Tuesday, September 30, 2008


My Muse has been visiting me quite often lately. Today, I just sat down and wrote a short 3,000 word one-shot story featuring Arthur and Molly Weasley and Harry Potter.

Feel free to read it here. Like it? Hate it? Please leave me a comment here. Concrit is especially welcomed.

Please note that this story is not beta-read. I just felt like posting it after a couple of read-throughs.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

From the perspective of a Local-Born

Earlier tonight, I attended the first birthday party of a member of the NC Pinoy Choir. Naturally, there were heaps of people, lots of playful children, and plenty of food to go around. This party reminded me very strongly of those I attended whilst in the company of my parents and extended family. All the elements were there: people, mostly Filipinos or other Fil-Ams, and they would be friends and acquaintances from work, from church, from Filipino organisations and the like. Despite my being Local-Born (so-called because I am a Filipino who was born "abroad" to Filipino immigrant parents), I recognised a lot of the attendees due to my affiliation with the NC Pinoy Choir and the PAANC. It was really nice to hear Tagalog in my ears once again. Even if I don't catch every word, I am able to understand generally what is being said. This seemed to surprise some of the people there. We even discussed it once the hullabaloo of gift-opening and toy playing quieted down amongst the children.

One of the most common questions I receive from people is, where am I from? Amongst Filipinos, the question I receive is, how old was I when I came to the United States? They generally do not believe me when I tell them I am Local-Born. Perhaps it is because I understand Tagalog? It makes me wonder how I managed. From my earliest recollections, I know my parents spoke to my brother and me in Tagalog as we were growing up. We don't speak Tagalog, or if we did, we lost the ability to speak it once we started going to school. Many of the others reported a similar phenomenon with their Local-Born children, except that they stated their children refused to speak Tagalog at home, and now they don't understand it at all. Somehow those sentiments sound familiar. For me, I don't really recall if I expressly refused to speak Tagalog, but then again, growing up in a community with a large Filipino population ensured that I would be surrounded by those who spoke Tagalog consistently. I wonder if this is the reason why I am able to understand Tagalog. I also find that the more I'm immersed in it, the more I begin to think in small snippets of Tagalog, even if I have problems stringing more than a few words together. One of the guys (a bass in the choir) said he sent his children to spend time with relatives in the Philippines during their summer holidays in hopes that upon their return to the US, they would be able to speak Tagalog. No such luck. They experienced something similar to what I did - the cousins were so overjoyed to be able to "expand their small boxes of English" that they insisted on speaking English all the time so they could practice. Luckily for me, when I encountered this, I was able to understand what my cousins were saying, and eventually, when they got tired of actually speaking English to me, we would revert to our funny little way of communicating - they would speak Tagalog to me (or Taglish, which sounds a bit strange admittedly) and I would respond in English. Somehow, it worked.

The other kids in school were either Local-Borns like me, or they emigrated to the United States from the Philippines when they were young children. Perhaps they still had vestiges of their accents, perhaps not. (I never really noticed that, but then again, when I was in high school, there seemed to be some sort of a barrier between the Local-Borns and those termed "FOBs" or "Fresh Off the Boats". The latter expression, by the way, may be considered offensive by some.) Many of us found that our parents had very similar professions: a typical combination of those in my area was, mother was a nurse, father was in the military, and considering I grew up in San Diego, that would mean Navy. Whether or not the parties took place at others' houses, or even at the ever-popular Admiral Baker Field in Mission Gorge, there would always be plenty of food, plenty of kids running around, and plenty of Filipinos enjoying themselves and each others' company.

Back to the party I attended. I couldn't help by laugh to myself when I noticed a huge group playing some sort of card game (tong-its, perhaps? It was the first that came to mind) in one room. It seems to be a typical activity, either some sort of a card game, or mah-jongg, and generally chips would be exchanged, or even money would be on the line. In the other room, there was a group who were enthusiastically line-dancing, non-stop (or at least, for as long as the CD or DVD was playing). So this scenario was slightly different than a party I attended in Toronto, where the constant was the card or mah-jongg playing whilst others were congregating in another room, watching some Filipino movie playing on The Filipino Channel. But it still seemed ... well, almost like home actually.

So no matter where in the world we happen to be, Filipinos everywhere seem to be similar, tied together by a culture and a language we love dearly. I am sincerely happy that this group has accepted me, the Local-Born, into their circle. It makes me feel at home as I am able to connect to what I term my "inner Filipino."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What musical legacy would we leave to those after us?

An interesting thought came up during a workshop entitled "Do It Yourself Theology: Hymns." Just in case you're wondering what that is about, here is the course description:
The aim of this series of adult classes will be to make the process both somewhat clearer and somewhat less individual; engaging in joint, do-it-ourselves, theology may help to enhance and deepen the place of hymns in our lives as Christians. During each of the four sessions several hymns will be looked at, primarily, as sources for theological reflection. At the same time, we shall try to remember that hymns are instruments of worship, and to that end we’ll consider the role of the tunes to which they are set – not by musical analysis but by singing through them ourselves. No musical ability is required or even expected.
I attended the third of four classes last night, and we explored some very interesting themes. What caught my attention was a comment made while we were discussing "Now, my tongue, the mystery telling" set to the hymntune Pange Lingua, as found at #329 in the Hymnal 1982.

The person who made the comment appears to be in his mid- to late-60s. (I will admit that I am not always the best judge of ages, but I don't believe he is any younger than 60s.) He expressed fear that the plainsong hymns like #329 might not make it in any future revisions of The Hymnal. On the other hand, a young, early 20-ish college student said that amongst his peers, there is a resurging interest in anything chant, plainsong, polyphony, etc., and that he is not worried at all about such pieces surviving amongst people of his generation.

I think they ended up agreeing to disagree on this point. However, from my experience, I can say honestly that I agree with the young college student. It has been my experience that it's the younger people who are happy to hear chant, and even to learn chant, and that the older people are those who express the most reservation, even disdain for music they consider "dead."

Sung Compline at Chapel of the Cross is a perfect example of the young man's assertion. I remember when I first joined the compline choir back in ... I want to say 2002 or 2003. We'd be lucky if we had at least 20 people turn up for the service in a church that seats at least 400-450 people. As the years have gone by, the choir has gained in membership whilst attendance at these services has grown, steadily. Most of those who attend the Compline service are young, college-age students. Not surprisingly, most are students at UNC Chapel Hill.

As for the choir itself - most of the choir members are undergraduate or graduate students and post-docs. I don't believe there are any choir members who are older than 50. And if you ask the young people present, they gush on about how wonderful this music is, and how completely fitting it is to hear it in church.

I discussed this after the class with the facilitator, who is a History professor at UNC and also an ordained Episcopal priest. He agreed with my assessment, and stated that the sung Compline service was a vision by the director, Dr. Van Quinn, and that he was happy that Van's faith in establishing this service has been rewarded. And it is quite obvious that the Compline service is one of Chapel of the Cross' most attended services of the day.

I was also discussing this with my young 20-something year old co-contributor, the erstwhile computer guy/organist fission, who is a happy member of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA), and he pretty much echoed the observations he's made with mine.

So how is this related to the idea of "legacy"? Well it's more the discussion that followed the one related to plainsong and chant. As far as future hymnals are concerned: what sort of hymns would be included in them? Would we still see more plainchant in the hymnals? Would we still see some of the more traditional hymns? Or would we see more of the "contemporary" songs such as what one would see in most Roman Catholic "hymnals" and Episcopal supplements such as Wonder, Love, and Praise and Lift Every Voice and Sing II?

Discussion, comments, etc. are welcomed in the combox, but flames will be sent to /dev/null.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

21 September - 19th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 20

Here are my music lists, as usual.

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 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Grave from Voluntary VIII in C Major (from Fugues and Voluntaries (12) for organ or harpsichord; attr. G. F. Handel)
Pro: 522, Glorious things of thee are spoken (AUSTRIA)
Song of Praise: S-236 (Benedictus es, Domine; J. Rutter)
Psalm: Psalm 105 (Guimont)
Seq: 617, Eternal Ruler of the ceaseless round (SONG 1)
Off: 9, Not here for high and holy things (MORNING SONG)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-167, The disciples knew the Lord Jesus (M. Martens; Mode 6)
Comm: WLP 761, All who hunger gather gladly (HOLY MANNA)*
Re: 541, Come, labor on (ORA LABORA)
Postlude: Allegro from Voluntary VIII in C Major (from Fugues and Voluntaries (12) for organ or harpsichord; attr. Handel)

* Well call this a happy accident. In my fit of unpreparedness, I did not pay attention to the version of this hymn that was actually in Wonder, Love, and Praise. So I (mistakenly) thought it was the version as found in Gather Comprehensive. Boy am I glad I was wrong. The version in WLP is ever so much easier to sing (and play!) than the ... version ... found in Gather.

Service #2: Episcopal Centre at Duke University.

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prelude in C Major (BWV 846a, J. S. Bach)
Pro: 522, Glorious things of thee are spoken (AUSTRIA)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 105, recited
Seq: 617, Eternal Ruler of the ceaseless round (SONG 1)
Off: 9, Not here for high and holy things (MORNING SONG)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: 341, For the bread which you have broken (OMNI DIE)
Re: 541, Come, labor on (ORA LABORA)

Ah, bliss. The little 3-stop Holtkamp was tuned, and it is a much pleasanter instrument to play (and to listen to). Silly me forgot my Handel book at St. Joseph's, which is why, in a pinch, I decided on the Bach piece for prelude. Pianistic, I know, but it works on the little one-manual Holtkamp. In general, a postlude is not expected at these services, so there may be times when I just won't play one.

Service #3: Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd.

Here are our little additions:

Domine fac mecum (Thomas Morley)
Psalms 31 and 134 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: O Christ, you are both light and day (CHRISTE, QUI LUX ES ET DIES, plainsong Mode 2)
Nunc Dimittis with Faux-bourdons (H. Willan)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria ... virgo serena (des Prez)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bede: "doctus in nostris carminibus"

Co-written with Tyler Mitchell.

On August 23, we went to Mass at St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA. Naturally, when Lyn had a look at the church's website, the first thing that caught her attention was the organ: a Buzard, Op. 31, which is a 3-manual, 54-rank organ. It's the most striking thing in this "church in the round." The processional organ is particularly interesting because of the en chamade pipes jutting out horizontally from the bottom of the case. We wish we could have heard them – perhaps during the processional or recessional!

But first things first. The music list. The numbers refer to GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover).

Saturday 5.30 pm Vigil Mass: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Kyrie: Not sure what setting. It's not in Gather.
Gloria: 176 (Andrews)
Gospel Acclamation: 263, Joyful Alleluia (Hughes); verse was not
chanted to that indicated (should have been LBW Tone 1, but it didn't sound like it).
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation (d/b/a Massive Cremation)

We missed the prelude (if any was played) because we arrived in the middle of the Opening Hymn. (Oops!)

Pro: 488, To Jesus Christ, our sovereign king (ICH GLAUB AN GOTT)
Psalm: 133, Psalm 138 (Stewart)
Off: 702, The love of the Lord (M. Joncas)
Comm: 598, Center of my life (P. Inwood); 654, With a shepherd's care (J. Chepponis)
Re: 524, Holy God, we praise Thy Name (GROSSER GOTT)

We're not sure what the postlude was, but it was well executed. Too bad not many people could shut their big yappers were listening to it.

Now for our impressions. It turned into an interesting discussion on the differences between the Canadian Catholic Church & the American Catholic Church. Whilst having this discussion, Lyn remembered her experiences going to Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral and Our Lady of Lourdes in Toronto, and St. Martin de Porres and St. Joseph's in Scarborough. She remembered some notable differences ... admittedly, far more noticeable at St. Michael's than at the latter three parishes she had visited.

So from the beginning:

Even though we gave ourselves what we thought was ample time to get to St. Bede's we didn't anticipate on our directions from Mapquest having a minor typo that caused us to miss a turn. We pulled into the carpark a couple minutes before 5.30 pm (along with a slew of others). We were struck with how huge the carpark was. It was a clue that the parish is a rather large one.

We found a space and walked toward the church. Lyn was rather dismayed at the Church in the Round, and expressed reservations about it. Tyler's reaction to it: "Zoinks!" Lyn's only other experience with this type of architecture was when she went to St. Andrew the Apostle in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. We also knew about the organ, thanks to Lyn's search of the church website, and were wondering if we would hear it at this Vigil Mass. We weren't disappointed – as we walked into that cavernous Narthex, we heard the organ, and the people were singing the opening hymn very well. We walked on until we found an empty pew toward the back of the round, and we ended up to the right of the altar. We both groaned when we saw Gather Comprehensive in the pews. We also glanced at the music selections that was printed in a green leaflet inserted in the hymnals. Tyler certainly wasn't impressed. All Lyn could do was sigh.

The Gloria was the Carroll Andrews setting. It's a relatively well-known setting amongst American Catholics. However, Tyler opines that the priest alone should have given the intonation "Glory to God in the Highest." Lyn admits to not having paid attention to this detail ... but then again, from her experience of singing and playing for the Episcopalians, she remembered that the settings of the Gloria has the choir or priest intoning that line before the congregation joins in the singing. Perhaps it's a small detail ... or not, depending upon perspective.

The readings were well executed, and the pronunciation was good.

The Psalm setting left something to be desired. Tyler thought this setting of Psalm 138 was fitting only for a lounge, and that he should have had a cocktail firmly in hand. Even then, he would not tip the lounge pianist all that well. Lyn was originally scheduled to play the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception and was quite happy she got out of doing that as she would have had to play this Psalm setting. Needless to say, she agreed with Tyler's assessment. So, what about chant? This would have worked quite well with, say, Tone 8. That would have allowed for the use of the actual psalm text, as opposed to the text paraphrases so prevalent in Gather and other GIA hymnal products.

As for the Gospel Acclamation: Lyn noticed that the verse was intoned to something that sounded nothing like LBW Tone 1, which was the suggested Psalm tone that went along with the Hughes Joyful Alleluia. As she was making faces at Tyler, Tyler made the observation that the verse tone did not match that of the refrain; it was jarring at best.

For the Psalm and Gospel Acclamation, the cantor's duty is to proclaim, but the cantor's voice seemed a little weak for this role. It received an essential assist from the microphone's amplification.

A very strange thing happened right after the Gospel. The organist played some sort of brief improvisation, and the people remained standing after the people answered, "Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ." Generally, Catholic congregations sit immediately after this statement. This congregation remained standing until the organist stopped playing. Lyn's guess is that they remained standing whilst the Gospel Procession ... well, processed back to wherever. Neither of us saw this as people standing around us blocked our view. It felt even more strange to Lyn because in such a situation, she was expecting some sort of sentence from the priest (e.g., "In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.") before the people would sit, similar to what the Episcopalians would have done.

As for the homily: the priest killed it before he even started by stating it will be shortened due to a guest speaker, who would be speaking about Diocesan work in Southwestern Virginia. Unfortunately, it was very easy to tune him out as a result. Lyn ended up taking notes on the priest's ca. 2–3 minute homily on Peter being the Rock and the Petrine Authority and papal succession. Once the nun speaking about SW Virginia took over, Lyn stopped paying attention and turned her attention to the building itself.

The altar was in the centre of the building, with all the pews curved around it. The organ console and choir chairs were placed behind the altar. At least there was a lot of natural light - this seems to be a detail that some modern Catholic churches lack. The priest and the man sitting next to him (certainly wasn't a deacon as he was missing his deacon's stole/sash) were sitting on the most hideously pink-upholstered chairs.

As for the building materials: the floor looked like unsealed concrete, and the ceiling, which appeared to have a crack, looked like some sort of absorbent foam stuff. The walls were composed of paver brick. No wonder the space seemed very dry, acoustically. A friend once told Lyn: if it absorbs water, it will absorb sound. Once you fill the church with people (and it looks like this church would seat ca. 1200 people, comfortably, and more could be crammed in if they were standing in the back and aisles), even more sound would be absorbed. So much for good resonant spaces. At least this church had icons representing the Stations of the Cross on the walls.

There were four candles placed at four corners around the periphery of the altar, which is something Lyn has noticed in all the new churches she's come across, but which Tyler thought to be really strange, even wrong. He thinks two candles are missing. Lyn and Tyler guessed this must be a difference between the Canadian and American churches as she recalls that the Toronto parishes she visited used six candles on the altar or behind it.

After the most underwhelming homily and subsequent talk, the offertory ... song (not hymn) was a rather schlocky piece penned by Joncas. We noticed the singing was lukewarm to tepid at best. It certainly was not as loud or as hearty as the singing of the Opening Hymn.

The Eucharistic prayer was a bit of a surprise: the priest was ad-libbing it, thus diluting it and shifting the focus away from the prayer itself. As for the Mass ordinary (Mass of Creation Massive Cremation), Lyn whinged on and on about this setting in a previous post, so we won't repeat our complaints here.

We were rather startled by the army of Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers (EEMs). There were at least twenty of them and is the most we've ever seen at any one time. If there are that many for a Saturday vigil Mass, it makes us wonder how many would be needed for a Sunday morning Mass.

Communion was administered under both species (consecrated bread and wine). This is commonly done in the American Catholic church, but not so much in the Canadian Catholic church. To those not familiar with reception under both species, it comes as a shock.

After Communion, the Army of EEMs trooped back to the tabernacle whilst the priest stood "at attention" behind the altar, looking as if he was bidding them a fond and extended farewell.

Another thing that struck Tyler as strange: non-vested people touching items at the altar. There was one fellow who approached the altar only to remove lids from the chalices. Tyler wonders why couldn't the priest or some other vested person have done this? It struck him as being inappropriate.

Speaking of the vesting issue: shouldn't everyone fulfilling a liturgical function at Mass be vested? Lyn recalled that at St. Michael's, the EEMs and the lector were vested. The only person not vested was the cantor (she had gone to Mass there during the summer, when the associated Choir School was on summer holidays). It is a question she is debating now with her choir at St. Joseph's. But that's an issue for another post.

As for the music during Communion: neither were sung well by the congregation. The Inwood piece was sung lukewarm to tepid at best (even less singing than the Offertory song) whilst for the Chepponis piece, singing was essentially non-existent. We also noticed that the organist improvised on these non-hymns as opposed to choosing some voluntary or chant or hymntune, etc. It made Lyn rather nostalgic for Jane Lynch, Van Quinn, or David Arcus' improvisations.

After the priest fondly looked upon his retreating army of EEMs, he went to his hideously pink chair and sat down. What struck Tyler as strange was that after the priest sat, the people, most of whom were kneeling in prayer, got off their knees and sat down. To him, it was "like the Borg." Lyn thought they were good Lemmings for doing so. Actually, she wasn't so surprised at this as she has observed this behaviour pretty consistently no matter which parish she's visited in the U.S. She pointed out that in some parishes, the people will remain standing after the Agnus Dei, and won't sit until the last person has received Communion and the priest himself sits down.

We both agreed that the priest received many bonus points for holding off on any announcements until after the Post-Communion Prayer. Way too many of them will do announcements and the like before the prayer, which isn't right.

For the Closing prayer: the priest also ad-libbed that, inserting some meaningless words shortly before making the Sign of the Cross. Tyler's hand was hanging rather awkwardly as he anticipated the priest making his final blessing and benediction. Inappropriate ad-libs lead to confusion. As a result, we looked like a pair of fish out of water.

Closing thoughts:

Supposedly, Liturgy in the Catholic Church should be universal, whether you go to Mass in Canada or the U.S. or even Southeast Asia – the Liturgy should be consistent with the official church guidelines. Any deviation causes diminishing unity with the rest of the Universal Church.

The Unity theme seems to be one that liturgists have debated for years. Our thought on this: if we were doing exactly the same thing at Mass, wouldn't we be in union with one another? The highest form of art is in the Mass. To change that on a whim is akin to throwing paint on the Mona Lisa.

Mind you, these observations come from a pair of "armchair" liturgists who have spent too much time familiarising themselves with Sacrosanctum Concilium, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), and other similar documents.

We welcome and encourage your comments and criticisms – provided you are willing to give them!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Catholic Carnival 190 at Deo Omnis Gloria

Catholic Carnival 190 is up and running at Deo Omnis Gloria. Jay characterised this Carnival as a serious one, laden with heavy thoughts.

My entry was my reflections on Fr. Dan's homily from Holy Cross Day.

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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

PAANC Mass of Remembrance

The Philippine-American Association of North Carolina (PAANC) celebrated their annual Mass of Remembrance at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Raleigh. The NC Filipino Choir was the service choir for the Mass.

Since St. Raphael had Gather II in the pews, the numbers for the hymn/song list will come from that hymnal.

This Mass was offered in memory of the following PAANC family members: Adela Competente, Emilia de la Cruz, Dolores Farrales-Espino, Eustaquio Malicsi, Juanita Reyes, Carmen Riculan, Romina Valente, and Guadalupe Vergara, as well as for the repose of the souls of other members of the PAANC family whose names were placed at the altar before Mass. Also too, the readings for the Mass were not those prescribed for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows but reflects what you might hear at a Funeral Mass (Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 23 paraphrase; John 11:17-27).

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows / Mass of Remembrance
Processional Hymn: 469, Blest Are They (D. Haas)
Psalm: 30, Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd (R. Sensmeier)
Gospel Acclamation: sung a cappella to some tune Msgr. Lewis started singing. I wasn't familiar with it.
Offertory Hymn: 430, Be Not Afraid (R. J. Dufford)
Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: Ama Namin (E. P. Hontiveros)
Communion Hymn: 597, I am the Bread of Life (S. Toolan)
Post-Communion Meditation: Sino Ako? ("Who am I?"; J. Castañeda)
Recessional Hymn: Hindi kita malilimutan ("I will never forget you"; M. V. Francisco)

I know two of the three Tagalog pieces were written by the Philippines' answer to the St. Louis Jesuits, Fr. E. P. Hontiveros and Fr. M. V. Francisco (no relation to me). They are responsible for a lot of the music that Filipinos hear at Mass, both in the Philippines and abroad. I'm not sure if Fr. J. Castañeda is a part of the Jesuit Music Ministry, but from what I understand, Sino Ako is another beloved song that you might hear at funerals in the Philippines.

A reflection ...

... on the readings from yesterday's (14 September) Mass. I am specifically looking at Nb 21:4b-9; Phil 2:6-11, and Jn 3:13-17, which includes the famous "God so loved that world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (And in the meantime, the Stainer setting based on Jn 3:16-17 plays in my mind ...)

Fr. Dan delivered a wonderful homily, as usual. One analogy he made I thought was very interesting: comparing a newly molted snake to one who is experiencing new life. He compared it to a renewal of sorts. He also made references to the reading out of Numbers, where the Lord set a serpent amongst the complaining people as punishment; however, in His mercy, asked Moses to set a bronze serpent upon a pole such that when the repentant people who had been bitten by the serpents looked upon it, they would live. I can see a theme of forgiveness - the people acknowledged their sins and manifold wickedness (yes, Rite I language here ...) and God in His mercy, forgave them. Interesting that symbol was the bronze snake.

All I could think of was the serpent in the garden of Eden, tempting and then leading Adam and Eve astray ... J.K. Rowling's symbolism of the snake representing Slytherin House (into which most of the Dark wizards were sorted in the Harry Potter universe) ... and yet, Fr. Dan made mention of the ambiguity of the snake. On one hand, the snake is maligned as the symbol of deceitfulness, but on the other hand, the rod of Asclepius, which consists of a serpent entwined around a staff, is an ancient Greek symbol associated with healing the sick through medicine.

He also mentioned that the cross itself can be seen as an ambiguous symbol - Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross ... and then his resurrection and eventual ascension into heaven being a victory over death on that cross ... but then the Crusaders and the Ku Klux Klan also used the cross as their symbols. So is it a symbol of good, of conquest, or of hate?

What we were commemorating (and what the Episcopals are commemorating today) was the cross as the instrument of salvation. Christ died for our salvation, and we remember that every time we pray the Nicene Creed ("For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried"). In addition, the Catholic profession of faith with regards to the Cross is as follows:
We believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of the cross redeemed us from original sin and all the personal sins committed by each one of us, so that, in accordance with the word of the apostle, "where sin abounded grace did more abound.
And then, there is this prayer that I recall was recited after every Station from the Stations of the Cross: "We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world."

So the symbolism behind the cross is quite rich in the Christian tradition. It's interesting that what started me really thinking about this was being a bit surprised at Fr. Dan's references to the ambivalent symbolism behind the snake. It certainly makes for a good point on which to meditate, and discuss.

14th September - 18th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 19

This time around there are four lists.

Service #1: I cantored the Mass at Immaculate Conception yesterday. As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Gloria: 176 (Andrews)
Gospel Acclamation: 257, Alleluia 7 (Berthier). I fit the following verse to the tone indicated, minus Alleluia: "We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee; because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world."
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Light, with my "doctoring" of the Agnus Dei, essentially undoing the language faux-pas Haas inflicted upon it in the first place ...

Prelude: one of the pieces from 24 Pièces en Style Libre (Vierne). Wish I knew which one ...
Pro: 791, Lift High the Cross (CRUCIFER)
Psalm: Psalm 78 (Guimont)
Off: 698, Take up your cross (O WALY WALY)
Comm: The royal banners forward go (VEXILLA REGIS PRODEUNT, Mode 1)
Re: 488, To Jesus Christ, our sovereign king (ICH GLAUB AN GOTT)
Postlude: Improvisation on Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The pastor, Fr. Dan, delivered as usual, a very insightful homily. What I found interesting was a different way of thinking of the much-maligned snake. He made the comparison between the snake (having molted its skin ...) and Jesus Christ (after Resurrection). I'll write a separate post on this topic.

It was my idea to do the Communion hymn. (Usually, the organist plays a voluntary during that time.) It's not in Gather, as far as I know, so I chanted it solo. After the Mass, I received so many compliments from people. Many asked me what that lovely piece was that I chanted, and after I told them, they gushed on at how beautiful it was, and they'd love to hear more of that in the future. Even the organist told me that whenever my turn at cantoring comes up, I should feel free to bring any plainsong pieces I want to do during Communion.

Service #2: St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played my usual 10.30 am service. I will admit to being disappointed that we're not observing Exaltation of the Holy Cross. According to the Episcopal Church, it's one of those feasts that do not take precedence on a Sunday. Actually, I was curious enough to look this over with a couple of friends in the Book of Common Prayer, and they have seven principal feasts, including Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, All Saints', Christmas, and Epiphany. Three feasts would take precedence on a Sunday: Holy Name (which I believe is New Year's Day), Presentation (Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas), and Transfiguration, which for the Episcopals tend to come on the last Sunday after Epiphany. So I suppose, given that, Holy Cross would not take precedence on a Sunday. Knowing this doesn't take away my disappointment at having the feast moved to Monday, however.

Enough of that. As usual, numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: The royal banners forward go (VEXILLA REGIS PRODEUNT); Composition on a Plainsong (John Dunstable)
Pro: 494, Crown him with many crowns (DIADEMATA)
Song of Praise: S-236 (Benedictus es, Domine; J. Rutter)
Psalm: Psalm 114 (Ford; Plainsong Mode 2)
Seq: 60, Creator of the stars of night (CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM)
Off: Gather Comprehensive 726, Make me a channel of your peace (Temple)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-167, The disciples knew the Lord Jesus (M. Martens; Mode 6)
Comm: 648, When Israel was in Egypt's land (GO DOWN, MOSES)
Re: 690, Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (CWM RHONDDA)
Postlude: Agincourt Hymn (Dunstable)

I had an interesting conversation with a couple of people after the service. One really nice fellow from England was telling me about how, at a ... was it a football or a rugby match? ... well, there would be the Welsh, singing the Cwm Rhondda theme; I believe he said it was their National Anthem, and whilst singing, they would have tears running down their cheeks.

Another interesting conversation: if a parish is named "Holy Cross" or "Church of the Resurrection", "Church of the Nativity", "Church of the Most Precious Blood" then who or what would their patron be? It is obvious for churches like "St. Joseph", "St. Raphael the Archangel", "St. Bede", even "Immaculate Conception". Would the patron be Jesus Christ? His cross? His blood? (Your comments welcome in the combox.)

Service #3: Episcopal Centre at Duke University.

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: The royal banners forward go (VEXILLA REGIS PRODEUNT); Composition on a Plainsong (John Dunstable)
Pro: 494, Crown him with many crowns (DIADEMATA)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 114, recited
Seq: 60, Creator of the stars of night (CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM)
Off: 648, When Israel was in Egypt's land (GO DOWN, MOSES)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: WLP 831, Ubi Caritas (Taizé)
Re: 690, Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (CWM RHONDDA)
Postlude: Agincourt Hymn (Dunstable)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd.

Here are our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell)
Psalms 4 and 134 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: Christ, mighty Saviour (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, plainsong Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
Nunc Dimittis with Faux-bourdons (H. Willan)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 September - 17th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 18

Sorry for the huge delay in posting this. There are three music lists here from the two services I played last Sunday morning and afternoon, as well as the Compline service I sung in later on that evening.

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 Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prelude in b-flat minor (BWV 867; J. S. Bach)
Pro: 400, All creatures of our God and King (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Song of Praise: S-236 (Benedictus es, Domine; J. Rutter)*
Psalm: Psalm 149 (Barrett)
Seq: 440, Blessed Jesus, at thy word (LIEBSTER JESU)
Off: 174, At the Lamb's high feast we sing (SALZBURG)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-167, The disciples knew the Lord Jesus (M. Martens; Mode 6)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 625, Where charity and love prevail (CHRISTIAN LOVE)
Re: 376, Joyful, joyful we adore thee (HYMN TO JOY)
Postlude: Fuge fur Orgel manualiter (D. Ponder)**

* After an entire month of playing this as a prelude, this was the first Sunday we sang this as the Hymn of Praise. Well. At least we'll be doing this until Advent, so they have two months to get it right. I know it works as congregational song; I've experienced it personally at both St. Stephen's and Chapel of the Cross.

** Daniel Ponder (b. 1988) is currently a third-year student at UNC Chapel Hill, majoring in Music. He wants to go on for a Ph.D. in Musicology, and wants to be a university professor.

Service #2: Episcopal Centre at Duke University.

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Prelude in b-flat minor (BWV 867; J. S. Bach)
Pro: 400, All creatures of our God and King (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 149, recited
Seq: 440, Blessed Jesus, at thy word (LIEBSTER JESU)
Off: 174, At the Lamb's high feast we sing (SALZBURG)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: WLP 831, Ubi Caritas (Taizé)
Re: 376, Joyful, joyful we adore thee (HYMN TO JOY)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd.

Here are our little additions:

Call to Remembrance (Farrant)
Psalms 91 and 134 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: Christ, mighty Saviour (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, plainsong Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
Nunc Dimittis with Faux-bourdons (H. Willan)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

I volunteered to chant the chapter (Mt 11:28-30), and received compliments on how I chanted it. Van was overjoyed - it was evidence that I've overcome the laryngitis. Sure, my voice is still raspy, and I've lost my range, but at least, I can still sing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Catholic Carnival 189

Welcome to another installment of the Catholic Carnival! I've received a group of interesting and varied posts this time around, ranging from serious, reflective, and funny. Without further ado, let's queue up for the bad-for-you Carnival food (funnel cakes, deep-fried sweets such as Snickers bars and Twinkies, and candied or caramel apples, anyone?) and dive right in to the blog entries.

Here is a more healthy appetizer than all those aforementioned treats. ACM at 50 Days After tells you how to adopt a Catholic blog. Go on, you know you want to do it. You might even find some gems no matter if the blog is well known or not.

Appropriately enough: the first "entrée" for this carnival is a reflection on the beginning of the day, and the beginning of the week, penned by Sarah at just another day of Catholic pondering. As the day progressed from sunrise to sunset, Sarah leaves everything - triumphs or stumblings, holiness or impatience, smiles or tears - in God's hands.

Over at Thoughts on Grace, Colleen, who admits she is new to the Carnival (welcome, Colleen!) submitted a nice piece about her love of keeping lists but that she doesn't always put God at the top of her list. Read through her thoughts and see how she concludes that she needs to remember that God is NOT a Thing to DO.

Fellow Chemist Michelle at Quantum Theology submitted a piece about pain and suffering. Well, it's not as painful as you might think. Michelle suggests to offer whatever pain you might be suffering for the souls in Purgatory. The rest of her post relates this concept of redemptive suffering to that of re-purposing, recycling, reusing ... and brings up an apostolic letter, Salvific Doloris that was penned by the late Pope John Paul II. Money quote:
It is certainly time to recycle and reuse my mother’s injunction to "offer it up" for this generation — so they, too, can imagine how to repurpose the pain.
In the meantime, David over at The Apostolate of the Laity blogs on that age-old question, "Why am I here, and what is my purpose?" To be or not to be, that is the question ... and the answer (no, not 42, we're not talking Douglas Adams here):
One exists because out of love God spoke one into creation, and one's purpose primarily becomes a lifelong attempt to love his Creator with all of one's very being.
The rest of his post relates this question to the modern-day issues surrounding protecting your identity from the thieves. How different is safeguarding your passwords and other important data from protecting one's identity as a child of God? David tries to answer these questions in his most insightful entry.

Susie from Musings from a Catholic Bookstore is looking forward to the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to St. Bernadette Soubirous. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI will be in Lourdes, France from September 13-15 where he will visit the grotto where the apparitions occurred. In addition to delivering this news, Susie provided a history of this event, and gave a link where you can read articles and other links related to Lourdes, Bernadette, the anniversary and the Pope’s visit.

My dear friend Ebeth from A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars provided this lovely litany type of prayer to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Originally posted during the Lenten season, it is a good prayer to have on hand at any time during the year.

Anyone who has been to a parish staffed by Franciscans will most likely notice somewhere in the sanctuary the San Damiano Cross. Deanna at Notlukewarm states it's a favourite of hers, and wrote a poem about it whilst on retreat.

Tim over at Army of Martyrs submitted a pair of interesting posts. His first deals with the concept of Catholicity - is the Catholic Church truly "catholic"? Tim illustrates his point with a quote from Cardinal Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.

His second post deals with the doctrine of apostolic succession. His post stems from a comment he made on another blog on this topic. His point: Apostolic authority exists within the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox Church) or it does not exist at all. The rest of his post lends support to this statement.

There were some reflections on scripture. Kevin at Heart, Mind and Strength wrote about his thoughts from this past Sunday's readings. Love is the central theme.

Bob at Prepare for Mass also provided his thoughts on the same readings, and also emphasised the concept of love: love thy neighbour as thyself, love one another as (Jesus) has loved thee, etc. The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy were also mentioned in Bob's post.

Using the New American Bible, Christine the Soccer Mom read the Epistle of James from start to finish in one sitting. She provided her thoughts over at Domestic Vocation. It's a pretty thorough analysis of this epistle, and Christine provides her reactions and thoughts after having read through it.

Until I moved to the East Coast, I always associated the first days of school to occur after Labour Day. So in general, my birthday would fall within the first week or two of school. (Around here, school started the week before Labour Day ... unless you're a UNC-Chapel Hill student, where the first day of school was obnoxiously early, 19th August.) When I was a student at UCSD, we were on the quarter system, and school started even later (to my recollection, mid-September or later). So with all the back-to-school hullabaloo, Evann at Homeschool Goodies suggested four books targetted to the Homeschooling Parent to help keep them on track spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Check her recommendations here.

Now I'm queuing up at the booth where they are selling popcorn with movie theatre-style butter. Mmmmmm. What better place to enjoy such a treat than at the cinema hall? Lisa at A Life of Benevolence wrote a review on the movie Bella. It won the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival and was released in theaters last fall.

Now for the politically-themed posts. First, a couple of bloggers wrote about Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Jean at Catholic Fire provided a post including photos of Ms Palin and her family, as well as some of her favourite posts and links. She also provides some thoughts about why she greatly admires Ms Palin.

Christine the Soccer Mom's second entry at Ramblings of a Catholic Soccer Mom focused on Ms Palin's 17-year old daughter Bristol. Bristol made the news last month because she was pregnant. Her decision to keep the baby and marry the baby's father with her family's blessing was one of the subjects on which Christine wrote. Money quote:
[...]Family values - Pro Life values - mean that when an unexpected pregnancy comes up, you love that mother and that baby and you deal with it.
I quote this because of an interesting conversation I had with my next door neighbour last night as I was returning from choir practice. She admitted to me that some of the choices she made in her (young) life have not been the best, but two choices she made are those she never regretted: having her two daughters. Both pregnancies were unexpected, but she was determined to have her children, despite the fact that she would be raising them alone, and with the strong support of her family and friends, she is managing to provide for them a stable and loving home. Thus far, she is dealing with her situation admirably. Her eldest daughter, aged 5, is due for surgery early next week; please pray for her recovery.

Secondly, a post about Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama was provided over at Rhymes with Right. The long-running debate questioning exactly when human life begins is the central issue behind this post.

Now for a little levity. Marcel from Texas A&M's St. Mary's Catholic Centre put a challenge on SMCC's blog Aggie Catholics: Pin the Caption on That Photo. The photo depicts the latest rage in perfumery: The Pope's Cologne. Click here to have a look at the photo, as well as the captions submitted thus far.

Brian from Christus Vincit is amused by a graphical depiction of a Chant Workout. Tired of bench presses and bicep curls? Try this new workout. A dose of the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos may be included if you ask nicely.

In parting: I will admit that I like having something in the background whilst working. In general, I have organ music playing in the background (hence the reason why people felt like they walked into a church whenever they visited me in my cubby when I was a post-doc at UNC-Chapel Hill). However, I had a variety of podcasts playing in the background this time around. Here is a shout-out to the Catholic New Media Roundup. Sean does a wonderful job promoting Catholic blogs and podcasts. Give him a go; you won't regret it. Other podcasts I listened to as I compiled this list included in alphabetical order: Fr. Seraphim Beshoner's Catholic Under the Hood, Brian Michael Page's Christus Vincit Anywhere, Fr. Stephen Cuyos' Cuying Podcast (even though he hasn't had any new ones up lately, I still like listening to his reflections), the iPadre, Fr. Jay Finelli, and Secrets of Harry Potter hosted by Fr. Roderick Vonhogen. Three of these podcasters are also members of SQPN, which also has a wealth of other wonderful podcasts.

We've come to the end of another installment of the Catholic Carnival. Until next time ... thank you for reading. Enjoy the links above.

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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some thoughts on a Tuesday morning ...

For those of you waiting for Catholic Carnival 189: I'm working on it right now. I've ca. 18 posts to wade through. I haven't decided on a theme yet but the posts are quite varied, including a couple of very light-hearted ones. Perhaps a bit of levity is needed, especially for those who have been affected by the hurricanes and tropical storms that have passed through the Southeast lately. (As a side note: for those of you who have sent me your thoughts and concerns regarding T.S. Hanna, all is well here. We had a heap of needed rain and there were a few flooded roads and downed trees, but no major loss of life or limb.) The Carnival should up by tonight.

Admittedly, I decided to host this week's Carnival as a nod to this being my birthday week. So consider this my celebration.

Some of you may be wondering about the second name under "Contributors." Yes, I do have a co-contributor to this blog. I'll let him make his introductions in his own time. Suffice to say, he is a Canadian organist who during the day wears the hat of a Professional Services "Engineer". In his words, a couple of things that guide his writings:

  • I can post as infrequently as I wish without feeling guilt.
  • I will talk only about my personal life, as my professional life is unfit for mass consumption. (And somehow I think my personal life is acceptable for public dissemination?)

Last night, I attended a rehearsal with the Choral Society of Durham. They are a wonderful group of people, and I found that I knew a few people from my contacts with the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Immaculate Conception Church, Chapel of the Cross, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and United Church of Christ. They auditioned a huge group of people, and were still holding auditions before and after the rehearsal. We'll find out by tomorrow, I believe, who gets in.

I really enjoyed the rehearsal, and I can see that singing under the abfab Rodney Wynkoop is a treat. He is a very talented choral director, and I feel blessed for having the opportunity to rehearse with such a group.

One last thought, and then I will continue my Carnival compilation. What is it with North Carolina bicyclists? In a previous life, I biked around San Diego, but then again, San Diego is for the most part bicycle-friendly. Not so much in North Carolina, where some of the roads are so narrow. It makes me wonder if bicyclists understand that they are considered vehicles whilst travelling on the road. Seeing how people flaunt the rules of the road, it is no wonder why some drivers have no respect for them. Last night, I nearly hit a bicyclist, but then again, the bicyclist was not wearing reflective clothing (he was wearing black!), nor did he have any front or rear lights on his bicycle. He wasn't even wearing a helmet! Whenever I went bicycling, I felt naked without my helmet, my reflective vest, and my reflective ankle cuffs! Seeing bicyclists in the left-hand turn lanes also makes me cringe ... they're right in the middle of the lane. I was always taught to stay to the right of the lane so that as I'm turning left with traffic, I am to their right, which is safer for all concerned.

I'd like to get back on the bicycle, but at this point, I'm saving up money for major repairs to my bicycle. It was a present from a friend of mine; she upgraded her bicycle and left me the one she used since she was in high school. Last year, it was stolen from the basement of my apartment complex ... and I just recently discovered it, in a different part of the basement, but in very poor condition. (This isn't your run of the mill mountain bicycle; it must have cost her major money when she bought it all those years ago.) It also makes me look forward to cooler weather as I would enjoy riding around here. If only it weren't so hilly ...

Carnival tonight. Also too, my music lists for this past Sunday will be posted as well, either tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Friday Meme

(Image borrowed from jaegamer over at LiveJournal. The meme sheep idea comes from my writing friend JunoMagic.)

This meme comes courtesy of my sister-in-law via email. I may not be entirely serious as I answer these questions, however ...

I won't bother editing the beginning paragraph to adapt this to a blog setting. Lift the contents from this blog if you care to answer ...

Welcome to the 2008 edition of getting to know your friends! Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to spoil the fun! Copy this entire email and paste into a new email that you can send, change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you. Some of you may get this several times (it means you belong to a tight group of friends).

1. What is your occupation?
Part time Chemistry/Forensic Sciences professor, part time organist

2. What color are your socks right now?
Not wearing any at the moment.

3. What are you listening to right now?
A lovely rendition of Purcell's Hear my prayer.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Arroz caldong manok. Think of it as Congee, Filipino-style, with chicken.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
I wish.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
The strangest colour in the bunch.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
But of course. She's family.

9. How old are you today?
That's for me to know, and for you to find out!

10. Favorite drink?
I don't really have a favourite, but I'll never say no to Canadian Icewine.

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Once upon a time, I thought it was a good idea to have purple highlights. Time passed ... and eventually it became a very bad idea.

13. Pets?
When they were alive, a cat and over a dozen sea urchin.

14. Favorite ethnic food?
Really, I eat anything, as long as it no longer moves.

15. Last movie you watched?
Bottle Shock

16. Favorite Day of the year?
I don't really have one.

17. What do you do to vent anger?
Find an organ near me and blow dust around the nave.

18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
I don't remember.

19. What is your favorite season?
Fall and Spring

20. Hugs or kisses?
I'm not really a hugging or a kissing type.

21. Cherry or Blueberry?

22. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Of course. That would be nice.

23. Who is most likely to respond?
Whomever wishes to waste time answering these silly questions.

24. Who is least likely to respond?
Whomever is smart enough not to spend time answering these silly questions.

25. What happened to the good ol' days?
Turned into great memories <--- I like what SIL said here!

26. When was the last time you cried?
I don't remember.

27. What is on the floor of your closet?
Boxes of stuff I haven't bothered to unpack yet.

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to?
Well, as I'm posting this to my blog, I can't really answer this question!

29. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to?
See answer to #28 above.

30. Favorite smells?
Baking bread.

31. Favorite sounds?
A beautiful choir singing well.

A few thoughts for an early Friday morning ...

Considering I stayed away from blogging for the week, I have a few thoughts to share.

  1. It was really nice to see a few of my high school friends join Facebook. I hadn't heard from most since having graduated high school, and it was really nice to catch up with them.

  2. I auditioned for the Choral Society of Durham last Monday. My friends Jane Lynch and David Arcus encouraged me to audition. I will admit that I don't feel like I did all that well. Really, what this audition told me was that I definitely lost my upper range due to my extended bout with laryngitis. What used to come to me easily now doesn't, and I was not able to hit a high A during my audition. I think I passed the sight-reading test though. They had me read the alto line, and I think I did fine. I even managed to hit accurately an octave jump, which they admitted most missed. I'll find out if I passed the audition the middle of next week. And ... I won't mind singing alto. Perhaps I really am more of a mezzo-soprano than I am a soprano anyway, but still, it was a bit distressing to me to be presented with tangible proof of the damage sustained as a result of the laryngitis.

  3. I decided to start up a LiveJournal page dedicated to my writing endeavours. My stories, both fan fiction and original fiction, will be posted there, and I am in the process of copying my writing-related posts from this blog to my LiveJournal page. Any posts to do with writing will now be posted there. Feel free to friend me over there.

  4. I will admit to not having paid much attention to the weather reports lately. Perhaps I should ... people in the coastal areas of North Carolina are bracing themselves for a pair of storms. Tropical Storm Hannah is expected to make landfall this weekend. My friends in Wilmington are a bit more nervous about Ike. A good site to track storms is the National Hurricane Centre.

    Whilst checking local sources for news of Hannah, I noticed a side discussion ... most of which seemed to be very critical of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley. Why were they critical: they seemed to think his declaring a state of emergency in advance of the storm was overkill. Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is. Since when did "better safe than sorry" become subject to criticism? As I mentioned above: more of the concern seems to be over Ike than over Hannah. But still - a storm reaching landfall still has the potential to do damage. The students at the Episcopal Centre at Duke University were supposed to have had their annual beginning-of-the-school-year retreat at the beach this weekend, but chose to cancel that, thanks to Hannah. Again, a better safe than sorry approach. My thoughts and prayers go out to friends at the coast, praying for their safety and well-being as they weather the impending storms.

  5. Last thing. My turn at hosting the next Catholic Carnival is coming up next week. I am already receiving submissions for it. Click here for a reminder of what the Catholic Carnival is, courtesy of the Carnival Keeper, Jay at Living Catholicism. A handy-dandy submissions form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

    I look forward to reading your submissions!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

31 August - 16th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 17

Sorry for the huge delay in posting this. There are three music lists here from the two services I played last Sunday morning and afternoon, as well as the Compline service I sung in later on that evening.

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 Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Prelude: Canticle 13: Glory to You (J. Rutter)*
Pro: 390, Praise to the Lord! the Almighty, the King of creation (LOBE DEN HERREN)
Trisagion: S-100 (New Plainsong Mass; Hurd)
Psalm: Psalm 105 (Guimont)
Seq: 484, Praise the Lord through every nation (WACHET AUF)
Off: 414, God, my King, thy might confessing (STUTTGART)
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: 711, Seek ye first the kingdom of God (SEEK YE FIRST)**
Re: 344, Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing (SICILIAN MARINERS)
Postlude: Largo Staccato from Voluntary IX (Op. 7; J. Stanley)

* 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.)

** We said good bye to a young man who has left for boarding school in Massachusetts. Luke Miggs, who is, I believe, 14 or 15 years old, took over the music ministry in an interim basis not long after Easter, 2006. (The story of what happened to St. Joseph's during that time isn't mine to tell however.) He is a very talented pianist, and I'm sure a bright future awaits him. He starts at the Andover Academy next week. As last Sunday was his last service with us before leaving for school, he played the piano for the Communion song. I'm sure that the people of St. Joseph's are grateful for Luke's ministry, and I for one wish him all the best.

He'll be back during school holidays, and I am hoping that he will want to play the piano during the time he visits home.

Service #2: Episcopal Centre at Duke University. This was the students' first service back, and attendance was excellent.

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II
Pro: 390, Praise to the Lord! the Almighty, the King of creation (LOBE DEN HERREN)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 105, recited
Seq: 484, Praise the Lord through every nation (WACHET AUF)
Off: 414, God, my King, thy might confessing (STUTTGART)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: WLP 831, Ubi Caritas (Taizé)
Re: 344, Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing (SICILIAN MARINERS)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd.

Here are our little additions:

O Lord, the maker of all thing (Anon., ca. 1548)
Psalms 31 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 (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

I was quite happy that I was able to sing the Parsons Ave Maria. The choir was working on this at the time I lost my voice. By the end of the Spring 2008 semester, the choir was singing this on a regular basis, and they sounded wonderful doing so.