Saturday, August 30, 2008

A wonderful day in Charlotte, NC

A friend and I started off bright and early in the morning to drive off toward Charlotte, NC. After collecting him from UNC Chapel Hill and noting that the parking guards were already up and about, readying themselves for the Football game (against whom, I don't really care ...), we started off for our journey west.

On the way, we noticed cars and trucks and the like sporting flags and banners from both East Carolina University (ECU) or Virginia Tech. This had us puzzled ... perhaps the VT fans were heading toward Clemson? That would make sense as both are ACC schools. After stopping at a rest area and chatting with a couple of die-hard ECU fans, we realised that both the ECU and VT fans were heading to Charlotte to watch a football game between these two schools. For some reason, ECU was considered the home team and VT the visitors. What didn't make sense to either me or my friend was, why not play the game in Greenville instead of going all the way out to Charlotte?

We just shrugged our shoulders and hoped that we wouldn't be in the thick of football traffic. Remembering how crazy traffic would get on football game days in Raleigh when NC State, Durham when Duke or Chapel Hill when UNC plays at home, I certainly was not fancying the thought of sitting and stewing in traffic.

Luckily, we got off I-85 before the rest of the football-crazed fans. So we spent the morning at Brodt Music. That place is huge. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop, looking over the organ literature, and choral pieces in their inventory. I managed to buy a couple of pieces the NC Filipino Choir is preparing for their annual Gala. (For me, I feel far more comfortable having "legal" copies of the music, as opposed to illegal photocopies of the same.) I also managed to find a couple of other things I was after ... as well as checking over what two-part choral music they had on hand. (For any chorally-inclined person reading this: have you any suggestions as to what choral anthems I could have my choir try? I have a small group, ranges between 3-5 people on any given Sunday, and I've discerned that two-part anthems would be suitable for them at this point in time ... comments would be highly appreciated in the combox.)

My friend ended up spending lots of money there ... but was chuffed when he came across boxes of used music and found reduced orchestral scores of a few pieces he had been after for a long time. He looked like he was going to die of ecstasy when he came across a Hohvaness score ... and after having purchased it, continued to go on and on about how happy he was to have found it ...)

After having spent too much money at Brodt, we made our way to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. This church is huge! The carpark alone gave an indication of just how ginormous this church must be. The size of the building is another ... it's a many-storied building ... well, at least 3, really. We met the resident organist, a friendly fellow named Monty Bennett, and he gave us a mini organ crawl through their equally ginormous organ.

It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. (And this coming from someone who has been up close and personal with the Flentrop at Duke Chapel and seen from a distance the wonderful outdoor Austin organ at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion, Balboa Park, in San Diego.) The lovely instrument that currently resides at FMBC is a 5-manual (yes, you read that right) Ruffatti organ.

Monty was very generous with his time as he explained to us the history of the organ, the process in which the organ came to FMBC, and played a few pieces for us, showcasing the features of the organ. It pretty much has something for everyone. It even has theatre organ-like stops. It was quite interesting to hear that. It's a beautiful instrument, not a harsh sound from it at all. It is voiced quite nicely for the room (although it really is such a shame that the place is carpetted wall-to-wall, plus the pews are padded ... which is a sentiment that Monty also echoed, but financial restraints caused them to make the choice of carpet over slate flooring ... and the financial differences was shockingly like night and day ...)

Both my friend and I had a go at playing the organ. Such a wonderful instrument, and I'm sure if I had regular access to such an instrument, you'd see me practising there every day. In fact, you'd have to peel me off that instrument.

Oh yes - the building itself seats 3,000 people. Yes, you read that right. Three thousand. The balcony alone accomodates ca. 900 people, and the choir area seats 200. I have never been in such a huge church before ... well, okay, that's a lie. I've been to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, as well as St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Yes, they are large, but as far as a continuous worship space (so to speak), I'd say FMBC has to be the largest I've been in. It was amazing.

I'm still drooling over that organ. Monty did invite us to return if we ever found ourselves in the area and wanting practice time on this lovely instrument. I'm sure I will probably take him up on his offer at some point in time in the future.

The drive back to the Triangle area was, for the most part pleasant ... with one exception. We had the misfortune of having left about the time the VT-ECU game was finishing up. So we were caught in the post-football traffic along I-85. Even worse - it was on the stretch where it was down to 2 lanes, so we did more stopping than we did moving. Now that was very frustrating.

Note to self: stay away from football-crazed areas on game days ...

Friday, August 29, 2008

AGO ... oh!

Well. I find myself in an interesting position. I have been asked to serve as Treasurer/Registrar for the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists. I never thought I'd find myself in such a position. But then again ... in retrospect, my career has taken a turn I never would have envisioned a few years ago.

I was in training to be an academic scientist. When I did a series of teaching workshops at UNC last month, I came to the conscious realisation that I did almost everything that would have been expected of an academic research scientist. The only thing I didn't do was go on to the next step and apply for a K01 or R01 for myself. I know those are awfully competitive, and with funding the way it's been for the past few years, one would have had to resubmit their grants a few times before they would be funded. I'm just not sure I wanted that kind of life for myself.

And now, in addition to an adjunct faculty position I've secured for myself, I serve as organist for two congregations in Durham. And, I am enjoying myself doing that. When I first started taking organ lessons August 2002, I envisioned this as a hobby, something that I enjoy doing. Music became a wonderful outlet for me. I never envisioned it becoming more than just an avocation.

I'm still enjoying it, and I suppose being part of the e-board of an organisation designed for organists to network emphasizes in my mind the fact that this has become more of a serious career for me. Sure, I'm working with a couple of small congregations, but then for someone at my level, it's a good fit. I may have the opportunity to audit a beginning conducting class next semester at UNC, which would be good for me - I'll have the opportunity to learn how to be a good choral conductor.

This doesn't mean I'll leave science forever though. My adjunct position teaching chemistry helps in that respect. So too does my continuing involvement with the local chapter of the American Chemical Society. You will still see me at the ACS' booth at the North Carolina State Fair in October, as well as other ACS events as my schedule permits.

The first e-board meeting of the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the AGO will take place tomorrow evening. There are new faces in the chapter and the board, and we hope this will be a good year for the chapter and the organists it serves.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dedicatory Recital of the Goodson Chapel Organ

The Dedicatory Recital of the new Goodson Chapel Organ took place in the Goodson Chapel at Duke Divinity School last Tuesday, August 26. The always abfab David Arcus presented a nice program that shows off this lovely organ.

The program:

Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist (BWV 667, J. S. Bach)

Chorale and Six Variations on Ontwaak, gij die slaapt (improvised by K. Bolt; reconstructed by D. Koomans)

Prelude, Interludes, and Verses on Old 113th (D. Arcus, 2004)
  • Prelude
  • Stanza 1 of I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
  • Fugue
  • Stanza 2
  • Interlude
  • Fugue
  • Stanza 3
  • Interlude
  • Fugue
  • Stanza 4
Three Chorale Settings (J. L. Krebs):
  • Fantasia sopra Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend
  • Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
  • Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan
Préambule (from 24 Pièces en style libre, Op. 31, No. 1; L. Vierne)

Sonata No. 1, Op. 65 (F. Mendelssohn):
  • Allegro moderato e serioso
  • Adagio
  • Andante, Recit.
  • Allegro assai vivace

The organ was built by Richards, Fowkes, & Co., organbuilders based in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Their Opus 16 instrument was built with the idea that this organ would provide another unique voice amongst the organs already in existence at Duke. In addition, it is hoped that this organ would inspire, musically and spiritually, the students of the Divinity School. From what I heard, I believe they have satisfied this goal.

I spoke with David after his recital, and he indicated that there may be an open practice schedule for this organ. I certainly hope so - I think it would be a joy to practice on this wonderful instrument ... not to mention having the opportunity to play on a flat pedalboard ...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

24 August - 15th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 16

Yay! Compline is back!!!

But before I go on about that, here are my usual lists. I played two services today.

Service #1: St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played my usual 10.30 am service. As usual, numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Canticle 13: Glory to You (J. Rutter)*
Pro: 304, I come with joy to meet my Lord (LAND OF REST)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Psalm 124 (Barrett)
Seq: 707, Take my life, and let it be (HOLLINGSIDE)
Off: 522, Glorious things of thee are spoken (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: WLP 831, Ubi Caritas (Taizé)
Re: 525, The Church's one foundation (AURELIA)
Postlude: Allegretto (Wm. Boyce)

* I will be introducing a new piece of service music to this group. Well, new to this congregation, but not to me. So I'll use the old "saturation" strategy - S-236 will be my prelude for the rest of August. That way, by the time we get to September 7, when we change the service music once again, the congregation should be able to have it in their heads and sing this with gusto. (I hope.)

Service #2: Carol Woods. Services there are organised by Chapel of the Cross. This was my last Sunday there as starting next Sunday, my services at the Episcopal Centre at Duke University will be required once again.

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite I
Prelude: Adagio from Voluntary I (Op. 7; J. Stanley)
Pro: 645, The King of love my shepherd is (ST. COLUMBA)
Off: 707, Take my life, and let it be (HOLLINGSIDE)
Comm: Prelude in b-flat minor (BWV 867; J.S. Bach)*
Re: 525, The Church's one foundation (AURELIA)
Postlude: Largo Staccato from Voluntary IX (Op. 7; J. Stanley)

* I prepared this piece especially for this congregation, as a kind of parting gift to them. I was enchanted by this piece when I first heard my piano teacher, Greg McCallum play it. The people at Carol Woods were very nice - during the Announcements, one of them approached me holding a gift bag. I was gobsmacked - I certainly did not expect anything, and yet this congregation gave me a going-away present in appreciation for my playing the services through the summer. (They gave me a piano-shaped pin and a really nice silk scarf.) I thanked them, it was indeed a wonderful experience for me, and I will keep the kindness and generosity of the people at Carol Woods with me.

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. This was our first Compline of the academic year, and the attendance was amazing, both as far as the numbers of choir members present, as well as the huge numbers of people who were present at the service itself. I kept thinking of how far we've gone - when I first started singing with this group (thanks to a friend of mine who dragged me there one Sunday evening), attendance was rather sparse, and we'd be lucky if 20 people turned up. Now? The church was at least 2/3 full, and that might even have been under-estimated. It was wonderful!

Our little additions to the Hurd setting:

Lord, for thy tender mercy's sake (R. Farrant)
Psalms 91 and 134 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: To you before the close of day (TE LUCIS ANTE TERMINUM, Mode 8)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

For the Fall 2008 semester, Compline will go on every Sunday night at 9.30 pm until the first Sunday in December. Watch this space for the Compline music lists. The Schola, comprising of members from Duke Chapel Choir, UNC's Newman Center, members from Chapel of the Cross, and UNC students, are under the direction of Dr. Wylie S. Quinn, Organist/Choirmaster at Chapel of the Cross.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bork Bork Bork!

This is just the coolest thing. Firefox has a really cool add-on that will allow you to view any web pages or mail as spoken by the Swedish Chef. It's called Bork Bork Bork! It's quite amusing ... it would definitely make reading junk mail very amusing.

Give it a go. Click on the Bork Bork Bork! link above and install the add-on.


Thees is joost zee cuulest theeng. Fureffux hes a reelly cuul edd-oon thet veell elloo yuoo tu feeoo uny veb peges oor meeel es spukee by zee Svedeesh Cheff. It's celled Bork Bork Bork!" It's qooeete-a emooseeng ... it vuoold deffeenitely meke-a reedeeng joonk meeel fery emooseeng.

Geefe-a it a gu. Cleeck oon zee Bork Bork Bork! leenk ebofe-a und instell zee edd-oon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This is so true ...

Yet another gem from Jorge Cham, the creator of that very clever comic strip, PHD Comics:

Shock and Awe

H/T to Steven A., who posted this on an Alan Rickman fan page on Facebook.

This week's Backstage has an interview with Mr. Rickman. Naturally, he's been doing a slew of interviews in support of his recently released film, Bottle Shock (which I hope to see at some point in time this week).

Speaking of which - what were those dunderheads at KTTV Channel 11 thinking????? In my childhood, I considered this the Vin Scully channel - even though I hated the L.A. Dodgers, I loved Vin Scully and how he announces the baseball games. (Of course, my absolute favourite is Jerry Coleman ("You can hang a star on that baby!"), who I consider the Master of the Malaprop ... but then, I am digressing.)

Go look for Rickman's interview with three dunderheads on KTTV's website, or easier yet, look for it on YouTube and you'll see what I mean. Oh, how the mighty have fallen; Mr. Rickman must have the patience of a saint to have to endure that drivel! He actually addressed this, quite gracefully, I'll have to say, with his good humour ("You just do it and move on ... you turn yourself into a letter and post it, and hope it arrives somewhere. What was the question again?").

Anyway, back to what I really wanted to talk about. The aforementioned article was well-written and very informative. It was in the form of a Q&A session with Mr. Rickman. The interviewer, Dany Margolies, and Rickman discussed the actor-director relationship, his early acting lessons, and the devaluation of American theatre.

(If I were an actor, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to take a Masterclass with Mr. Rickman. It seems like he's got so much to offer students by way of his experiences ... not to mention it would hardly be a boring affair with his very keen sense of humour.)

Parting shot - if you've seen the trailer to Bottle Shock, you will have seen that his Steven Spurrier character is eating a piece of chicken out of a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket. His response to that was hilarious. You should watch it in the video embedded below.

Half-Blood Prince movie release moved to July 2009

Somehow, this news does not surprise me, considering how long it took Warner Brothers to get the teaser trailer out. I'd think they'd want to maximise profits by delaying the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Considering the writer's strike that occurred recently, it doesn't surprise me that it would be cited as a reason for the delay. The new release date, by the way, is 17 July 2009.

Read more at The Leaky Cauldron here.

Note: Picture depicts Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham-Carter), and Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory) at Spinner's End, as Bellatrix acts as Bonder for Snape's and Malfoy's Unbreakable Vow. You can download a hi-res version of this photo here.

17 August - 14th Sunday After Pentecost - Proper 15

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

I played the organ and piano at the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception. As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gloria: 254 (Lee)
Gospel Acclamation: 261, Murray; verse chanted to tone VIII-g
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation. Those of you who have followed my musings know I've whinged on enough about this setting. Yes, I don't like singing it. Even more, I don't like playing it. Sorry, Mr. Haugen, but this just is not one of your compositions that move me. I'm still quite mystified how this spread like wildfire such that it seems that all Catholic parishes in the United States seem to revert to this setting as their "default" Mass setting. (shudder)

Prelude: Improvisation on St. Catherine (because I was so late ... I couldn't wake up this morning :-S)
Pro: 600, Faith of our Fathers (ST. CATHERINE)
Psalm: 66, Psalm 67 (Guimont)
Off: 821, Bread of Life, Hope of the World (B. Farrell)
Comm: A portion of Echo Fantasia 5 (Ionian; attr. J. Sweelinck)
Re: 612, Amazing Grace (NEW BRITAIN)
Postlude: Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (Sweelinck)

Okay, okay. I think I'm all Sweelinck'd out. I'll have to find something else for next week. Even though I've subjected my poor parishioners to Sweelinck for what feels like the past month or so, I'm still getting compliments from people about those charming pieces I'm playing. (Maybe I'm getting a little bored with scales. But ... well, my piano teacher, Greg McCallum would probably be quite happy that I am still practising my scales! Let's all do our Hanon rolls now ...)

Service #2: St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played my usual 10.30 am service. As usual, numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Canticle 13: Glory to You (J. Rutter)*
Pro: 410, Praise my soul, the King of heaven (LAUDA ANIMA)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Psalm 133 (Plainsong, Mode 6; ed. Ford)
Seq: 531, O Spirit of the living God (MELCOMBE)
Off: 677, God moves in a mysterious way (LONDON NEW)
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: WLP 772, O Christ the healer (KEDRON)**
Re: 539, O Zion, haste (TIDINGS)
Postlude: Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (Sweelinck)

* I will be introducing a new piece of service music to this group. Well, new to this congregation, but not to me. So I'll use the old "saturation" strategy - S-236 will be my prelude for the rest of August. That way, by the time we get to September 7, when we change the service music once again, the congregation should be able to have it in their heads and sing this with gusto. (I hope.)

** This is a lovely piece from Wonder, Love, and Praise. When I introduced it to my choir a couple of weeks ago, one of them thought it sounded like a very peaceful Native American song. They've caught on to it quite well, and I've received compliments on choosing it for today's service. For the Communion hymn slot for the next couple of Sundays, we'll be doing the Taizé setting of Ubi caritas. Well, it'll fit the readings for the next couple of Sundays, and I'm hopeful that I can use that as the Communion Hymn for when the Duke students return to the Episcopal Centre at Duke University in a couple of weeks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mmmmm. Food ...

Oooh, oooh, I wanna play! Borrowed from JunoMagic.

The rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

Buzzy’s addition: Underline the ones you’ve cooked/made/grown/gathered yourself.

Juno’s addition: Add one to three foods that you’ve cooked/enjoyed that are not on the list so far!

Lyn's addition: Well, I can't think of any, so I just added my comments in italics.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (Does alligator count? Had it in the Brasilian steakhouses.)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (although I prefer it sweet)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I'd have the cognac, but wouldn't have the cigar.)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (contained in one of my favourite dishes, kare-kare)
41. Curried goat (usually contained in kaldereta, although there are a couple of Indian restaurants in this area that does a wonderful goat curry that I never tire of eating ...)
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk (yes, straight from the goat. I thought it was too rich for me - and as a result, undrinkable. My cousins teased me for weeks afterward.)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (Eel sushi, yummmm)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts (Best when freshly made.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (Had it as a candy. It's pretty good.)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (Made it with peas, spinach, potatoes, etc.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (In a previous life ...)
56. Spaetzle (it was a friend's speciality, and he made it pretty well.)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (Sorry for you Quebeçois who consider this comfort food. To me, it looks like heart attack on a plate.)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores (Camp food! Best enjoyed around a campfire with others.)
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (I'd only consider it for medicinal purposes.)
64. Currywurst (Looks interesting. I'd probably try this.)
65. Durian (Smells awful, but tastes great.)
66. Frogs’ legs (This amongst others I had at a restaurant called Pinausukan in Manila.)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I tried chitterlings at Mama Dip's in Chapel Hill ... interesting is all I can say about it.)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (Call me a spoilsport. I would generally not ingest something that I might associate with use in the lab.)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (Sickly sweetness. Haven't had one since elementary school.)
78. Snail (See my comment after 66 above.)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum (yum yum. Love Thai soups!)
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Bribe sticks, really - easy to get a friend to do things if I promise him Pocky sticks! heh heh heh)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (Not sure if the ones I've had at Nana's count, but the two I've had - wonderful!)
85. Kobe beef (Kinda helps to have generous friends who can afford this stuff. Kobe beef is every bit as good as described.)
86. Hare (I tried cooking this once. It turned out very gamey. I never tried it again.)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (Had it in Hawaii. Not bad, really.)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (I would not be a true Filipino if I didn't have this growing up!)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (The best I've had comes from Barney Greengrass in NYC.)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake
101. Spider Crab
102. Ossobucco alla Milanese
103. Creme Bavaroise
104. Octopus
105. Philippine milkfish (bangus) (I can eat this all day, one of my favourite fish, if you can get past all the bones.)
106. Starfruit (balimbing)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Compline's coming back!


Okay, so call me a nerdy creature. I'm just very happy that Compline is coming back. Our first Compline will be on Sunday, August 24, at 9.30 p.m. at Chapel of the Cross.

It's a wonderful experience - you walk into a darkened church, illuminated only by candlelight. Incense is swirling all around. Then, the schola enters the church, and the choir starts chanting the Compline service.

I really enjoyed listening to my fellow choristers chanting the service when I was suffering from that long bout of laryngitis. I really missed it - I haven't sung with the schola since the last Sunday in March.

I am, indeed, looking forward to rejoining the schola for this next academic school year.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2 + 2 = 4, last I checked.

Yes. I participated in four services today. The first, I cantored, the last three, I played either organ or piano (or both).

With that, the lists.

I cantored the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception. My friend Andy played the piano. (I'll be drawing the playing duties next Sunday whilst our friend Jane enjoys her African trip.) As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gloria: 254 (Lee)
Gospel Acclamation: 261, 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: 571, We gather together (KREMSER)
Psalm: Psalm 85 (Guimont)
Off: 577, Come, my way, my truth, my life (THE CALL)
Comm: Organist's Voluntary
Re: 661, The Church's one foundation (AURELIA)

Service #2: St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played my usual 10.30 am service. As usual, numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Canticle 13: Glory to You (J. Rutter)*
Pro: 388, O worship the King (HANOVER)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Psalm 105 (Guimont)
Seq: 608, Eternal Father, strong to save (MELITA) - Yes, the Navy Hymn.
Off: 680, O God, our help in ages past (ST. ANNE)
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: WLP 800, Precious Lord, take my hand (MAITLAND, adatped)**
Re: 375, Give praise and glory unto God (DU LEBENSBROT HERR JESU CHRIST)
Postlude: Fanfare in C Major (H. Purcell)

* I will be introducing a new piece of service music to this group. Well, new to this congregation, but not to me. So I'll use the old "saturation" strategy - S-236 will be my prelude for the rest of August. That way, by the time we get to September 7, when we change the service music once again, the congregation should be able to have it in their heads and sing this with gusto. (I hope.)

** I noticed a discrepancy in the words between the Episcopal hymnals Wonder, Love, and Praise and Lift Every Voice and Sing II and other hymnals/sources (for example, Gather Comprehensive, and lyrics gleaned from a Google search) for this piece. If you click on the title (Precious Lord) in my list above, you will have the opportunity to read the story behind the song. That was the basis for my using the version in Gather Comprehensive instead of in LEVAS II.

We said goodbye to our friend Valarie, who will be leaving for the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she will begin a Ph.D. program in Microbiology. Good luck and Godspeed, Valarie.

Service #3: Carol Woods. Services there are 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 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on Olivet
Pro: 388, O worship the King (HANOVER)
Off: 608, Eternal Father, strong to save (MELITA)
Comm: Echo Fantasia 5 (Ionian; attr. J. Sweelinck)
Re: 636, How firm a foundation (FOUNDATION)
Postlude: Fanfare in C Major (H. Purcell)

Service #4: My turn came up at Chapel of the Cross for the late Sunday afternoon service. I thought this was the coolest thing: Van and I chose the same Opening Hymn and Sequence Hymn, despite the fact we're doing different readings (except for the Gospel, which is the story of Jesus walking on water).

The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Echo Fantasia 5 (Ionian; attr. J. Sweelinck)
Pro: 388, O worship the King (HANOVER)
Psalm: Ps 85 (recited)
Seq: 512, Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove (MENDON)
Off: 691, My faith looks up to thee (OLIVET)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Comm: Toccata (Dorian, Sweelinck)
Re: 636, How firm a foundation (FOUNDATION)
Postlude: Fanfare in C Major (H. Purcell)

Scarborough Fair

Okay, okay. One more Muppet YouTube video. This time, Paul Simon is featured, playing the lute and singing the English folk song Scarborough Fair. The setting: a Renaissance-type Faire, featuring the Muppets and Mr. Simon.

My favourite line from this one: "Hold it, hold it, it's the Sheriff of Nottingham here. You're under arrest for playing a lute without a licence."


Waldorf: "What did you think of the Faire?"
Statler: "I've seen better fares on the bus!"


Ode to ... joy?

I had to also post this one on my blog. I am so amused by this one!

Beaker x 6, meep'ing to Beethoven's Ode to Joy ... with ... erm ... disastrous results.

Watch this train wreck waiting to happen ...

Habanera à la Bork

H/T to Nick B. via

From a meme far far away ... Nick once admitted that his favourite Muppet was the Swedish Chef. Well, you Swedish Chef fans, here's a YouTube video for you! Featuring the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and a cameo appearance by Animal.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

A great idea ...

H/T to Mark Quarmby via the PIPORG-L listserv.

The Organ Music Society of Sydney (Sydney Chapter of the AGO) has begun a special online newsletter for young organists which can be downloaded from the Organ Music Society of Sydney website.

I think it's a nice idea to have newsletters and the like targeted specifically to young organists as they really are the future of the Organ World. I still remember when I first expressed interest in learning how to play the organ. A couple of organists I had met were very keen on encouraging my interest and helping me find a teacher. I became involved with the local chapter of the AGO and started attending recitals and the like (and if you click on the Concert Program tag, you'll be able to see some of the programs of the concerts I've attended in the past). Hopefully, schedule permitting, I'll be able to attend more organ recitals this year. I was also invited to be a part of the e-board of the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter and will be assuming the position of Treasurer/Registrar. (Scary thought.)

So. How would we attract the young people to the organ? I helped out at a Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza event that the local chapter held a few months ago (well, "helped" is a relative term as I was in the throes of my 3-month bout with laryngitis at that time). The kids were very keen to try out the organ and seemed really keen to see the inner workings of the organ, as well as to examine the various pipes we had floating about. Most of these kids were piano students and were of elementary to middle-school age. Hopefully their interests were piqued. I remember when I first started to learn how to play the organ, a young home-schooled girl was amongst the organ students I kept on encountering at organ crawls, Masterclasses, etc. My organ teacher once told me that he was teaching an 11-year old the piano with the thought that as soon as her legs can reach the pedals easily, her instruction will shift to the organ.

Publications like that the Sydney chapter of the AGO put out can only help in attracting the young to the organ. I think it's a great idea.

The HP Hubby Meme

Stolen from Southernwitch69.

Just for kicks and grins, I filled in the questions that went along with determining who your ideal Harry Potter Husband is. Imagine my amusement when this was the answer:

Your result for The Harry Potter Husband Test...

Mrs. Snape

You like a guy of loyalty and intelligence and don't really mind if he comes across as a bit harsh. Or a bit bastardy. Or if he happens to terrify every child who crosses his path. The point is that under that rough exterior lies...well, a rough interior. But under that is a soft, squishy center and you don't mind at all that you're the only person in the world who gets to see it.

Take The Harry Potter Husband Test at HelloQuizzy

I also scored high on Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dumbledore. My lowest scores? Dudley Dursley, Gilderoy Lockhart, and the Weasley twins.

Go figure!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well. I'm not teaching this term. As it turns out, my class did not make minimum enrollment, and therefore, the class was cancelled.

Yes, I'm disappointed - I picked up some really neat tips on Active Learning whilst attending faculty development workshops at UNC Chapel Hill, and I was very keen to implement some of that knowledge with my class this semester.

I guess I'll just have to wait until the next term. On tap would be a Forensic Science course that I'll be team-teaching with the usual faculty members. I already have a few ideas cooking for that one ... a re-design of the thin-layer chromatography experiment for one, plus possibly incorporating an experiment in which the students would be dusting for fingerprints and analysing them, and possibly an experiment having to do with ethanol and its effects on the body. I'm still thinking of possibilities here. I realise that in this day and age, a lot of what forensic chemists do in the field involve the use of analytical instrumentation, but I'm sure I can still think of activities the students can do that will allow them to appreciate what chemists in the Forensics field do.

Naturally, the best thing we did for the students was planning a couple of field trips to area forensic labs as this gave them a chance to interact with those in the field and get a taste of how their day-to-day routines go. I certainly hope we have the opportunity to do that for the next group of students who come along.

3 August - 12th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 13

I had just the one service last Sunday.

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

The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Echo Fantasia 5 (Ionian; attr. J. Sweelinck)
Pro: 48, O day of radiant gladness (ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Ps 17(Barrett)
Seq: 321, My God, thy table now is spread (ROCKINGHAM)
Off: 670, Lord, forever at thy side (SONG 13)
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 821, Bread of Life, Hope of the World (B. Farrell)
Re: 304, I come with joy to meet my Lord (LAND OF REST)
Postlude: Toccata (Dorian, Sweelinck)

I was in a Sweelinck kind of mood ... lots of scales to keep the fingers happy ...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Yes, I've felt like this once upon a time ...

In a previous life, when I was a graduate student, I felt like this. It seems like a lifetime ago at this point.

This comes from a very clever comic strip called PhD Comics. Every graduate student ought to read this and laugh.

Friday, August 1, 2008


A friend and I drove to Rocky Mount, NC to attend the funeral of a mutual friend's father. (It was for him that I asked for prayers Monday; he passed away early morning July 30.) At the memorial service, there were tears and remembrances; he was much-beloved by family and friends. He was also a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Korean War, hence the U.S. flag that was draped over his coffin.

What really struck me, however, was the utter respect the residents of Rocky Mount have for each other. I was part of the funeral procession as we made our way slowly to the cemetery. All traffic stopped to let us pass through: on the major roads, all the cars had stopped; on the smaller roads, all the cars had pulled over to the side of the road and no one moved until the procession drove by. The one exception: the one SUV which had Virginia licence plates.

To be honest, I don't remember seeing anything like that before. Yes, I've seen funeral processions wind through town, but I've never seen traffic going the opposite way stop in the way I saw it in Rocky Mount. I thought it was a nice gesture, and told me of the respect those residents had for others.

Another thing ... well, unrelated, perhaps ... my friend was telling me about some YouTube videos of a mutual friend of ours who recently completed his Bachelor's degree from UNC Chapel Hill, and so I went there, searching for said videos. He was part of a wonderful male a cappella group called the UNC Clef Hangers, and whilst composing this post, I had their YouTube videos playing in the background. One of their pieces struck me as appropriate, given this post. The lads sung this piece at an impromptu prayer vigil on campus the evening the UNC community learnt of Student Body President Eve Carson's murder. I am embedding that video here as a tribute to those we've lost. I'm also thinking of Kent Otto, who was the long-time organist at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Durham, Dr. Billy Martin, who was a professor at the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Fenner Douglass, who was an organist and professor at Duke University, Dr. J. Michael Walker, who was a professor at Indiana University, amongst others ...

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.

UNC Clef Hangers performing Josh Groban/Dave Matthews "Lullabye" with soloist Ryan White, at their 2008 Spring Concert in Chapel Hill.