' onions! I know, they're all bad for me, but the Fair only comes but once a year.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

7 October, Ordinary 27 / 19th Sunday After Pentecost

Two music lists for your reading enjoyment. The first is from the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception (RC) Church, and the second list from Chapel of the Cross (Episcopal), where I will be playing the 5.15 pm service.

October 7: Ordinary 27 (Sun. 7.45 am)

Gloria: Andrews
Alleluia: Mode VI; verses to Tone 6F
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Community Mass (Proulx)


Pro: 606 How Firm a Foundation
Psalm: Ps 95 (Guimont)
Off: 757
This is the Day God Gives Me
Comm: Organ voluntary
Re: 568 Father, We Thank Thee


List #2. Major difference this time: the Parish Choir is singing this service. At least the anthem they're doing will be unaccompanied. DM wants me to provide pitches and sing alto, which I'm more than happy to do.

October 7: Pentecost 19

Prelude: Choral Dorien (Jehan Alain)
Pro: Glorious things of thee are spoken (AUSTRIA)
Gloria: Powell (weird triplet rhythms, but the congregation knows this well.)
Seq: O Jesus, I have promised to serve thee (NYLAND)
Off: Laudate Nomen Domini (Christopher Tye, and yes, they're singing this in Latin)
Sanctus: Community Mass (Proulx)
Comm: O Master, let me walk with Thee (MARYTON)
Re: Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (PADERBORN)
Postlude: Triumphal March (G. F. Handel)


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Catholic Carnival 139: Celebration of Life

The latest Catholic Carnival is up and running at just another day of catholic pondering.

Check it out. Sarah does a great job of putting her personal touch on each of the links.

If you're wondering what a Catholic Carnival is, click here, and read all about it. I'll be hosting one of these myself in early November. Still mulling over a theme, although the timing might inspire me to host an All Saints-themed Carnival.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Catholic and Blogging Meme

I borrowed the tag from The Christus Vincit Man, Brian Michael Page.

So okay, I'll bite.

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
Novus Ordo, although I did have the opportunity to have gone to a TLM. Check out my review of that here.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
If I were to go (wish I could), I would have had to drive a little over 60 miles to get there.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
Er, ditto what Brian said: Roman Catholic.

4. Are you a comment junkie?
Only when warranted.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Sure.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
Once, on Anderson Cooper's blog, but it didn't get published.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
Hey, whatever works.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
I agree with what Brian said: It depends on my mood.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
Yes. Charles Culbreth at Musica Dei Donum Optimi, David Myers (through his parents since I used to work with both of them at one point in time) at The Art of David Myers, and Dan Keller at randomthoughtsandfreeassociations.

10. What are you reading?
I was reading Brian's blog. Go figure - that's exactly how I got this meme!

TAG, YOU'RE IT! Anyone who reads this who wants to play!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Central North Carolina AGO Members' Recital Program

Last night, my friend Tom Bloom and I went off to Resurrection (LC/MS) Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. There, the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Guild of Organists held their Members' Recital. As they were celebrating the tercentenary anniversary of Dietrich Buxtehude's death, and the centenary anniversary of Jean Langlais' birth, the recital featured works by Buxtehude and Langlais.

The organ was a Schantz, built in 1991.

The program follows:

Thomas Fielding, DM, Dean of CNCAGO
  • Langlais: Incantation pour un Jour Saint
  • Buxtehude: Ciacona in e minor, BuxWV160
Lee Harris, CAGO
  • Langlais: Canzona from Suite Folklorique
  • Langlais: Prélude from Suite Médiévale
Mark Gourley, Immediate Past Dean of CNCAGO
  • Buxtehude: Gott der Vater wohn' uns bei, BuxWV190
  • Buxtehude: Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist, BuxWV208
  • Langlais: Prélude au Kyrie from Hommage à Frescobaldi
John Hermann, MM/SPC, Subdean of CNCAGO
  • Buxtehude: Prelude and Fugue in g minor, BuxWV149
  • Langlais: Suite Française
  • Langlais: Trois Paraphrases Gregoriennes: III. Te Deum
Noel Hamm
  • Buxtehude: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BuxWV211
  • Langlais: Pasticcio
Terrence Poe
  • Buxtehude: Prelude, Fugue, and Chaconne, BuxWV137
  • Buxtehude: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BuxWV223
Eddie Abernathy
  • Buxtehude: Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, BuxWV184
  • Buxtehude: Magnificat Primi Toni, BuxWV203

Friday, September 28, 2007

Good bye, Old Friend

As of today, and most likely, as I'm writing this blog entry, UNC Chapel Hill's Hill Hall is losing an old friend. The 4-manual, 59-rank Reuter organ (Op. 367, ca. 1929) is being dismantled, most of the pipes being taken by Reuter, and the console removed. The Hill Hall Auditorium is slated to undergo renovation, and apparently, from what I heard, the Reuter had no place in the new plans. It seems sad ... but then again, I can understand why that decision was made. It's not a teaching instrument. It's very much a symphonic instrument. Several of us had the opportunity to play the organ last night. This was kind of a swan song of sorts for Op. 367. It's obvious the organ had not been well cared for or maintained for a very long time. But it was still neat to play this piece of history. I was taken on an organ crawl, and saw the pipes, the bellows, etc. There's some neat stuff on this organ - the chimes, the harp, among other things. There looked to be the name of every instrument you might be able to find in an orchestra on the stop knobs, and it was pretty neat to see the pipes to go along with them. Tuba mirabilis, for example. Yes, it was very tuba. The only thing I didn't see was the Echo chamber - it was built toward the back of the auditorium, in the ceiling.

Frankly speaking, I was quite surprised to learn the organ was just going to be taken away and essentially dismantled and disposed. I wondered, why couldn't they have thought of the Organ Clearing House - surely, they would have been happy to have taken the Reuter off of the Music Department's hands?

I don't know the story of the decision behind this organ's demise ... there was quite a bit of emotion flowing in that room last night, especially as a friend of mine played a few "farewell" type of hymns and songs ... The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended (ST. CLEMENT), Day Is Done (AR HYD Y NOS), Auld Lang Syne ... by the time he got to Auld Lang Syne, there were some tears flowing in the room.

This seems to me to signal the end of an era, as far as the Organ Music program at UNC is concerned. I don't have any feelings one way or the other toward Op. 367 as I never really got to know it well. I would hope that whatever organ The Powers That Be decide to install in the new Hill Hall Auditorium will be able to serve the university for teaching, as well as performance, for years and years to come.

UPDATE, 9/29/2007

Well, this is interesting. After having returned from the Central NC AGO Chapter's Members' Recital and meeting, I went to UUMC for a bit of practicing (I do not want to make a fool of myself come October 30!!!!!!!!) when I noticed, parked in front of Hill Hall is a huge lorrie. What's on the side of the lorrie? Reuter's logo and other assorted info. So it's official. I'm sure that lorrie is holding whatever pipes it was the company wanted to take back.

So it's true: Op. 367 is no more.

I chatted with a couple of people who know a little more about the history of the Reuter. It sustained heavy damage, thanks to leakage problems and other related building problems. (Hill Hall needs some major help, and at least it will get it once its renovation gets underway.) Op. 367 was designed specifically for Hill Hall, and both were built around the same time (1929'ish or so). It's a shame that it fell into disrepair and general neglect. Unfortunately, even if time were to have been spent to get the instrument back in a playable condition, it would have been cost prohibitive to have done so, given the extensive damage the instrument suffered.

So with a little more background, I can understand why there was a push to get rid of the Reuter. The people with whom I chatted were unaware that today was the day of Reuter Removal. One of them remarked, "It's about time they got rid of it." It's sad. I'm sure if the organ did not suffer the damage that it did, and even if it had been maintained regularly and religiously, then it probably would have still been in a good, playable condition today. With a few modifications, it might have even been a good teaching instrument. But alas, general neglect and extensive damage has rendered the 78 year old Reuter unplayable.

Op. 367, it was a pleasure to make your brief acquaintance. May the memories of all the music you've made in the past be pleasant and sweet. Good night ...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Moeser Steps Down in June

What has been churning in the rumour mill was made official yesterday afternoon: UNC Chapel Hill's Chancellor James Moeser will be leaving office, effective June 30, 2008, which marks the end of the current Fiscal Year.

Frankly speaking, it's no surprise. I still remember at one of the Postdoctoral events that took place in the Carolina Inn, as we were standing next to photos of current and former chancellors of UNC, a couple of my fellow postdocs were speculating that Moeser was going to be leaving his position soon. My thought, which I didn't share with them - if he leaves at all, it will probably be in 2008. I did not elaborate why, however. (And I won't elaborate publicly now.)

Last night, I was at a friend's place when he received a phone call from his father, stating that Chancellor Moeser was going to step down as Chancellor. As soon as he got off the phone, he turned to me and said, "Lyn, you were right - Dr. Moeser will be leaving office at the end of the school year."

We knew that the Moesers purchased a home off of Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, which added fuel to the speculation, but gave a strong indication that they may stay in the area. It certainly gave some hope to the organ students in the area, as James' wife Susan is a Professor of Organ in the Music Department.

After I left my friend's place, I checked my email, and sure enough, there was, waiting in my mbox, the message that was sent to UNC Faculty, Staff and Students, announcing his decision to step down as Chancellor.

I believe he leaves a good legacy in his 8 years or so as Chancellor. Carolina North, Carolina Covenant, among others ... he's also had his share of controversy as well. I still remember when he assigned as reading for the incoming Freshman Class a book about the Qur'an. There were protests ... lawsuits ... friends at Chapel of the Cross (where the Moesers are members) tell me that a couple of angry people were accusing James of being an atheist. James was telling them that he is a member at Chapel of the Cross, and that he serves as a Lector there, and is asked from time to time to lead discussions during the Adult Education hour in between the 9.00 am and 11.15 am services ... and yet, these people, who did not seem to listen to a single word James was saying, continued on with their harangues. I really admired James more after hearing about that.

I have my "I met the Chancellor" story, which my friends think is awfully cute. James is also a former concert organist as well. One Sunday afternoon, I was practicing on the Kleuker at Chapel of the Cross. Susan peeked her head in, hoping to get practice time on the instrument. I was ready to yield to her at that instant, but she said, rather kindly, "Oh, but you need to practice, too." So I asked her what time it was, and she told me 2.15 pm. I responded that I needed to get somewhere, and if she wouldn't mind kicking me off the organ at 3.00 pm, that would be great.

So she returned at 3.00 pm, this time, accompanied by her husband, James. I had just been assigned the Prelude from Langlais' Suite Médiévale, so you can imagine just how badly that sounded. Despite that, Susan was still able to identify what piece I was butchering at that point. I admitted to her that I had only been working on that piece for one week, and that it sounded like a bunch of pitches to me. Susan said, in response, "Spend some time with it, and I'm sure it will be sounding like music in no time." James, who was standing nearby, had this huge grin on his face, and he was nodding his head in agreement. Then, Susan said, "Oh, by the way Lyn, have you met my husband? This is Jim, Jim, this is Lyn, one of Tim Baker's organ students."

So we shook hands, and goofy, awkward, nerdy me, said, "Hi, Jim, it's great to meet you; I've heard so much about you." James, ever the gracious one, just smiled and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you." We had seen each other around, and he knows I sing with the Senior Choir, and also go to most of the organ-related events in the Triangle and Triad areas. So it was cool to have finally met him in person.