Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sounds of Praise and Thanksgiving

Earlier tonight there was a concert celebrating the Music Ministry of Immaculate Conception Church. There were a really nice collection of pieces performed. As it turns out, it really was more of a collection of favourite anthems and motets that the choir has performed at Masses and the like, including their pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, where they performed a concert, as well as sung for Pope Benedict XVI over the past year.

The choir was accompanied by organ, piano, harp, flutes, woodwinds, brass, and timpani. It was truly a glorious sound.

With that, the program.

Prelude: Suite of Dances (A. Campra)

Magnificat (John Leavitt). This was a lovely setting, IMHO.

Reflection by Molly Grace. She gave a reflection on her involvement with IC's Music Ministry.

Lift Up Your Voice (J. P. Sweenlinck)
Jubilate Deo (W. A. Mozart)
God So Loved the World (J. Stainer)
Alleluia (R. Thompson)

Reflection by Gabe St. Clair. She spoke of how she experienced a lot of personal and spiritual growth through her involvement with the choir.

"Selections from Triddum and Easter 2008"
Four Selections by G. F. Handel:
Behold the Lamb of God
"Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs"
And With His Stripes We Are Healed
Hallelujah Chorus

Three Days (THAXTED; M. D. Ridge/J. Honoré)

Musical Intermission: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (J. S. Bach; piano and harp)

Performed by the IC Chamber Choir:
Alleluia from "Brazilian Alleluia" (J. Berger)
God's Son Has Made Me Free (E. Grieg)
Alleluia! O Praise the Lord Most Holy (BWV 207a; Bach)
Psalm 150: Praise God, Alleluia (T. Hytrek)

Reflection by Greg Miller. I'll have to admit that I don't recall exactly what he talked about.

This next set included the full choir again.

Cantique de Jean Racine (G. Fauré) They sung from the Broude publication, but unfortunately, they did it in English. IMHO, it lost its charm this way.

Choral Reflection on "Amazing Grace" (R. Ames)
This Little Light of Mine (arr. M. Hogan)
The Tree of Life (SHADES MOUNTAIN; K. Lee Scott)

Closing Comments by Brian Eggers, Director of Music, Immaculate Conception

When in our music God is glorified (ENGELBERG; arr. F. P. Green)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sigh ... a compatibility problem ...

Last night, I was trying to upload my second midterm to Blackboard since I wanted the exam to be available to my students by the time they woke up this morning. Unfortunately, I ran into a snag.

I was one of many who upgraded to Firefox 3.0 last week. Much to my chagrin, when I tried to import my exam pool into Blackboard, it claimed my file type was not valid. I was IM'ing a friend during the time I was working on this, and this friend happened to be quite proficient with all things technical. So I was whingeing about the prospect of having to enter all my questions manually when I realised that a lot of extraneous code was being input in the question fields. It was then that I realised that I never experienced problems whilst using Firefox 2.x, or even (gack, gag) Internet Explorer. So I switched the rendering engine from Firefox to IE, and would you believe it, that solved my file incompatibility problem!

Naturally, this problem was discovered at 2.00 in the bloody morning. So I decided to call it quits and wait until the morning to continue my work.

So now the exam is deployed, and my students will have the opportunity to sink their teeth into this exam. I'm a little irritated about the browser incompatibility issue, but oh well ... I'm glad I figured out the problem without having to beg the Blackboard Gurus about it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

22 June - Sixth Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 7

Here are my usual lists. I played two services today.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prière à Notre Dame (Suite Gothique; L. Boëllmann)
Pro: 372, Praise to the living God! (LEONI)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Ps 86 (Barrett)
Seq: 655, O Jesus, I have promised (NYLAND)
Off: 296, We know that Christ is raised and dies no more (ENGLEBERG)
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169, My flesh is food indeed (Urwin)
Comm: 178, Alleluia, alleluia! Give thanks to the risen Lord (ALLELUIA NO. 1)
Re: 537, Christ for the world we sing (MOSCOW)
Postlude: Toccata (Suite Gothique; L. Boëllmann)

I also played the bi-weekly service at Carol Woods, which is organised by Chapel of the Cross. This was a simple service, really resembling the 8.00 am summer morning Rite I services at Chapel of the Cross, with a few omissions, depending upon the Presider of the Day. I've agreed to serve as the service pianist for the whole of the summer, up until my services at the Episcopal Centre at Duke University are required again shortly before Labour Day.

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Pro: 450, All hail the power of Jesus' Name! (CORONATION)
Off: 445, Praise to the Holiest in the height (GERONTIUS)
Comm: Allegro from Voluntary VII in e minor, Op. 7 (John Stanley)
Re: 535, Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (PADERBORN)
Postlude: Psalm XIX (B. Marcello; arr. C. Callahan)

Thank goodness for Weddings for Manuals, which contains some of the more "popular" wedding music, arranged for manuals by Charles Callahan. It works on the piano ... plus, I thought, especially as far as Communion is concerned, it would be nice to have a piece that I can easily shorten or lengthen, depending on how Communion was going. Unlike most places, here the priest goes and takes Communion to the people. Looking on the congregation (and it was a pretty good turn-out; I'd say around 30 or so), I'd say most are in their late 70s all the way up to their 90s and beyond.

After the service was over, a couple of people approached me, asking me what was that "Bach" piece I played at Communion ... !!! ... well, I suppose it might be Bach-like ... oh, this is interesting - the Allegro is apparently the best-known piece of organ music by Stanley. This surprises me - I would have thought his Trumpet Voluntary (Voluntary V, Op. 6) would have been more famous, especially considering all the weddings it's played at ...

RIP, Kent Otto

I just found out this morning that Kent Otto, long-time organist and choirmaster at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Durham, NC, passed away yesterday after a long bout with cancer. My prayers go to Kent's family, his partner Bill, and his children. Kent, may you rest in peace.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Thoughts

The third time is indeed the charm.

I decided to try the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad again. The major differences - this time, I completely overcooked the pasta in heaps of water. I cooked it for a little more than double the time recommended (the package recommended 7-8 minutes, I went for a little over 16 minutes). I also didn't bother measuring the amount of mayonnaise that went in. I just estimated by looks, after having sought after pictures of macaroni salads on Hawaiian-style plate lunches. I also seasoned with both the salt and the pepper until the taste was just right. (It ended up being a little bland still, but considering that I was going to share it with friends who are watching their salt intake, it was just as well I was conservative on the salt.)

With those two changes, I think I managed to recreate the macaroni salad that had me salivating all throughout my Hawaiian trip.

Now all I need to do is try to make haupia, and I think I will be happy.

I shared this with my friends, the Dorns. They are a very sweet couple from what I term "here, there, and everywhere." I met them several years ago, when I was singing with St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Gallery Choir. They had just moved to Durham from New Jersey, when he had just first retired from active ministry, and they joined the choir at Grace Lutheran (LC/MS) Church. So our choirs were preparing for a Choral Evensong for the Feast of the Epiphany. I still remember this rather tall, thin man approaching me, and speaking to me in what at first I thought was French. I even asked him, "Répétez, s'il vous plaît." So he repeated what he said, and it was then that I realised he was speaking to me in Tagalog! It was accented Tagalog, but still recognisable as Tagalog. He was telling me that he and his wife had lived for ca. 21 years in the Philippines before moving back to the U.S., and that they had borne and raised their four children there. He was working as a Lutheran missionary at the time, but was also involved with a bible translation project as well. We were carrying on our conversation, he in Tagalog, and I in English. In the meantime, everyone else around us were staring, wondering how could it be that we were actually maintaining a conversation in the way we were doing so.

And the rest, as they say, was history. I consider Louis and Erna to be my closest friends here. They are always wanting opportunities to practice their Tagalog, and I've introduced them to some Filipinos in this area. So it was with them that I shared my macaroni salad, plus I brought over what I consider to be "real" rice (medium grain Calrose rice, cooked in a rice cooker, as opposed to what I call "fake" rice, which is the parboiled stuff you can find in the grocery stores). They were hosting an anesthesiologist from Belarus, so we enjoyed dinner and good conversation afterward.

One last thought - my friend, JunoMagic, has just completed what she terms to be her crack!fic-turned-virtual penny dreadful, The Apprentice and the Necromancer. If you're into the SS/HG ship, I highly recommend reading this. I'll miss looking forward to the reminders in my mbox that new chapters have been posted. It's quite an accomplishment - she wrote 250 chapters, plus a 250-word epilogue. Great work, Juno!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Manila, circa 1930s

H/T to Carmen Castaneda of the N.C. Pinoy Choir.

Here are a pair of YouTube videos, featuring Manila as it was in the 1930s. I watched it with a sense of wonder ... my grandparents would have been in their teens to early 20s when these films were made.

Enjoy ...

Manila, Queen of the Pacific, 1938

Manila - Castillian Memoirs 1930s

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Firefox Dowload Day

Download Day - English
H/T to Fr. Stephen Cuyos.

For you Firefox fans out there, there is an effort to set a Guinness World Record for most software downloaded in 24 hours on June 17, 2008. I just made my pledge to download Firefox 3 in order to do my part. As of this writing, 1,302,699 people have pledged to download Firefox 3. (Just click on the button above to do the same.)

Click here to make your pledge.

I became a huge fan of Firefox thanks to the IT guy in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department at UNC Chapel Hill. He was a strong advocate for Firefox and its companion Thunderbird for email. After using it on the computers in the department, I was hooked, and I found I liked it so much better than Microsoft's product.

So do your part and download this excellent browser.

Still not convinced? Let me quote Fr. Stephen to conclude this post:
I am writing this post using Firefox 3 Beta 5 running on OpenSuse 11 RC1 and I can attest to the fact that Firefox really gives you “increased security, blinding speed and cool new features that will change the way you use the Web.” Firefox is absolutely free, no strings attached.

If you want to watch a demo of the features of Firefox 3, please click here. If you want to know what else you can do to help spread Firefox, visit this page.

Yet another Top Ten list ...

... and this one continues the theme of clergy-musician relationship.

This time, these are two separate lists that Douglas Cowling had compiled. These were nicked off the Anglican-Music listserv.


1. Refusing to plan ahead (I can't spell Christmas in July)

2. Failing to take musicians into confidence during planning stage

3. Announcing during the sermon that 3 verses of a hymn which had been arranged for orchestra would be omitted due to lack of time.

4. Making the service his personal worship experience with added personal prayers

5. Announcing without warning a hymn replacing the prepared anthem

6. Not allowing Latin because "I don't understand it."

7. Shouting announcements over the organist's introduction to a hymn

8. Insisting on prerogatives to mask defensive insecurity about music

9. Announcing to choir that someone will be making a report instead of the anthem

10. Altering the order of the service or adding extras without prior warning.


If you think Mr. Cowling is letting his fellow musicians off the hook, you have another thing coming. So, fellow church musicians - are you ready for a good-natured roasting?


1. Arriving drunk on Christmas Eve, then leaving before the service, saying, "No one will care if it's a service without any music."

2. Disputing the priest's canonical oversight of the liturgy at a public meeting.

3. Stopping the eucharistic prayer and starting a choir piece which had been omitted accidentally earlier in the service

4. Refusing to engage in a performance review because "no one is qualified to judge me."

5. Improvising unexpectedly on an instrument while the priest is reading a prayer

6. Refusing to come to worship committee meetings

7. Raising an umbrella at the organ console during a baptismal renewal sprinkling

8. Tuning a guitar during the sermon

9. Always looking for ways to insert extra choir music into the liturgy

10. Pretending not to have the music at the organ for something the musicians didn't like.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, Take Three

I'm persistent.

I tried again to make the macaroni salad that I enjoyed with the Hawaiian plate lunches. This time, I followed the recipe exactly, even down to the amounts of ingredients called for. This time, I think I got the taste right, but the texture wasn't quite right. Then I realised - the macaroni was cooked far more than al dente. That might have something to do with it. Their taste must be similar to the Filipino taste - truthfully, I never had pasta done al dente growing up. I grew up eating my father's wonderful macaroni soup, and the macaroni was always nice and soft. I remember marvelling at how the dried pasta would be the colour of egg yolks, and yet it would look snow white when cooked. And, of course, the pasta would be soft and not chewy.

So I think that's the missing element here. I'll have to remember to cook the pasta a little longer so it goes beyond the al dente stage.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to make the Kal-bi, and I'll be happy. A Kal-bi plate lunch! Mmmmmmm.

15th June - 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

I cantored the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception this morning. Minus the organ pieces (most of which I believe ended up being improvisations anyway), here is the music list for that Mass.

As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gloria: 254 (Lee)
Gospel Acclamation: Murray; verse chanted to tone VIII-g
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation, with my "doctoring" of the Agnus Dei, essentially undoing the language faux-pas Haugen inflicted upon it in the first place ...

Pro: 499, Sing out, earth and skies (SING OUT; yes, Haugen)
Psalm: 96, Psalm 100 (Gelineau)
Off: 538, Let heaven your wonders proclaim
Comm: organist's voluntary
Re: 535, To God with gladness sing (CYMBALA)

I didn't pick these ... but as I was singing 538, I thought this might not be a bad piece to introduce to my merry little band, especially as they do those types of pieces particularly well. I'll just have to program that whenever Psalm 89 comes around, or some other reading in which that text would fit well.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prelude on Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (P. Manz)
Pro: 686, Come, thou fount of every blessing (NETTLETON)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Ps 116 (Guimont)
Seq: 455, O Love of God, how strong and true (DUNEDIN)
Off: 528, Lord, you gave the great commission (AUSTRIA)*
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169, My flesh is food indeed (Urwin)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 611, On Eagle's Wings
Re: 541, Come, labor on (ORA LABORA)
Postlude: Prelude and Fugue in F major (attr. Bach)

* I will admit - I am not very keen on the setting of 528 in The Hymnal 1982 (set to ROWTHORN), and had contemplated having my lot sing it to ABBOT'S LEIGH; however, when I flipped through their St. Joseph's Hymnal, I decided to do it to AUSTRIA, mainly because they had it in that hymnal to that setting. Also too, my choristers informed me that they usually used that tune to go with Lord you gave the great commission whenever it was programmed. So it all worked out in the end.

I just got a copy of Wonder, Love and Praise to look over. If anyone out there has had experience with this hymnal, please could you give me your opinions on it in the combox? I know the clergy over at the Duke Episcopal Centre use this as a resource, and I might very well considering doing so also.

Happy Father's Day, everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

NC Licence Plates

This is quite amusing.

Many state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) do checks on requests for personalised licence plates in order to ensure that plates are issued with no hidden foul or offensive language.

However, a certain letter combination seemed to have passed by the censor's eyes unnoticed.

In North Carolina, the licence plates are issued with a three letter combination, followed by a dash and four numbers (for example, MVY-3296). So imagine the amusement of the tech-savvy and text-message-addicted kids when they realised their grandmother had a licence plate issued to her that started with the letters WTF. They laughed at it, and had to explain to their grandmother what WTF means.

Needless to say, the woman was shocked and immediately wrote to the DMV about this. Now, she is amongst almost 10,000 people who will have the opportunity to receive new licence plates at no charge.

Here's another combination for which the DMV has issued recall notices: XXX.

It was a cute little story, tucked in amongst the harder news stories in today's News and Observer.

Read the story here. (At least, I believe you can do so for at least the next 14 days or so ...)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For you Sudoku and Alan Rickman fans ...

... this one is for you. I stumbled upon this sudoku puzzle in a fit of bored web-surfing.

It's an easy puzzle. Once I figured out how to fill in a sudoku puzzle, I found it relatively easy. It was actually a fun little logic puzzle. Why do I mention Alan Rickman here? Well, because once you solve the puzzle, his face turns up!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Watch the Ego-Maniac!

I will admit to being rather amused.

After years of having been reminded time and time again to watch the choir director whilst singing, earlier tonight I was able to see why choir directors the world over are frustrated when their choirs don't seem to follow their direction, or are sluggish in doing so.

I walked in on the tail end of Immaculate Conception's Parish Choir's rehearsal and watched them from the back pew. Out of say around 38 choristers, I could count on one hand the number of singers actually looking at the choir director. The rest had their heads buried in the music. So it didn't surprise me that they didn't follow when he indicated a ritardando, or a crescendo or diminuendo, etc. I couldn't help but smile - I know a choir with their heads buried in their music drives my friend Van Quinn up a wall. I can understand why - being in the position to watch my choristers, I feel like I'm just expending energy ... yeah, exercising my flabby arms, that's it ... when I'm up there, flapping my arms and hoping, just hoping that someone is watching me and will follow what I want them to do. Van used to demand to his Senior Choristers to "watch the Ego-Maniac" and to pay attention only to him, not any other flurry of activity that may have been going on in the sanctuary at the time of rehearsal. Sure, we'd laugh and smile ... and in the meantime, he'd get more and more annoyed if we consistently didn't follow him because we weren't watching him.

Eventually, we'd get the message, and we'd sing whatever anthem we were asked to sing beautifully if not flawlessly.

I'm sure the IC lot will do fine for their Celebration Concert, which will take place on Wednesday, June 25. They are sounding nice (except for the occasional flat tenor and soprano, and the quiet altos), and it is obvious they are comfortable with the pieces they are asked to sing. Now if only they could watch their director more faithfully ...

Monday, June 9, 2008

RIP, Billy Martin

The Pharmacology world just lost a giant in the field. Dr. Billy Martin, chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and internationally renowned for his research in understanding addiction and drugs of abuse and how they affect the brain, died Sunday in Richmond. He was 65.

I'll have to admit that my heart felt like it dropped to my feet when I received the email that had Billy's name in the subject line. I felt really sad. I did remember that Billy had some health issues in recent years, but despite that, this news came as a shock to me. Billy was supposed to have received an award at the upcoming College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) conference. He always went to every ICRS meeting, no matter where it was in the world, and even though I'm really more on the periphery of the ICRS now, having dropped from the world of active research, I cannot imagine an ICRS meeting without Billy.

I first met him in 2000, at my first ICRS meeting in Baltimore. My advisor at the time, Brian Thomas, introduced us by stating that Billy was my academic grandfather (Billy was Brian's thesis advisor when Brian was a Ph.D. student in Pharmacology at VCU.) He was really nice, and was always very encouraging to young researchers like me. The last time I saw him was at a local Cannabinoid meeting at UNC-Greensboro. At the time, I was considering trying to write an application for a K01, but was expressing my doubts and reservations. Billy took me aside and strongly encouraged me to at least give it a go, and gave me lots of advice as to how I should go about doing it.

I will admit - I never did follow through, and now I'm out of that scene altogether. But I will never forget Billy's kindness and his patience. He will definitely be missed.

Rest in peace, Billy.

* In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Massey Cancer Center, P.O. Box 980037, Richmond, VA 23298-0037 or to The Foundation of Pharmacology, P.O. Box 980613, MCV Station, Richmond, VA 23298.

How shall I cheat thee ... let me count the ways ...

Earlier today, I took a trip south to Buies Creek, and Campbell University's Main Campus. I've been working with members of their Chemistry Department in planning the Chemistry courses I'm teaching at the RTP Campus. Today, when I was chatting with the Lab Manager, a student wandered in, wanting to know if we saw a calculator in the lab. I didn't see any, and the Lab Manager rummaged through a box that contained lost calculators. None of the calculators there resembled the one the student described so we murmured our regrets that we didn't find his calculator. So the fellow lumbered off, and Lab Manager and I continued our discussion.

Sure enough, Lab Manager found said calculator ... and also found something interesting written on the back of the calculator. Imagine this: this is the type of calculator that has the sliding hard case. Apparently, a pre-lab quiz was given to these students earlier in the morning. The covers were taken away so as to prevent students from slipping cheat sheets into them. After all, any relevant formula was provided to the students. When I saw the formula, equations, and terms written on the back of this calculator, I laughed while the Lab Manager seethed with indignation. Apparently, cheating has been a problem, and seemingly, students find creative ways to cheat.

I'll have to admit, I found the whole thing funny ... but then I'm sure if I were in the thick of the situation, I'd be upset as well. Something similar happened when I was a graduate student. A group of students were cheating on their lab reports. When you grade a bunch of lab reports, you start noticing if something appears strange. When I noticed consistently at least five students who wrote down the same wrong answer, I started to get awfully suspicious. I kept quiet, thinking perhaps it was just a one-time thing. This persisted for the next couple of experiments. I eventually told the professor, but he did not want to believe me. I will admit - I had a reputation for being a tough grader (although I'm not as heartless as a certain Hogwarts Potions Master ...) and so the professor thought I had it in for these five students. Then he noticed that these same five students cheated on their exam. Once he realised that, he was forced to acknowledge that my charges had merit.

Those five students were eventually called in, and they admitted they cheated. They failed the course and were disciplined for violating the school's honour code, or some such thing like that.

So it is rather disheartening when you discover cheating students. I know, I've been there. I just hope I don't encounter this again.

7th and 8th June - 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

(Reposted because idiot me overwrote this post with my new post from 6/15/2008.)

I must like pain.

Not long after the festivities in the wake of Terry's and Jonathan's Union Blessing, I decided to swing by Immaculate Conception and help out the choir (well, as much as I could with my bullfrog's voice) for their Saturday 5.30 pm Vigil Mass.

Here is the music list for that Mass.

As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

The Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gloria: 176 (Andrews)
Gospel Acclamation, Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Light

Pro: 700, The Summons (KELVINGROVE)
Psalm: 54, Psalm 50 (Guimont - DM played this on the piano. Guimont's psalm settings just do not work on the piano, IMHO. They are so much better suited to the organ ... again, MHO.)
Off: organist's voluntary
Comm: 849, Table Song
Re: 718, We Are Called (Haas)

Sigh ... what a huge contrast to the service from earlier in the afternoon. My voice ended up failing me at the end to the point that I even lost most of the alto range, so I ended up singing (trying to, anyway) the last few songs an octave lower, or just dropping out altogether.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prelude in d minor (attr. J. S. Bach)
Pro: 401, The God of Abraham praise (LEONI)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Ps 33 (Barrett)
Seq: 706, In your mercy, Lord, you called me (HALTON HOLGATE)
Off: 567, Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old (ST. MATTHEW)
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169, My flesh is food indeed (Urwin)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 700, The Summons (KELVINGROVE)
Re: 493, O for a thousand tongues to sing (AZMON)
Postlude: Fugue in d minor (attr. Bach)

I also played the bi-weekly service at Carol Woods, which is organised by Chapel of the Cross. This was a simple service, really resembling the 8.00 am summer morning Rite I services at Chapel of the Cross, with a few omissions, most notably the Psalm and the Offertory hymn. I've agreed to serve as the service pianist for the whole of the summer, up until my services at the Episcopal Centre at Duke University are required again shortly before Labour Day.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Bless the Lord (Taizé - it was what I happened to have on hand, so I improvised on it as people were toddling in.)
Pro: 401, The God of Abraham praise (LEONI)
Seq: 706, In your mercy, Lord, you called me (HALTON HOLGATE)
Comm: Sinfonia (from Cantata 156; J. S. Bach, arr. C. Callahan)
Re: 636, How firm a foundation (FOUNDATION)
Postlude: Rigaudon (A. Campra; arr. C. Callahan)

Thank goodness for Weddings for Manuals, which contains some of the more "popular" wedding music, arranged for manuals by Charles Callahan. It works on the piano ... plus, I thought, especially as far as Communion is concerned, it would be nice to have a piece that I can easily shorten or lengthen, depending on how Communion was going. Unlike most places, here the priest goes and takes Communion to the people. Looking on the congregation (and it was a pretty good turn-out; I'd say around 30 or so), I'd say most are in their late 70s all the way up to their 90s and beyond.

After the service was over, those who were able to approach me did so and thanked me profusely, saying it really made a difference to have music in the service. Those in wheelchairs or with oxygen tanks strapped to them, beckoned me to come to them, and they expressed their gratitude to me.

That is worth far more than the stipend Chapel of the Cross is paying me for this service. I made a difference in these peoples' Sunday worship. It was a very good reminder for me as to why I am doing this. Soli Deo Gloria!

Solemn Eucharist Rite II ...

... with the Celebration and Blessing of the Union of Terry Byrd Eason and Jonathan Dexter Whitney

This very beautiful service took place last Saturday, June 7 at Chapel of the Cross. Terry and Jonathan requested that I rang the bell both before and after the service. They also requested a piece that's been a Compline staple for the last two months of the Spring 2008 semester, in addition to there being at least 4 Compline members amongst the Senior Choir, myself included (and yes, I had enough voice to croak, erm, sing First Alto).

There was a ton of smoke! Terry and Jonathan gifted a brand new thurible in memory of Terry's cousin Emily. So there were two thuribles used during the service. (Yes, the incense flows freely during the Compline services as well. Yes, there is a theme here ... when they are in town, Terry and Jonathan are faithful attendees at the Compline services.)

With that, the Order of Worship. The numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Organ Voluntaries
Prelude and Fugue in C Major (J. S. Bach)
Andante Sostenuto (Symphonie Gothique; C.-M. Widor)
Kyrie Gott Heiliger Geist (Bach)
Hymn in Procession: 423, Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (ST. DENIO)
Gloria: Missa Marialis, Mode 8, Mass 9 (arr. C. W. Douglas)
The Collect of the Day
First Reading
: The Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7
Psalm: 139:1-17 (Anglican chant, setting by S. S. Wesley)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-13
Sequence Hymn: 475, God Himself is With Us, Let Us All Adore Him (TYSK)
Gospel: John 15:9-12 (chanted by the Gospeller)
Celebration and Blessing of the Union
The Vows
The Blessing of the Covenant
The Peace
Offertory Motet
: Ave Maria (R. Parsons)
The Great Thanksgiving: S-120
Sanctus: S-130 (Deutsche Messe; Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: S-119
Fraction Anthem: S-154 (New Plainsong Mass; D. Hurd)
Communion Motet: Ave verum corpus (W. Byrd)
Communion Hymn: 324, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (PICARDY)
Solemn Te Deum: Te deum laudamus in C Major (C. V. Stanford)
The Collect at the End of Worship
Recessional Hymn
: 623, O what their joy and their glory must be (O QUANTA QUALIA, REGNATOR ORBIS)
Dismissal: traditionally used during Eastertide
Organ Voluntary: Acclamations: Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat! (Suite Médiévale; J. Langlais)

Friday, June 6, 2008

... speaking of music ...

Filling in the 5x5 Music Meme reminded me to revisit my on-line playlist as I noticed a heap of broken links. I was very disappointed that most of my Tagalog-language links were broken. :-( If any of you happen to know of any current Filipino artists I could search on, please leave a comment in the combox. Having cousins who prefer to listen to Western artists puts a damper on me knowing other Filipino artists than the usual "big-name" OPM'ers.

I happily added a couple of Brahms pieces, including 14 minutes worth of the German Requiem that was performed by ... erm, can't remember right now, but it was definitely a college group. I would have loved to have added the UNC Clef Hangers' version of Carolina On My Mind, but couldn't find it within Project Playlist's search engines. They sing that piece extraordinarily well.

I think I'm happy with my list for the moment. I'm sure the next time I'll revisit it will be when I notice more broken links in the playlist.

Enjoy listening to some of my favourite songs!

A Music Meme

Borrowed from JunoMagic.

Here are the rules:
1. List your top five favorite musical artists.
2. List your top five favorite songs from each artist.
3. Tag five people to do the same.
I’ll have to admit that this one is a difficult one for me, mainly because I haven’t really paid much attention to the most recent popular music. Most of what I’ve listened to of late have been organ music that I’m currently working on.

I did post on my personal jukebox that I set up using However, to pinpoint five favourite musical artists, followed by my top five favourite songs from each artist ...

Well, I know when I was much younger, I listened to an awful lot of Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, the Cure, the Smiths, and New Order. Oi, that’s five right there!

Well. Let me give this a go.

My top five, in no particular order:
1. J. S. Bach
2. Simon and Garfunkel
3. Dan Locklair
4. Joe Hisaishi
5. Lea Salonga
1. J. S. Bach. I love love love his music. I have Wolfgang Rubsam’s recordings of Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge (Art of the Fugue - Contrapunctus I-XIX), which I always enjoy because I always seem to hear something different every time I hear it. Could I play it? Well, if I can learn how to read other clefs (alto clef is one such that I seem to run across whenever I see the music for these pieces). Oh, but I was supposed to list five pieces.
a. Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major ("St. Anne" – BWV 552). Now here is one set I’d love to learn how to play. My friends like to play the fugue on Trinity Sunday, mainly because of the motifs of threes that seem to crop up in this piece. Why is it called the St. Anne? Well, listen to it carefully – if you’re familiar with the hymn, "O God Our Help in Ages Past," to the hymntune ST. ANNE, then you will hear some familiar themes woven through this piece.

b. Fugue in g minor ("Little" – BWV 578). This was the first major Bach fugue my organ teacher had me work on. I can now play through it, but it is far from being performance-ready. But it is an absolute joy to listen to this.

c. Sonata No. 3 in g minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord (BWV 1029). It is specifically the second movement ("Adagio") that has me so charmed. I first heard this when I watched the late Anthony Minghella’s directorial debut, Truly, Madly, Deeply, starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman. Stevenson was on the piano, and Rickman on the cello, and this was the piece they played. It was absolutely haunting, and I was completely hooked. I do have this movement on my Project Playlist, performed by Jonathan Manson on viola da gamba and Trevor Pinnock on harpsichord.

d. Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11. This was probably one of the most challenging works I had the pleasure of performing with the Senior Choir at Chapel of the Cross. I was hooked, and this is one I could listen to over and over again.

e. Mass in b minor, BWV 232. What’s there not to like about this one? Right now, I’m listening to Andreas Scholl singing the Agnus Dei. I’ll have to admit – anywhere a countertenor is indicated, the one countertenor’s voice I have immediately in mind is that of Jonathan Hiam. We sang together with the Senior Choir when he was a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill. He has a lovely voice and he makes it all sound so easy.
2. Simon and Garfunkel. I could listen to these guys all day.
a. Sounds of Silence. Sure, it was called bad poetry back in its day, but this piece never fails to move me. That and …

b. Bridge Over Troubled Water. Garfunkel’s natural countertenor sails above all. Too bad he had a tendency to go flat from time to time, but I won’t hold that against him.

c. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream. This came from their first LP, "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m." The message is still very relevant today, never mind that this piece was written over 40 years ago.

d. My Little Town. According to Wikipedia, this was performed on Saturday Night Live in October, 1975. I really liked this one the first time I heard it back when I was in high school, at least 10 years after it was first heard. It was a good reminder of how well their voices blended together, even if they personally did not at the time.

e. Scarborough Fair. I just love how their voices blend, and Garfunkel’s sense of harmony was quite good.
3. Dan Locklair. Professor Locklair is in the Music Department at Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, NC. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him, thanks to my organ teacher. He is genuinely nice, and said many encouraging words when I told him I was learning how to play the organ. I’m not sure if I can give, specifically, five pieces, but will five movements from one work suffice? If so, then it will have to be his Rubrics: A Liturgical Suite for Organ, of which there are five movements. I hear organists play movements from this lovely piece of work quite often, most especially the last two movements, "The Peace may be exchanged" and "The people respond – Amen!" I hope to be able to have the entire suite in my repertoire at some point in time in the future.

4. Joe Hisaishi. He composed a lot of music paired with Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. I love his work, both the instrumental, and the vocal. Never mind that I can’t understand the Japanese. There is a lot of the whimsical in his work, and I’ve never tired of listening to it.
a. Tonari no Totoro (ending theme of the film of the same name (My Neighbour Totoro)).

b. Sanpo. It is the opening theme of Tonari no Totoro. Once upon a time, I was able to sing this, in Japanese, from memory. That’s how charmed with this song I was. And it’s awfully cute – talking about going for a walk

c. Ruuju no dengon (Message in Rouge; opening them of Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)). This is another I loved to sing to, and it comes from one of my favourite films.

d. Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara (If enveloped in tenderness; ending theme of Majo no Takkyubin).

e. Kimi o nosete (Carrying you; ending theme of Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa (Laputa: Castle in the Sky)). Specifically, I loved the version featuring the Suginami Children’s Choir. It is stunningly beautiful.
5. Lea Salonga. She has a wonderful voice, and has been singing since she was a wee little one. My cousin had a copy of her original "I am but a small voice" on cassette. Unfortunately, that was one of the things she lost in an earthquake back in 1987. At least it was re-released on CD.
a. I am but a small voice – she was probably around 10 years old when she recorded this one. It was written by Dana Batnag when she was around 13, and with Roger Whittaker, became this very charming song.

b. Tagumpay nating lahat. This came off her CD Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal. This is the voice that Broadway aficionados have come to know and love. Speaking of which ...

c. Soundtrack from Miss Saigon. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint specifically one song from this work, which helped launch Lea’s international career. Perhaps I still believe or Last Night of the World. I heard she was a pre-med student at Ateneo when she was asked to try out for the lead role. I don’t know if this is true or not.

d. On My Own (from Les Miserables). I love her take on this.

e. Nandito Ako, also from Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal.
I wish I had more of her recent stuff. But no matter, I can listen to her sing forever and ever.

Of course, there are others who didn’t make this list, most notably Jose Mari Chan, Dietrich Buxtehude, Olivier Messiaen, Jean Langlais, amongst others. Perhaps I’ll save them for the next meme.

Taggage? Well, really, anyone interested enough to fill this in, feel free. It took me a couple of months to do this, but did it I did. Thanks, Juno!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, revisited

I finally got around to making this lovely macaroni salad. I don't think I quite got it right. I put in a little more carrot than called for, and while it gave the macaroni salad lovely colour, I could tell that it was just too heavy in carrot. Also, I think the mayonnaise makes a difference. I used Miracle Whip, because that's what I had on hand, but it made the whole thing look too yellow. From my recollection, the salad was quite white, just as white as the Calrose rice typically featured in these plate lunches (as far as I can see). I think next time, I'll also use white pepper instead of black.

Hopefully I'll be able to recreate the magic that is Hawaiian-style macaroni salad. It is still the one dish I find I'm missing the most, believe it or not.

And no, I haven't tried making loco moco. That stuff is quite heavy. It probably would have done me well had I eaten that before going on that Diamond Head hike though!

I can haz cheezburger

H/T to An from the When I Kissed the Teacher Yahoo group.

She stumbled upon this absolutely adorable website, I can has cheeseburger. People can upload pictures of animals and have others caption them. I think it's awfully adorable. If you can get past all the intentionally bad grammar, you'll love it.

Some of the more recent examples:

On the mend ... hopefully ...

Those of you who have been following my scattered thoughts over the past couple of months either here on my blog, or on my Myspace or Facebook pages know that I have been whinging over my months-long battle with laryngitis. Despite my voice still being horridly raspy, I decided to try challenging myself by singing. My friends Terry and Jonathan will have their long-time relationship blessed at Chapel of the Cross this Saturday. They've already asked me to ring the bell before and after the service (the standard 7-ring "call to worship" before the service, and a joyous 3-minute ringing of the bell right after the Closing Hymn). Van saw me, and asked me what I thought my range was. I told him definitely not soprano. It's just as well - he needed some extra voices in the alto section. He'll have another couple of countertenors on hand for Saturday's service, so hopefully the altos will be able to hold their own.

Anyway ... we had a 1.5 hour rehearsal, and much to my amazement, my voice actually stayed quite stable. I was drinking water constantly throughout the rehearsal, and much to my chagrin, I found I had to sight-sing most of what was placed in front of me - for most of it, I knew the soprano parts well, and so I really had to pay attention that I didn't sing those notes, lest I rasp myself into next Tuesday.

So this makes me optimistic that my recovery will continue. It's going far far slower than I expected, but hopefully my voice will be as recovered as it can be (please, no nodes!) ...

Something to tickle the ear and feed the Plot Bunny

Of late, pieces of a song long forgotten (at least, to me) has been tickling my ear. It was a song I sang with the Montgomery Junior High School (now known as Montgomery Middle School) Choir, under the direction of Jennifer Sudderth. I just remembered a fragment of the lyrics: "A million tomorrows shall all pass away / 'Ere I forget all the joys that are mine, today."

Google is my friend. I managed to find the song, as well as who wrote this lovely piece: it was the late, great John Denver. I found a YouTube video featuring the song, whose title is "Today."

Immediately, I remembered that Adeline Hernandez, who was one of four student accompanists (Gary Thomas, Cathy Villuan, and I were the other three) sang a solo whilst being accompanied in the background by the choir and, I believe, Gary. I just loved the lyrics.

Of course, my Muse started whispering in my ear immediately. Naturally, this is Harry Potter FanFiction in my mind, and dealing with, specifically, the good 'ship HG/SS. Each stanza, including the refrain repeated thrice, would introduce a series of snapshots from the time Severus Snape is bitten by Voldemort's snake, Nagini, and other scenes of my invention, which includes a long stay in St. Mungo's for Severus. One scene would involve Hermione sitting by an unconscious Severus' bedside, as she remembers the day Voldemort died, and Snape was bitten. Another scene sees Hermione and Harry arguing over Harry's choice of bringing a bouquet of lilies to place on Severus' bedside table. Another scene would involve Minerva McGonagall and Poppy Pomfrey trying to knock some sense into a very stubborn Severus, who at that point in my story, emerged from a months-long coma. Severus has a scene of his own, recalling whatever events he may have remembered, and current events from his point of view. My ending scene would involve Hermione and Severus having a chat in Severus' hospital room.

I've already written at least 70% of this story. I'll just have to work out some of the conversations, and smooth things over to ensure that everyone is, at least, somewhat in character.

Now, you may ask me, what ever happened to the other story I wrote several months ago? It was a Snape/Lily story, nothing romantic, but inspired by an episode of M*A*S*H. There were several things I didn't particularly like about it, and after having had it beta-read (thanks, Juno!) I decided to sit on this for a bit before revisiting it again. I will eventually put this story on-line as soon as I'm satisfied with it, most likely on

Of course, RL will get in the way of all that. I spent a couple of hours marking lab reports earlier tonight, and I have to write up a midterm examination for my students, which I will administer to them on Monday. I'll also have to prepare a set of slides for the next chapter to be uploaded on Monday ... and then I have to remember not to neglect my church-related duties as well. I haven't touched the organ since Sunday, and now that I've located my organ shoes, I really need to drag myself over to church and practice. So I will manage to keep myself busy enough over the next several days ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

1 June - Third Sunday after Pentecost

The Centennial Celebration Weekend at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church concluded with a visit from Bishop William Gregg this past Sunday. (Yes, I know. I'm posting this several days late, but ... better late than never, right?)

Here is the service music; the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Prelude: Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (BWV 731; J. S. Bach)
Pro: 688, A mighty fortress is our God (EIN FESTE BURG)
Psalm: Ps 46 (Barrett)
Seq: 440, Blessed Jesus, at thy word (LIEBSTER JESU)
Off: On Christ the Solid Rock (SOLID ROCK)
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169 (Urwin)
Comm: 391, Before the Lord's eternal throne (WINCHESTER NEW)
Re: 344, Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing (SICILIAN MARINERS)
Postlude: Rigaudon (A. Campra)

Sigh. I still could not find my organ shoes, so this service was played in socks. What a pain.

Naturally, I ended up finding them ... in one of my canvas bags. I should have remembered that I carried my organ stuff in my Chemistry bag! My feet will be happy in navigating the pedalboard once again! Grrrrr.