Thursday, December 23, 2010

Secrets of Harry Potter Episode #63: Christmas at Hogwarts

Episode #63 of The Secrets of Harry Potter is up and available. You may listen to Episode 63 here or subscribe via iTunes.

Denise Roper joins us for a special Christmas episode of the Secrets of Harry Potter. Denise is the author of The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, which is a published record of her lectures on the deeper meaning of the Harry Potter novels. She had delivered her lectures at various cons, including Portus 2008 and Azkatraz 2009. She also keeps a blog, The Lord of the Hallows.

Help us spread the word about this podcast by posting a review on iTunes!

If you want to interact with the host and his cohorts, feel free to leave a comment on the Secrets of Harry Potter page over at the SQPN community page.

You can also find us on Facebook. Please like us there! :)

You may also send us feedback on harrypotter [a t.] sqpn [dot] com or leave voice feedback on +1 206 202 4455.

Don't forget our canon-readthrough, which we've been doing on Tuesdays at around 4.30 pm CST/5.30 pm EST/2230 GMT. Please join us at SQPN Live (ignore/mute the uStream) to chat. We have been discussing Chamber of Secrets.

Enjoy! And please let me know what you think of it. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

19 December - Fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath from Curt Jester
Yes. Late again. What else is new, right? This one is being back-dated to Sunday, December 19.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played the usual 10.30 am service. As usual, the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on Conditor Alme Siderum
Processional Hymn: 56, O come, O come, Emmanuel (VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL)
Kyrie: S-91 Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Psalm: Psalm 80 (Plainsong, Tone VIII.1)
Sequence Hymn: 54, Saviour of the Nations, come (NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND)
Offertory Hymn: 60, Creator of the Stars of Night (CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM)
Sanctus: S-114, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-158, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Communion Anthem: Carol of the Manger (Knox/Wilson)
Recessional Hymn: 66, Come, thou long expected Jesus (STUTTGART)
Postlude: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Andreas Nikolaus Vetter)

We started this in a very interesting manner. The Presider du Jour, Nils Chittenden, chanted verse 1 a cappella. The choir joined him at verses 2 and 3. The organ and the congregation joined in at verse 4. All eight verses were sung. It was effective.

Christmas is just around the corner!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simbang Gabi, Friday of the Third Week of Advent, 12/17/2010

Despite the snow and the sleet, the Filipino Community of Central North Carolina had their annual Simbang Gabi Mass. For more about the Simbang Gabi tradition, click here for an explanation, courtesy of the Archdiocese of Manila website. You may also click here to read a post I made about the Simbang Gabi for the Catholic New Media Advent Calendar.

We escaped the weather bug this year: there was a snow/ice storm that came through the day before, and most of that mess had melted away by the time our Simbang Gabi began last night, so we had a great turnout to this Mass.

The Mass, celebrated by Fr Julian Jagudilla, OFM, was conducted in what he termed "99.9% Tagalog." He said in this, the third year he celebrated this with us, he received many requests for a completely Tagalog Mass. The music was provided by the North Carolina Fiipino Choir, which I directed while the director, Myra Odulio, is taking time off after having given birth to her third child. The Mass was followed by a reception and cultural program, which featured traditional Filipino song and dance.

Of course, the post-Mass reception was a smashing success! There was more than enough food to feed everyone, and a great time was had by all.

With that, here is the list of music, with attributions as I was able to find them. This year, some of the music was drawn from Bukas Palad, a Philippines-based Catholic music ministry. I believe the unattributed music was written by members of the Jesuit Music Ministry of the Philippines. Any numbers you see come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover). Special thanks to Samantha (a high school student who played the flute) and David Binanay, who very ably played the violin.

  • 317, O come, O come Emmanuel
  • 331, God of all people
  • Magtipon Sa Tahanan Ng Diyos (A. Espino)
Opening Hymn: Halina, Hesus (EP Hontiveros, SJ)
Kyrie: Panginoon, maawa ka (TV Vinteres, CsSR)
Gloria: Papuri sa Diyos (Hontiveros)*
Psalm: Psalm 72 (MCA Parco, FSP)
Gospel Acclamation: Aleluya (Hontiveros)
Music during Anointing of the Sick: Improvisation on "Hindi Kita Malilimutan (originally written by MV Francisco, SJ)
Offertory: Paghahandog ng Sarili (Arboleda/Francisco/Ofrasio)
Sanctus: Santo, Santo (Hontiveros)
Memorial Acclamation: Si Kristo ay namatay (Anon., traditional)
Concluding Acclamation: Amen, Third Mass (Fr. R. Villanueva)
Lord's Prayer: Ama Namin (Vinteres)
Agnus Dei: Kordero ng Diyos (Hontiveros)
Communion Introit: One Thing I Ask (Ps. 27; arr. P. Tirol)
Communion Hymns
  • 352, Silent Night (O tahimik na daigdig)
  • Himig ng Pasko (Apo Hiking Society)
Closing Hymn: Balang Araw (MV Francisco, SJ; J Borres, SJ)

* I am aware that during Advent, the Gloria is not sung. However, an exception has been made for this set of Masses. This explanation comes courtesy of Fr Mel Portula, CICM, who is now based in Baguio City, Philippines:
During Misa de Gallo – a nine-day novena before Christmas popular in the Philippines and among Filipinos around the world, "Gloria" is sung. Novena Masses have a unique liturgical character. The "Gloria" is sung on these Masses and the vestment color is white. I believe that since Misa de Gallo is considered a novena, then "Gloria" is sung and white is the color of the vestment, not purple. All Masses during the nine-day novenas follow the same structure and rubric, even the one that falls on Sunday.
So there you have it. It was an issue we had debated back when we first started doing Simbang Gabi Masses here in Central NC.

The choir had worked so hard on "Magtipon Sa Tahanan Ng Diyos" and "One Thing I Ask" for the San Lorenzo Ruiz Mass that I felt compelled to program those two pieces for Simbang Gabi. And they did well, not only with those two pieces, but with the whole program overall. Last year, we worked from fakebooks and learning the two Bukas Palad pieces (indicated by the links above) by ear, which, honestly, did not go over so well. This year, the choir worked from written music, and those two pieces sounded a whole lot more polished. They really worked hard these past few months to prepare for Simbang Gabi, and I couldn't be more proud of them than I was last night.

The next Simbang Gabi in central North Carolina will be December 16, 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Simbang Gabi—A Filipino Advent Tradition

I had written this story for the now-defunct newsletter for Immaculate Conception Church back in December 2003. For the Catholic New Media Advent Calendar, I am reproducing that article here, with a few additions.

Among Catholic Filipinos, one of the most-beloved and much-awaited religious events after the festivities of Holy Week are the nine consecutive pre-Christmas dawn Masses known as Simbang Gabi (Night Mass), which traditionally start on December 16.

This tradition originated in Mexico when, in 1587, Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, petitioned the Pope for permission to hold Christmastide Masses outdoors because the church could not accommodate all the people who attended the dawn services. After the request was granted, these Masses came to be known as Misa de Aguinaldo (Mass of the Gift).

In the sixteenth century, Pope Sixtus V decreed that these pre-dawn Masses be held in the Philippines starting every December 16. This Novena of Masses expressed the sentiments of the people towards Mary, and the readings, prayers and chants of Simbang Gabi reflected the celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Father’s eternal word, the fruit of Mary’s womb. These Masses were celebrated in the early morning hours, mainly because most Filipinos at the time were mostly farmers or fishermen who either began or ended their day at dawn.

After Mass, people greet their parents and older relatives with a mano (customary greeting by bringing the elder’s hand to the forehead as a sign of respect). Then they share a light merienda (snack), which consists of typical Simbang Gabi fare like hot salabat (ginger tea), bibingka (rice cakes) or puto bumbong (finger-shaped violet-coloured glutinous rice steamed in banana leaves and served with sugar and grated coconut).

Simbang Gabi ends on Christmas Eve with Midnight Mass, known as the Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster), after which the families will gather together for a hearty post-midnight meal called Noche Buena. This feast gathers together all members of the family to offer gifts to each other and to pay respect to their elders.

The Archdiocese of Manila has a page dedicated to the Simbang Gabi, which you may read by clicking here. Why is it that Filipinos, both in the Philippines and abroad, have continued with this tradition that started in the mid-nineteenth century?
Simbang Gabi has become one of the most popular traditions in the country. But it is not just a tradition that is celebrated because we need to do so. It is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members but also because it is the time where our faith is intensified. This is the time where we mostly feel the presence of the Lord because it is the spiritual preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. It does not matter if one has the stamina to complete the novena or not, what really matters is what is inside the heart. The blessing does not depend on the number of mass attended, but what is important is the disposition of the person who receives the Lord’s blessing.
This tradition has been brought to the United States and all over the world wherever Filipinos live. Here in central North Carolina, this tradition has been on-going for the past eight years. We don't do the entire Novena of Masses, but will be celebrating one Mass on Friday, December 17 at Immaculate Conception Church, with a Mass to take place at 7:00 p.m. in the church, followed by a reception in the gymnasium featuring typical Simbang Gabi fare. All are welcome to attend.

I will end this post with the Collect that is prayed during the first of the nine Novena Masses. May you all continue to have a Blessed Advent.

Let your tireless grace accompany us, Lord God, let it go before us and follow after, that in union with the Blessed Virgin Mary, we who long for the coming of your Son may be sustained by your love in this life and in the life to come. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 December - Third Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath from Curt Jester
Yes. Late again. I have a good excuse: my voice decided to run away. I've been voiceless for the past couple of days.

Well, that silences my voice, but not my fingers. Here are my lists. I have two for you today because I went to Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. My friend, Jane L., was back behind the console.

The 7:45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception Church: as usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: First Sunday of Advent
Prelude: Improvisation on Geneva 42
Opening Hymn: 326, Comfort, comfort ye my people (GENEVA 42)
Kyrie: Misa Luna
Psalm: 140, Psalm 146 (M. Haugen)
Gospel Acclamation: 263 (Hughes Alleluia in C)
Offertory: 317, O come, O come, Emmanuel (vs. 1-2; VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen: 228, 229, 231; Community Mass (Proulx)
Agnus Dei: Misa Luna
Communion Anthem: "O Praise the Lord" (Tallis' Canon; arr. G. St. Clair)
Postlude: Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland (BWV 661; JS Bach)

A small schola, calling themselves the Aurora Choir, sang this lovely arrangement of Tallis' Canon. Gabrael St. Clair is one of my fellow cantors, and she asked some of IC's choir members to sing this during Communion. It was very well-received, and the choir did a wonderful job.

Gabe said she took the first three verses from the Werner Icking Music Archive, and she wrote the last verse herself. The choir, even though they were miked (you have to be in that relatively dead acoustic space), had a wonderful blend. I sincerely hope they decide to sing other pieces during that Mass in the future.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played the usual 10.30 am service. As usual, the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Third Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on Aberystwyth
Processional Hymn: 640, Watchmen, tell us of the night (ABERYSTWYTH)
Kyrie: S-91 Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Psalm: Psalm 146 (Plainsong, Tone VIII.1)
Sequence Hymn: 65, Prepare the way, O Zion (BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN)
Offertory Hymn: 615, Thy kingdom come! on bended knee (ST FLAVIAN)
Sanctus: S-114, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-158, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Communion Anthems: I sing of a maiden (P. Hadley; Natalie Wetzel, soprano; Alison Prevost, mezzo-soprano); Wie sol ich dich empfangen (from Christmas Oratorio; J.S. Bach)
Recessional Hymn: 72, Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes (RICHMOND)
Postlude: Vom Himmel Hoch (J.G. Walther)

Since I came to my position at St. Joseph's, this is the second time I had programmed "I sing of a maiden", and Natalie and Alison did a wonderful job. The choir also did quite nicely with the piece from the Christmas Oratorio. Many thanks again to lady_karelia for her assistance!

We had an interesting visitor that morning: WRAL's David Crabtree, who is an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church, was sitting in the pews. I'll admit to feeling a little nervous once I recognised him. He was wearing his clericals that morning. I don't think he stayed long after the service was over...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8 December—Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Borrowed from

I ended up going to Mass at St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

I was there about 15 minutes early, and the first thing I smelled when I went into the church: incense. Yes, you read right: incense. They used incense at this Mass. It's funny, but just smelling that made me feel like I was in a sacred space. I was quite happy to smell it. Sad to say, it's something you don't experience so much in a Catholic Church anymore.

My friend, Marianne K., was the organist for this bilingual Mass. I must say: in general, I am not a fan of bilingual Masses, but I think they did it right at St. Thomas More. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the priest delivering his homily twice, once in English and then again in Spanish. But otherwise, it was pretty seamless between English and Spanish, and one was able to follow the Mass pretty well no matter what language happened to be used at the time.

I was also pleased to see in-house order of worships on a table, which you picked up as you walked in. It had the entire order of the Mass, including a listing of the music that was going to be sung during the Mass. Bravo, I say! If you want the people to more actively participate in the Mass, this is truly the way to go. Give the people a guide to follow.

Another thing I noticed, which I found refreshing: people did not talk before the Mass. They sat quietly, or they prayed before Mass. When Marianne played her preludes, people sat and listened. Oh, and people were actually genuflecting towards the tabernacle that stood behind the altar. It was refreshing to have the feeling that you are truly in a sacred space.

Here is the music for this Mass. The books in the pews were Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover) and Flor y Canto.

7:00 pm Bilingual Mass: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Prelude: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Op. 122, no. 8; J. Brahms); Petit Carillon on Ave Maria (C. Callahan)
Opening Hymn: GC 790, Immaculate Mary (LOURDES HYMN)
Gloria: FyC 109, Misa Popular
Psalm: Psalm 98 (Verse: "Canten al Señor un cántico nuevo, porque ha hecho maravillas"; setting unknown)
Gospel Acclamation: GC 257, Alleluia 7 (Berthier)
Offertory: GC 780, O Sanctissima (O DU FRÖLICHE)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen: GC 228, 229, 231; Community Mass (Proulx)
Agnus Dei: was supposed to have been FyC 95 (setting unknown) but wasn't sung; recited instead
Communion Hymn: 783, Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly (PLEADING SAVIOR)
Communion Solo: Ave Maria (F. Schubert)
Closing Hymn: FyC 472, Del Cielo Ha Bajado (AVE DE LOURDES)
Postlude: O du fröhliche (Erwin Horn)

There was some strange song at the Dismissal of the Catechumens, and everyone was asked to raise their right arms in blessing towards the departing catechumens as this song was sung. I didn't pay attention to what it was. It felt like a disruption in the liturgy to me with a most forgettable song.

I had a wonderful time chatting with Marianne after the Mass. She was pleasantly surprised to see me. I told her that I happened to be in the area and was happy to notice that St. Thomas More offered the 7.00 pm Mass, so I dropped in. She played beautifully, and her cantor, Eusebio Gonzales, did a wonderful job. His solo in the Schubert Ave Maria was very well done.

Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—12.05.2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

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

Here are our little additions:

Ecce concipiens (Jacob Gallus (Handl))
Psalm 4 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: Creator of the stars of night (CREATOR ALME SIDERUM)
Lord's Prayer (Robert Stone)
Nunc Dimittis from Short Service (O. Gibbons)
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
Organ improvisation by the abfab Van Quinn on Divinium Mysterium

This is our last Compline service of the Fall Semester. We'll be back for the Spring Semester starting Sunday, January 9, 2011.

Van is seeking suggestions for the post-Compline organ improvisations. Feel free to send him your suggestions via the comm box below (or if you're reading this in Facebook, leave a comment). Even better, if you're Facebook friends with Van, either PM him or write on his wall your suggestions. :)

(Note: the picture above depicts one of the votive candle layouts that Jimmy Satterwhite had laid out a couple of years ago. I can't remember where the picture came from, though.)

5 December - Second Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath from Curt Jester
I know. I don't need to hear it. I'm late. Again.

This time, I have two lists. I played the 7:45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in addition to my usual 10:30 am service at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church.

The 7:45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception Church: as usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: First Sunday of Advent
Prelude: Improvisation on the Agnus Dei from Misa Luna
Opening Hymn: 321, On Jordan's Bank (WINCHESTER NEW)
Kyrie: Misa Luna
Psalm: 72, Psalm 72 (Verse: "In his days justice will flourish; in his days fullness of peace forevermore; Joncas)
Gospel Acclamation: 263 (Hughes Alleluia in C)
Offertory: 337, Creator of the Stars of Night (CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM, Mode IV)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen: 228, 229, 231; Community Mass (Proulx)
Agnus Dei: Misa Luna
Communion Hymn: 332, Wait for the Lord (Taizé)
Closing Hymn: 334, Savior of the Nations, Come (NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND)
Postlude: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Andreas Nikolaus Vetter)

I managed to survive playing the parts from Misa Luna. I did not follow the accompaniment as written. Instead, I solo'd out the melody, especially for the Agnus Dei. I even improvised on that theme for a prelude, hoping to get it in these peoples' heads, but nooooo... they still didn't sing it. I guess it will take a while. I'm glad when I had introduced new service music to my group that I had improvised on the major themes as much as a month before they sung it. That enabled the people to have the tune in their heads so that by the time we around to singing it, they were able to pick it up without any problems.

My beefs with this Mass setting still stands... at least the Kyrie was easy enough to pick up, especially since it was in a "call and response" type of setting. Admittedly, the melody of the Agnus Dei has grown on me, but I still stand by my opinion that it is not congregational friendly. Plus, the words are not "licit". I even checked the new translation of the Mass, and the Agnus Dei is essentially untouched. So the words are still "wrong" in my opinion—they added words where they shouldn't, and I think it was just to fit the music. You see, this Mass was originally written in Spanish. It's probably fine in Spanish (I don't speak Spanish, so I can't tell), but in order to fit the music for English, they had to add some extra words.

Maybe the people will eventually learn this one. But I have my doubts, sorry to say.

Enough about that. On to my next list.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church where I played the usual 10.30 am service. As usual, the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Second Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on "Comfort, comfort ye my people"
Processional Hymn: 67, Comfort, comfort ye my people (PSALM 42)
Kyrie: S-91 Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Psalm: Psalm 72 (Plainsong, Tone VIII.1)
Sequence Hymn: 75, There's a voice in the wilderness crying (ASCENSION)
Offertory Hymn: 59, Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding (MERTON)
Sanctus: S-114, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-158, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Communion Anthem: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen (arr. M. Praetorius)
Recessional Hymn: 76, On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry (WINCHESTER NEW)
Postlude: Improvisation on Winchester New

I'm happy with the job my choir did on short notice with the anthem. Special thanks to Demetrias76 and lady_karelia for their assistance. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Something Every Day

Borrowed from lots of other people. I'm also going to cross-post this to my LJ.

SED is simple.




… and that “something” should be something you do just for yourself. To cheer yourself up. To feel good. Something you enjoy. Something you want to do. Something. Every day.

Something! Anything! Steal the time for a perfect cup of tea. Complete a chore you’ve been wanting, really, really wanting to do for ages. Or ignore a chore that you really, really don’t want to do. Write a poem. Read a poem. Or not! Dance in the rain. Make a snow angel. Eat something healthy or unhealthy.

Whatever it is that you can do (or refrain from doing) to make your day a little brighter, a little more enjoyable, a little happier (without really hurting someone else, of course), DO it!

And then share it with your friends, no matter if it’s silly or smart!



I have four days to catch up on. Well, perhaps just three as we're only an hour and a half into Day 4. (Most of my LJ friends started this meme on December 1.)

December 1. I was quite pleased that I managed to write a blog entry every single day of November. My response to that: take a break from blogging. Naturally, I ended up doing other things... like music planning. It was nice to have completed my planning for Advent. I know, I know—it's something I should have done way earlier. I'll do better for the other seasons. At least Christmas Eve and Christmas Lessons and Carols won't have too much change from last year...

December 2. I must have been in a German mood. Three of the anthems I chose for Advent and Christmas will be sung in German. Actually, the one I chose for Christmas Eve will be sung in a dialect spoken in Austria. I just hope we'll be able to do justice to these pieces. (Heaps of thanks to karelia and Demetrias76 for their assistance. :) )

December 3. It's been a busy day all day. Going out for a staff luncheon at Meelo's was very nice. I had a Croque Monsieur a L’Italienne. It is described as a Grilled Ham, cheese, sundried cranberries & honey mustard, made on the Pannini Grill. It was very good.

Another cool diversion, which makes me look forward to the end of this month: Fr. Roderick posted photos he took whilst visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He reports the Butterbeer is very good. I'm looking forward to trying it. A lot of people say the frozen is best.

I'll continue this meme throughout the month.