Sunday, November 7, 2010

More joys and sorrows

Not long after I wrote yesterday's post, I found out through my Facebook friends-list (f-list) that Jay Presa had passed away. I'll admit that I never really knew him, but I knew of him. I was very sorry to hear of his passing. Many of my Facebook f-listers were friends with Jay. As one of them had put it: "I didn't know him well in school but was happy to reconnect with him on Facebook." Another said, "He had a gift and re-established connections between us all that we probably never would have made without him."

She added, "What a wonderful soul; heaven is blessed."

From what I've been hearing about him, I believe that assessment is correct. We're all the more poorer, but our loss is heaven's gain. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

I had a wonderful time reconnecting with Laura Ellis of the University of Florida today. She brought members of UF's Carillon Studio with her, and we were all standing outside Duke Chapel, listening to Sam Hammond play the carillon postlude pieces. I managed to record a bit of it. If I can figure out how to upload it and link it to this blog, I'll definitely do it. Stay tuned for that.

We ended up having bagel sandwiches for lunch whilst listening to Sam talk about the history of Duke Chapel and about the carillon. He's been there for a long time, and I'm sure he has a lot of wonderful stories to tell.

Unfortunately, I had to dash off after lunch because I had to conduct a choir practice in southeast Durham. I would have dearly loved to see the carillon, but hopefully I'll have the chance to do so sometime in the future.

The bell is back at Chapel of the Cross! I was very happy to ring it as a call to worship once again. It has a different feel, though: I had to pull on the rope really hard to get it to even start swinging, and once it went, it wouldn't stop. I pulled on the rope 13 times, intending to ring the bell 14 times, but it went on and on, stopping after 31.

There were a group of choristers who followed me up to the balcony, wanting to experience the bell-ringing. I have the feeling I won't be the only ding-a-ling ringing the call to worship. And I don't mind that; it's nice to share the wealth.

I'm feeling really optimistic about the Filipino Choir. I'm introducing what apparently seems to be one new piece to them: the Hontiveros setting of Halina, Hesus (Come, Jesus). I figured this group might know it; it was composed in 1973 and is considered one of the classics in Filipino liturgical repertoire. I suppose this might be true of those living and singing in the Philippines, but not necessarily true with those ex-pats in the Filipino Diaspora.

But going over the piece, they picked it up pretty easily, so I'm not worried. Simbang Gabi Mass, for which we are preparing, will be on Friday, December 17, so I'm optimistic we'll get it learnt by then.

I'll just post my music lists in a couple of separate posts and call it a night.

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