Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—11.28.2010

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))
Psalms 31 and 134 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: Creator of the stars of night (CREATOR ALME SIDERUM)
Lord's Prayer (Robert Stone)
Nunc Dimittis (fauxbourdon, H. Willan)
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (JG Walther)

Van was away for Thanksgiving, and Lewis had taken the director's reigns for the evening. He did a great job.

Initially, he had planned not to have an organ voluntary. I asked him would that be the policy during Advent? He said not necessarily; he just hadn't thought to ask someone to play the organ for afters. I told him I had been playing a certain setting of Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme all day, so I might as well play it here, too. So, with a minute before the service was to start, Lewis requested that I play, and I accepted. And at the end of the service, I received lots of compliments over how I played the piece, in addition to Lewis' undying thanks. ;)



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. :)

28 November - First Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath from Curt Jester
Happy Advent, everyone! Now here are my lists from last Sunday.

It was nice to just be a Person In the Pew (PIP) for the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. I missed out on the prelude and Opening Hymn since I came in late. Since I'm a cantor, I get the hymn lists anyway. As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Sunday 7.45 am Mass: First Sunday of Advent
Opening Hymn: 323, Come, O long expected Jesus (STUTTGART)
Kyrie: Misa Luna
Psalm: 120, Psalm 122 (Joncas)
Gospel Acclamation: 263 (Hughes Alleluia in C)
Off: 335, Wake, O wake and sleep no longer (WACHET AUF)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen: 300, 301, 302; Land of Rest Mass
Agnus Dei: Misa Luna
Communion Hymn: 328, My soul in stillness waits (Haugen)
Postlude: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 645; JS Bach)

This was the first time I heard the Misa Luna settings. Upon initial listening... the Kyrie sounded okay, I guess. The Agnus Dei, not so much. I know this parish loves bilingual settings, but honestly? That was the most congregational unfriendly setting of the Agnus Dei I have ever heard in my life! Not to mention, the words are not licit. No one, absolutely no one was singing it! It was made even worse by the fact that there were no booklets at hand that had this music printed in it. I mean, honestly: if Catholics want people to sing during the Mass, give them more singable music than this!

/rant

Well, I should just sit down, shut it, and bear it. Guess who plays the 7.45 am Mass this Sunday? Yup, you guessed it. Me.



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

First Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on Veni, veni, Emmanuel
Processional Hymn: 57, Lo! he comes, with clouds descending (HELMSLEY)
Kyrie: S-91 Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (Willan)
Psalm: Psalm 122 (Plainsong, Tone VIII.1)
Sequence Hymn: 11, Awake, my soul, and with the sun (MORNING HYMN)
Offertory Hymn: 68, Rejoice! rejoice, believers (LLANGLOFFAN)
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 Chant: Eat this bread, drink this cup (Taizé)
Recessional Hymn: 61, 'Sleepers, wake!' A voice astounds us (WACHET AUF)
Postlude: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (JG Walther)



This was a marathon day for me. Because the usual pianist went home for the Thanksgiving break, I played the 4:00 pm service for Carol Woods, which is organised by Chapel of the Cross. The music list would generally resemble the 8.00 am summer morning Rite I services.

The music list:

First Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite I
Prelude: Improvisation on Veni, veni, Emmanuel
Processional Hymn: 59, Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding (MERTON)
Psalm: Psalm 122 (recited)
Sequence Hymn: 53, Once he came in blessing (GOTTES SOHN IST KOMMEN)
Offertory Hymn: 56, O come, O come, Emmanuel (vs. 1-2; VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL)
Communion Voluntary: Variations on Werde munter (J. G. Walther)
Recessional Hymn: 66, Come, thou long expected Jesus (STUTTGART)
Postlude: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (JG Walther)



The marathon continued.

I drew the organist's duties at the 5.15 pm service at Chapel of the Cross.

First Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist Rite II
Prelude: Improvisation on Veni, veni, Emmanuel
Processional Hymn: 59, Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding (MERTON)
Hymn at the Lighting of the Advent Wreath: 56, O come, O come, Emmanuel (vs. 1-2; VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL)
Psalm: Psalm 122 (recited)
Sequence Hymn: 53, Once he came in blessing (GOTTES SOHN IST KOMMEN)
Offertory Hymn: 336, Come with us, O blessed Jesus (WERDE MUNTER)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Voluntary: Variations on Werde munter (J. G. Walther)
Recessional Hymn: 66, Come, thou long expected Jesus (STUTTGART)
Postlude: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (JG Walther)

I came rushing in at 5.05 pm only to be met by the presiding priest, who said the service was moving to the church because the chapel was an icebox. I knew it was cold in there; my fingers and feet felt really sluggish when I was practicing earlier. I was asked if I would be able to handle the Kleuker. I wonder if the huge smile on my face said anything. Was I happy to play the Kleuker during the service? Heck, yeah! :D

The only thing I regretted was not having had a chance to decide on registration for my pieces. Luckily, I figured out that Memory Level 1 contained pre-set pistons that would work for service music playing.

And it felt really, really good on this console. I was playing so much better during the service than the hack job I was doing whilst practicing in the frozen chapel.

I ended up getting tons of mileage out of the Walther setting of Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. I'll explain why in the Compline post. :)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—11.21.2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

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

Here are our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell)
Psalms 91 (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 ...)
Lord's Prayer (Robert Stone)
Nunc Dimittis from Short Service (O. Gibbons)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
Alleluias sereins d'une âme que désire le ciel from L'Ascension
(Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992)), Brian Coggins, organ



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. :)Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—11.14.2010

21 November – Last Sunday after Pentecost – Christ the King – Proper 29

Oh, how behind am I? Let me count the ways...

I am not backdating this post, mainly because I said I'd be posting a couple of weeks' worth of them.

So here is one of them.

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

Last Sunday after Pentecost – Christ the King: Holy Eucharist Rite II
Prelude: Adagio-(Allegro), Voluntary in e minor (Op. 7, No. 7; J. Stanley)
Processional Hymn: 494, Crown him with many crowns (DIADEMATA)
Gloria: S-277, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Canticle 16: 444, Blessed be the God of Israel (THORNBURY)
Sequence Hymn: 495, Hail, thou once despised Jesus! (IN BABILONE)
Offertory Hymn: 460, Alleluia! sing to Jesus! (HYFRYDOL)
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)
Communion Anthem: Christ is the world’s true Light (WK Stanton)
Recessional Hymn: 544, Jesus shall reign where'er the sun (DUKE STREET)
Postlude: Largo Staccato-Vivace, Voluntary in G (Op. 7, No. 9; J. Stanley)

NaBloPoMo—made it to the finish!

Well, hello, November 30! And with that, I've managed to write at least one blog post for every month in November! Admittedly, when I decided to do this, I didn't think I'd make it this far. But somehow, I managed.

I won't commit to December, however, because of how busy life can be for one who works in the church. Ask me again in Janaury, however.

So I can hear you asking me: "Lyn, why do you have a picture of water on this post?" When I came into work this morning, I noticed that Main Street was closed. I assumed it was part of the ever-pervasive construction that's going on in downtown Durham. But no... I was told there was a water main break further down Main Street and that, as a precaution, the water was shut off in businesses along Main Street. So we were without water for most of the day.

I immediately felt badly for the volunteer downstairs. She is 90 years old, and the prospect of having no bathrooms nearby must have been daunting for her. I know I had a difficult time... I finally gave up and rushed home at 3.00 pm with promises that I would be back within the hour.

It made me realise that water was one of those things we take for granted. What about the homeless, and I'm thinking specifically of those who live on "The Hill" near Ninth Street. They don't have easy bathroom facilities. What if they want to wash up?

Humans can survive without food for 4-6 weeks without food. However, the survival time drops to days without water. I was so happy to be at home, basking in the spray of water in the shower.

Photo credits: Photographer: Ian Britton; Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License, FreeFoto FREE USE license.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Barrelling through to the end of November

Wow. The 29th day of November is coming to a close, and somehow... somehow, I managed to write at least one blogpost every day. There were times when I thought I had absolutely nothing to say, and the next thing I know, I've written a heap and still have more to go after that.

Some of my friends, who are participating in NaNoWriMo, have reached the minimum 50,000 words, which is quite the accomplishment. Congratulations, friends, for reaching such a milestone! :)

I am feeling tired and will probably call it a night early tonight. I know, it's quite a concept, this thought of sleeping before 11.00 pm. Hopefully I will have something more for you on the very last day of the month.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Too tired. :(

I'm too tired to blog tonight. I was at five services and played at four of them. I'll write my impressions tomorrow, plus I'll provide two weeks worth of music lists.

It's that time of the year: Advent. A new church year. And when January comes around, it will mark my third year at St. Joseph's. Wow. I can actually have a set of music I can refer back to since this is now Year A of the Lectionary. Actually, it works well for Simbang Gabi as well. Much to my delight, I didn't have to do anything different to a setting of Psalm 71 I did three years ago. And that's a good thing in my book.

The Curt Jester's Advent Wreath is making its reappearance! I'll also re-add it back to this blog when I have more energy tomorrow.

My brother also celebrated his Birthday-Before-The-Milestone today. Enjoy the last of your thirties, Jojo. Forties are a good decade. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Potter Reflection

I was just thinking back to the days when I didn't know anything about the Harry Potter series. The only thing I knew of it was that it was causing children young and old to turn to reading, which was a good thing. I recently heard of a couple of people in the Harry Potter fandom who can honestly credit the Potter series with inspiring their Muses, and they are either currently, or soon-to-be-published authors of their own original fiction. I think it's a wonderful thing.

Once upon a time, when I was doing way more creative writing, I was influenced by Star Wars, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Battlestar Galactica. (Am I dating myself with these?) A lot of what I wrote reflected very strongly my interest in these sci-fi shows. My work was never published; I was 13 or 14 when I wrote most of my stories.

Now, whenever I feel the inclination, I write short stories. I do have an outline for an o-fic in mind, and I've posted some snippets of thoughts on this particular blog at least a couple of years ago. I haven't picked up that writing, but perhaps if the Muse is willing, I'll revisit it again.

Back to Potter: I would love to see it in 3D. Perhaps sometime within the next couple of weeks, I'll have a look.

I think I will have an early night tonight. I just remembered that I did not post my music lists from last week. I'll post them but probably will not back-date them... at least, not during these last few days of November.

Happy Advent, and Happy New Church Year!

ps: I've been checking the Curt Jester's page... apparently, the advent wreath graphic isn't up yet. If it comes up, I'll re-add the script for that in the top right-hand corner of this blog...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Secrets of Harry Potter Episode #62: Deathly Hallows Part I Movie Review

Episode #62 of The Secrets of Harry Potter is up and available. You may listen to Episode 62 here or subscribe via iTunes.

Ariadna, Jim, Lyn, and Maria analyze and discuss the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. The first quarter of this episode contains our spoiler-free impressions of the film. However, we do warn you that there are spoilers galore in the last three-quarters of this episode, so you might want to see the film first before you listen to this!

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. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Think I'm coming down under the wire, much?

It was nice to spend the day relaxing. I 'borrowed' a friend's kitchen, and we made green bean casserole (his favourite) and sweet potato casserole. Both recipes were really easy. The green bean casserole used an 8 oz. package of frozen green beans, 3/4 c milk, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, and french-fried onions. That's it. I added a bit of paprika, mustard powder, and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the milk/cream of mushroom mixture for added flavour. All were mixed, placed in a baking dish, then baked for 30 minutes. Then I removed the dish, added more french-fried onions, then placed back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

The sweet potato casserole was even easier. I took 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut them into cubes, and boiled in them in salted water for 20 minutes. After draining them, I returned them to the pot and mashed them with 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 3/4 c brown sugar. After placing them in a baking dish, I put a layer of mini marshmallows, put the whole thing in an oven and baked for 10 minutes.

It was a relief that both dishes required the oven to be at 350 deg. F. That made life a little easier. :)

Here's a picture of the sweet potato casserole. (I'd forgotten to take a picture of the green bean casserole.)
I had made these for a church potluck. As I wrote on Fr. Roderick's Facebook page, we had turkey, collard greens, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potato and gravy, twice-baked potatoes, cocktail sausages in ketchup sauce... Some sort of squash casserole... And that doesn't even include dessert! Pumpkin and apple pies, some sort of sweet raisin-cinnamon bread, gingerbread house, some sort of Norwegian flatbread you have with butter, brown sugar and caster sugar, and the ubiquitous cherry gelatin.

The meal was shared with the homeless people who live on the grounds. They were very, very thankful for the abundance of food, and they were also very thankful that we were generous to share it with them.

A friend of mine was quite affected by the beginning lines of Psalm 72 (quoted from the New American Bible:

O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment, that the mountains may yield their bounty for the people, and the hills great abundance, that he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the poor and crush the oppressor (Ps. 72:2-4).

He was formerly homeless, and he remembered the trauma of having lived out on the streets. It made him very thankful that he is where he is now: in a house with a job he loves.



I had to go into the office briefly to retrieve a few music files since there was a requests for the hymns for Sunday. Since a good chunk of my choir will be away on Sunday, I decided to find something Taizé for Communion. I wanted something that might be appropriate for Advent, like maybe something to do with Sleepers Awake or some such thing like that. No such luck. So I chose the next best thing: "Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry..." I think I'll have enough choristers that, if I sing whilst playing, we'll be able to do some sort of harmony.

Anyway, as I was leaving the office, I drove along the Downtown Loop and noticed they had already turned on all the outdoor lighting. I figured this was the best time to capture pictures of it: when there are no cars out and about.

I will leave you with the pictures of the lights along the Downtown Loop:



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zen

What? No Wordless Wednesday? To be honest, I had forgotten today was Wednesday, and I didn't take any pictures. Besides, I was getting a bit tired of the Fall pictures anyway.

Zen. I needed plenty of that today. Thanks to my friend, JunoMagic, I got that in the form of a website that offers free nature sounds. You have your choice of animal sounds (birds, cats, etc.) or sounds of natural phenomena (rain, waterfall, beach, etc.). Right now, I have the sound of rain and thunder, along with the crickets and the grasshoppers. Pure bliss. Click here to check it out.

Social Media. Much has been said about social media and the role it plays in our lives. I'm certainly immersed in it... I spend a lot of time with Facebook and Twitter. I'm also a part of a couple of on-line communities as well. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending time with the SQPN community when the Catholic Pilot, Captain Jeff, tweeted that he was testing a live setup on his Catholic Pilot Live page and wanted us to come over help him. It was fun chatting with people there whilst preparing an outline for a recording of Secrets of Harry Potter. I can honestly say that I count members of the SQPN community as my dearest friends, and I'm very happy to be a part of it.

I'm also involved with the Harry Potter fandom. Last night, a group of us hung out in a virtual living room. Some of us were content to be silent in the room while others were happy to share their virtual drinks and snacks with the others. A few of the girls are also participating in NaNoWriMo, so it was nice to be able to cheer them on as they wrote. We usually gather in a chatroom on Fridays and Saturdays, where we chat about everything and nothing, and on Saturday nights, we even get to do a bit of writing as well. We challenge each other with prompts, and a short story is written in response to the prompt. Occasionally, certain conditions are placed, e.g. no adverbs, no adjectives, no 'that', no commas, limit to 100 words, etc. It's a lot of fun, and it's a great way to practice creative writing.

Music. Earlier tonight, I had the opportunity to watch raw video that was taken of the Hymn Festival in which I participated a week and a half ago. That was pretty neat to watch. My friend wanted me, in particular, to watch the massed choir singing the piece I directed: the Hal Hopson arrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem. I was really happy with the way it turned out; the choirs did a fantastic job! People thought we had rehearsed that piece for weeks. In actuality, most of the choristers saw it for the first time at the dress rehearsal the day before. However, Dona Nobis Pacem is a well-known traditional canon (think "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream"...) and it was pretty easy to pick up. They even handled my reconstructed SAB Amen very well. I thought I looked like a dork at the piano, but my friend told me that the exaggerated motions I made with my head was exactly what a choir needs to see when the choir director is conducting from the console or keyboard.

Okay. I'll take his word for it. He's certainly been at it way longer than I have, anyway.

I'll just go back to enjoying the nature sounds. For those of you celebrating it: Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just two days away. Where has the time gone?

Anyway... the Secrets of Harry Potter panel have just finished recording what will be Episode #62. Now that we've all watched Deathly Hallows Part 1, we were able to come together and discuss it. We started off with general impressions of the film, and then after a pause (in which Jim will insert one of the trailers), we dive into a scene-by-scene review of the film. It was fun to record this with Jim, Ariadna, and Maria. Yes, Maria. She took some time off from her NaNoWriMo activities to record this episode with us. We were all very happy about that. It was a good conversation, and I'm looking forward to hearing the finished product.

On to more serious stuff. I just heard about the miners in New Zealand. It's such a tragedy: all 29 miners were confirmed dead. They ranged in age from 17 to 62. Air that had been released when drilling into the mine had contained high levels of carbon monoxide and methane gases. Naturally, after the miracle of the miners' rescues in Chile, there was high hopes that this situation in New Zealand would have a similar outcome. Let us send our thoughts and prayers to victims and to their families.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Apple of my Monday...

Okay, okay, so my audio post yesterday was a bit of a cop-out. So today, I will provide words, or a look into that tangled web known as my brain.

So Apple came out with iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. I decided to download the new OS... figured why not, nothing to lose, and it will need to be updated anyway.

I had no problems doing it; iTunes did it all for me. All I had to do was click to agree to this, that, and the other thing. The installation was painless... and when it was done, much to my delight, my formerly favourite app, ProHDR, was working again! (It had been crashing on me consistently, which disappointed me because there were so many wonderful scenes I could have photographed, but missed because the app kept crashing on me...)

I didn't check my other problematic app (Passometer) that I never got to work because it crashed on me every time I tried to use it... it makes me wonder if a simple thing like an OS upgrade would fix that problem, as well.

I managed to catch up on tasks I had to push to the side: updating the Durham-Chapel Hill AGO webpage and Facebook page, doing a couple of stories in the TPP queue, putting up a Facebook events page for the upcoming Simbang Gabi Mass... I think I can go to sleep happy. :)

One last thing: today, November 22, is the Feast day of St. Cecilia. She is the patron saint of musicians and church music, and it was said that as she was dying a martyr's death, she was singing to God. She is often depicted playing an organ or some other musical instrument.

Happy St. Cecilia day to my fellow musicians and to my choristers! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Audioboo: Singing with the NC Pinoy Choir

If I did this right, my Audioboo should embed here. Oi, that's blogging, right?

~blinks hopefully~

Listen!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It was worth the wait...

I saw Deathly Hallows Part 1 this morning with Jerome. Surprisingly, there weren't that many people in the cinema when we watched it. We were at the Lumina in Chapel Hill, and they were showing it on seven screens. But still... with all the hype, I would have expected more people to be there.

I won't give anything away, but I will say this. Since when do they run actual commercials before the previews? We were subjected to about 12 minutes of commercials this morning. It got rather tedious: cars, video games, cologne, Coast Guard, Wal-Mart...

Then finally the previews for Cowboys and Aliens (looks interesting), Voyage of the Dawn Trader (I must have been living under a rock: Chronicles of Narnia is now on film?), Green Lantern (not so much interesting), Yogi Bear, and Red Riding Hood.

Then and only then did the film start.

I hope to record impressions of this film with my fellow Secrets of Harry Potter panel members soon. I'm also hoping to be able to see it a second time before doing so...

Stay tuned. :)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this screen cap. Before I left to meet Jerome in Chapel Hill, Fr. Roderick was unpacking his Star Wars memorabilia. I had mentioned Warwick Davis was on Twitter, and Fr. Roderick said he had met Warwick Davis during one of those Star Wars cons he had attended back in the day. So that inspired him to bring down his three boxes full of Star Wars stuff. This one I had missed, but went back later to watch the uStream video (and I'm glad he recorded it. :) )

"Drink... or drink not. There is no straw."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Things Friday, 11.19.2010

My Good Things Friday list for today:

  • It's a beautiful Fall day.
  • The children from the Day School were outside, enjoying their inflatable jumper, and you can hear them screaming happily.
  • I've finally finished editing and coding the most recent issue of the TarHelium, the newsletter for the North Carolina section of the American Chemical Society. Click here to read it. :)
  • Advent is coming. There is a lot of really good music to choose from. It's also a moment of preparation: preparing for He who is to come. The countdown to Christmas has been on-going in the Philippines (since the beginning of October, if I'm not mistaken), and the Filipino community here in central North Carolina is doing their bit in the preparations. We'll be meeting for another organisational meeting for Simbang Gabi. We only do one of the nine Masses, which will take place on Friday, December 17. It should be a wonderful time of being together for Mass and for fellowship for afters.
This should be a more relaxing weekend for me. I'll be seeing Deathly Hallows tomorrow morning, and I am very much looking forward to it! More later. :)

My desktop at work :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deathly Hallows!!!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I will be opening in the East Coast a little under 90 minutes from now. One of my choristers will be seeing the midnight showing tonight. She came to choir practice wearing her Hogwarts shirt. When she's not singing in my choir, she teaches high school chemistry, and told me she should have dressed as Snape in class today. My co-panelists with the Secrets of Harry Potter podcast, Jim and Maria, will be going to the midnight showings in their cities as well. I'll be going on Saturday with Jerome B., and I'm looking forward to it. (I haven't heard from Bob or Fr. Roderick as to when they're going to plan to see it, but I know Fr. Roderick is planning on a trip to the US next week... hopefully, he'll have time to see it whilst in the States.)

I'll admit—there were parts of the book I wasn't keen on. (For example, the camping trip that would never end, and I hated hated hated the Epilogue...) However, I am curious to see how it was filmed. I heard the actors' performances were top-notch, and that an animation used to illustrate the story of the Three Brothers as Hermione was narrating was a highlight. I know I'd need to separate book canon from film canon... and hopefully, it won't detract from enjoyment of the film.

I know I'll be taking notes whilst watching the film... either that, or I might end up watching it a few times before recording the podcast with my fellow panel members. :)

Enjoy the film, those of you who will be watching it! I'd be curious to know your reactions to it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—11.14.2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

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

Here are our little additions:

Domine fac mecum (Thomas Morley)
Psalms 4/31 (chanted to Tone 8)
Hymn: Christ, mighty Saviour (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, plainsong Mode 7)
Lord's Prayer (Robert Stone)
Nunc Dimittis from Short Service (O. Gibbons)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Josquin Desprez)
Organ improvisation by the abfab Van Quinn on Salve Regina



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. :)

14 November - Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 28

Here are my music lists from last Sunday.

I cantored 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: Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Processional Hymn: 493, The works of the Lord are created in wisdom (KREMSER)
Gloria: 176, New Mass for Congregations (C.T. Andrews)
Psalm: Psalm 98 (Guimont)
Gospel Acclamation: 257, Alleluia 7 (Berthier) ("Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.")
Offertory Hymn: 767, O Holy City, seen of John (MORNING SONG)
Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Amen: 300, 301, 302; Land of Rest Mass (arr. Proulx)
Agnus Dei: 311 (in F; Proulx 1975)
Recessional: 764, Praise and Thanksgiving (BUNESSAN)

I must remind myself to have a good night's sleep before I cantor Masses. I know my lack of sleep affected my cantoring. Jane didn't seem to notice; she said she appreciated how I stayed on pitch throughout the Mass...



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

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Holy Eucharist Rite II
Prelude: Improvisation on Munich
Processional Hymn: 632, O Christ, the Word Incarnate (MUNICH)
Gloria: S-277, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Canticle 9: 679, Surely it is God who saves me (THOMAS MERTON)
Sequence Hymn: 592, Teach me, my God and King (CARLISLE)
Offertory Hymn: 607, O God of every nation (LLANGLOFFAN)
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)
Communion Anthem: Dona Nobis Pacem (H. Hopson)
Recessional Hymn: 665, All my hope on God is founded (MICHAEL)
Postlude: Improvisation on Michael

Wow. I think I'm getting this improvisation thing. I actually played something that lasted around 5 minutes as a prelude, and for the postlude, I started off with the Rawsthorne reharmonisation, and then went on from there.

Sleep... need sleep...

It's just a bit past 9.00 pm, and I am feeling very sleepy. Actually, I was falling asleep on the keyboard as I was leading a Harry Potter canon read-through earlier this evening...

I've been a bit short on sleep lately, having lots of projects to complete. Not surprisingly, I've fallen behind on my music lists... and I haven't yet even begun to think about Advent. (Most of my friends have already planned all the way to Ash Wednesday. :P )

I was hoping for a morning lie-in, but it looks like I might not be able to have one tomorrow, either. Hope springs eternal that I'll be able to catch up on sleep... eventually.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's that time of the year again.

It seems that the churches around here seem to use the period before Thanksgiving to start their giving campaigns (or stewardship campaigns or whatever they may call it). I didn't have the Monday morning lie-in I was hoping for because I had to cover for a sick co-worker to prepare stewardship materials for a congregational dinner for the Presbyterians. (I just barely got the job done in time for the dinner...) My Catholic parish is also in the midst of their giving campaign—in fact, I think we're to make our pledges of Time, Talent, and Treasure within the next couple of weeks. The Episcopal church for which I play the occasional service and sing with the Compline choir is in the midst of their capital campaign. Even SQPN, the Catholic New Media organisation with whom I podcast, is currently carrying out their annual giving campaign.

I suppose this a good time for it. Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks. It's a time for us to stop and reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. Even though the economy has been sluggish, people are still being generous.

This is amazing... I'm at the annual congregational dinner as I write this, and the people broke out into song, singing Amazing Grace from memory. They're also harmonising as well. And here I am, thinking, "I wish Catholics can do that." (Catholics don't really have much of a tradition of congregational singing, and most of what you hear in the American Catholic churches today is not, in my opinion, conducive to good congregational singing. But that's a topic for another post.)

Anyway, back to the theme of generosity. There is a passage from Luke where a poor widow gave money to the temple: "This poor widow put in more than all the rest... she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood" (Lk. 21:3-4). She probably needed that money for basic living expenses and the like, but she gave it to the church. I don't think they ask you to give until it hurts (although in some traditions, they ask that you give at least 10% of your total income) but they do ask for prayerful consideration.

What do we have to be thankful for? It's a good question to ask any time of the year.


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ah, Sunday!

So I'm not the most creative with my titles. Oh well.

This will be a short post as I'm composing it on the iPhone.

It was a long day for me. It started with cantoring the 7:45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception. And I managed it on a little less than 3 h of sleep. So the sleep deprivation continues. (I'll definitely catch up on the sleep tonight.)

Then I had my usual service at St. Joe's. After a short nap, I headed for the hymn festival. I want to thank the choirs of First Presbyterian and Watts St. Baptist for lending their voices to the Hal Hopson arrangement of Dona nobis pacem. I received many compliments about my direction of this massed choir and how wonderful the blend of voices were. They did beautifully, and I was proud of these choristers for being able to perform the piece as well as they did with only one 30-minute rehearsal.

Reception, followed by dinner with David D. and his brother, Mike, and his lovely wife, Michi, followed by Compline at Chapel of the Cross. Et voilà—the end of a very long day.

Sleep awaits. I'll post my music lists tomorrow. Time for a visit to the land of Nod.


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soldiering On

I am so very sleepy.

I've been running on a sleep deficit today, having only slept for four hours last night. There's no rest for the weary though; I am still working on the NC-ACS newsletter.

I'd have to remember to have an earlier night tonight as I cantor the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception tomorrow morning.

We had our dress rehearsal at Grace Baptist Church this morning. I was very happy that the choirs of First Presbyterian and Watts St. Baptist will be joining my choir in singing the Hal Hopson arrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem. (Members of St. Philip's Episcopal Church were also invited to join my group; however, I don't know any of them by face, so I have no way of knowing if they were amongst those who joined us this morning).

They picked it up pretty quickly. They also appreciated that I replaced the last page, which consists of an Amen setting with two-equal parts, to a reconstructed SAB Amen. Why reconstructed? I sang this anthem whilst a member of Montgomery Junior High School's choir. (I'm pretty sure I was in the choir as Adeline Hernandez and Gary Thomas, who were the student accompanists, were still in the choir at that point.) We sang an SAB version of it, so had a three-part canon (as opposed to the two-part canon we'll be singing tomorrow). When I first introduced this anthem to my choir, I was very disappointed at how... well, thin the Amen section sounded. I was happier with the more full SAB version. So one day, I sat down at the piano and reconstructed that section. And it works well.

I am looking forward to this hymnfest. And I'm glad the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists is able to help out by contributing the trumpeter to this festival.

I should get back to work. Knowing how busy I'll be tomorrow (two morning services, hymn fest in the afternoon, dinner with the main organisers of the hymnfest for afters, followed by Compline), I will probably not have any time to work on the newsletter tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good Things Friday, 11.12.2010

I'm sitting at my desk with a glass of iced citrus green tea and lots of papers scattered everywhere. As I'm putting together the latest issue of the TarHelium, I'm getting a thorough review of HTML, which is a good thing. I may have mentioned that whenever I compose my posts in Blogger and LiveJournal, I always use the "Edit HTML" function, as opposed to composing my posts using Real Text or whatever other option is given.

I'm a bit concerned that my favourite app on iPhone, ProHDR, has been crashing every time I try to use it. This greatly disappoints me; there are lots of beautiful fall colours on the trees now, especially down in the Research Triangle Park area. At least I know it's not just me; a few people have left reviews at the iTunes App Store, complaining about the program crashing on them. I hope any updates would help alleviate this problem.

Oh, but I did title this post "Good Things Friday", didn't I? So here goes.

  • I am taking this opportunity to catch up with podcasts that have been sitting around in my queue. I've been listening mainly to Secrets of Middle-earth and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! My backlog for WWDTM stretches back to... July... but once I catch up with that one, I'll work on my backlog of A Way with Words.
  • November 19 is quickly approaching. That is the release date for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. I am planning to see it next Saturday. I am hoping that my fellow Secrets of Harry Potter panelists and I will have the opportunity to record another episode soon to react to this latest film. According to Tom Felton and Warwick Davis, this latest film should be the best Harry Potter film yet. This is what Warwick says about it: "It is a VERY good film. More thriller in genre. Technically brilliant & visually stunning. I thought it was the best 'Potter' movie yet." He adds, "In 'HP7', I also love the animated sequence that visualises Hermione's telling of 'The Tale of The Three Brothers'... very Tim Burton-esque." Yeah... really looking forward to the film. I'm just hoping I won't be disappointed by it, but as I had mentioned in previous episodes of Secrets of Harry Potter, I just have to separate book canon from film canon. I heard that the performances of the young actors were very good, and I am looking forward to being entertained by it.
  • Going back to iPhone apps... Father Roderick had tweeted that an app, Zen Bound, was free on iTunes. I will admit: I am not a gamer. It never really had much fascination for me. Well, okay, perhaps I liked such games as Pong and Moon Patrol and even admit to playing a bit of Tetris every once in a while. (Does that date me?) So what brought me to Zen Bound? I'll admit: it looked interesting, and it was a free app, so I decided to download it. I can see why it's addicting: it describes itself as "a meditative puzzle game of wrapping rope around wooden sculptures." You go about it slowly... zen-like... and once you pass a certain percentage of rope wrapped, you can go on to the next level. The graphics are beautiful and the music very complimentary. Thanks for the recommendation, Fr. Roderick!

I should get back to the editing. Before I go, however... today was Jay Presa's funeral. I'm sure friends and family are still gathered now, remembering him and celebrating his life. A couple of days ago, Jocelyn Vinluan-Pujeda had shared a PayPal link with her Facebook f-list that would lead to a Memorial Fund that was set up in memory of Jay. As far as I know, donations to this fund are still being accepted. I'm sure his family would appreciate any gift you can make. Click here to contribute.

God willing, I'll be back tomorrow. On tap: more work with the newsletter and a dress rehearsal for the Hymn and Choir Festival at Grace Baptist Church.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stream of Consciousness and Honouring the Veterans

Oh! Looking at the time, I'd better get a post in before the clock turns midnight. (However, I rather suspect I'll finish writing this post after midnight, but at least the post will be registered as Thursday, November 11. ;) )

First thing's first: for the last remaining moments of November 11, 2010, I'd like to take the time to thank those of you who have served or are now serving our country through the military. I've had a few relatives whose service to this country was through the United States Navy, and I have several friends who are serving through the other branches, such as the Army, Air Force, and Marines. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made so that we could live in freedom.

Secondly: Happy Birthday to my cousin, Lito Yalong! Hope you have many more to come.



Today, I had the chance to taste the phenomenon that is chicken and waffles. A place opened up around six blocks west of where I work in downtown Durham, and they specialise in chicken and waffles. If you're in the Triangle area, you should try Dame's Chicken and Waffles. I had their Red-Crested Rose Comb. Here is how they described it:

Destined for ATF stardom! We pair a crispy fried Chicken leg quarter w/ our crisp and fluffy Classic Waffle shmeared w/ sweet, fresh Strawberry Crème.

So what I got wasn't exactly a leg quarter; they had given me two chicken drumsticks, but they were flavoured quite nicely and had a strong hint of sage. They were fried perfectly, not greasy at all, and very tender. The waffle was very nice, and the schmear complemented the whole thing. I know, I know, I had that infamous Krispy Kreme cheeseburger at the NC State Fair. This one is different. It's not cloyingly sweet. There was the maple syrup, but I didn't use the whole container. There was even a small container of hot sauce, which I used for the chicken.

I'd be curious to try their other offerings. Click on the link above and check out their menu. Let me know what you think of it if you ever decide to give it a go.



I'm looking forward to a Hymn and Choir Festival that will take place at Grace Baptist Church this Sunday. I'm a bit disappointed that my group will be small, but for good reason; one of my choristers has a death in the family which will prevent him from joining us as originally planned. We're planning on performing an easy choral anthem: Dona Nobis Pacem, a traditional canon arranged by Hal Hopson. It was a piece I remembered singing in junior high school choir. I am cautiously optimistic that the choirs of First Presbyterian Church and St. Philip's Episcopal Church can join us.



Now for a little bit of geek talk. Usually, whenever I compose these blog posts, I am using the "Edit HTML" option. I've always done that whem composing posts here on Blogger or over on LiveJournal. I feel like I have more control over the formatting and such doing it that way as opposed to using the "Compose" feature.

Right now, I'm trying my level best to get an issue of the newsletter for the local chapter of the American Chemical Society published. It's taking me a while to do so. First of all, the articles were trickling in very slowly. Now that I have most of the articles that I would need (minus one that I'd have to write, introducing myself as the new Editor of the TarHelium), I settled in to figuring out how to lay out the newsletter for publication on the web. I was hoping to access the last issue published and merely edit out the old stories and put in the new.

It wasn't so simple. I couldn't even access the old issue. The thought had crossed my mind to look at how the old issue was coded, so I had a look at the source code. Yikes. I think it was generated by some sort of an editor not unlike that encountered in Blogger or LiveJournal. Since I couldn't figure out how to even access such an editor, I decided to just grin and bear it and check the code.

It'll be a bit more tedious doing it this way, but at least the issue will get published. Even though this will be a very busy weekend for me, I'm optimistic I'll have it ready for publication by Monday, November 15. Wish me luck!

At least once that's done, I'll be able to sit down and learn more about how the site which hosts the local ACS website works so hopefully, the next issue won't be as painful to produce.



Lest I go on and bore you to tears, I'll end right here. Before I go, however, I want to remember my uncle, Aurelio Yalong. Tomorrow would have been his 70th birthday. He had passed away March, 2001, a little over four months after his 60th birthday. Even though I didn't know him well (and that was just because I was born and grew up in a place that separated us by an entire ocean), he was always very kind to me, and I remember and cherish the times we did spend with each other. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A plea from Jay Presa's family

FRIENDS and FAMILY—ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED

The death of Jay Presa was untimely and unexpected. Unfortunately, none of us were prepared for this tragedy, and we are all saddened by his loss.

During this difficult time, we would like to ask for any monetary donation. On behalf of the family of Jay, we will be... happy... to accept any amount. All funds raised will be applied to the cost of the viewing, funeral service, and reception. A donation unit will be available at the viewing location today and Thursday. If you would like to mail in a check or make a credit card payment, please contact Jocelyn Vinluan-Pujeda. (From Lyn F.: since I screen all comments, please feel free to comment in the combox with your name and contact details so I could forward them to Jocelyn.)

Thank you in advance. God bless.

Edited to add: Donations via Paypal are being accepted. Click here to help out. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brian Coggins, organ

Today, as part of Bach's Lunch at the Chapel of the Cross, Brian Coggins presented a masterful program featuring the works of Couperin, Buxtehude, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, and Langlais. It was very obvious he enjoyed performing these pieces, and it was a joy to listen to him.

Here is the program.

Messe pour les paroisses
   Offertoire sur les grandes jeux
   Tierce en taille from the Gloria
François Couperin (1668–1733)

Praeludium in a minor (BuxWV 153)
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707)

Sonata No. 4 in B-flat
   Allegretto
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847)

L'Ascension
   Alleluias sereins d'une âme que désire le ciel
   'Serene Alleluias of a soul that desires heaven'
Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992)

Hymne d'Actions de grâces: Te Deum
Jean Langlais (1907–1991)

Information for Jay Presa's funeral services this week

Passed on to me by Arlyn (Angel) Muñoz.



Dear Friends & Family:

Here is the information for Jay Presa's funeral services this week. They are all being held at El Camino Memorial Park & Mortuary, 5600 Carroll Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92121. The phone number there is: 1-800-352-2646.


Please spread the word out to everyone who knew Jay.

Thanks!!!



This might be a good place to link back to a post I did a couple of years ago after the tragic passing of a young Filipino medical student. I had blogged on Filipino funeral traditions, which you may read by clicking here.

RIP, Jay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mobile Blogging?

I decided to try Blogger's mobile blogging, so I followed the instructions. Well... it made up another blog for me, which I really didn't want, and when I said I wanted to switch to my usual one, it brought me to the usual version. I'm not really sure if texting what I want to appear on the blog would really work. I'm not really keen on the idea of texting my blogposts anyway. Why couldn't they come up with an app that would facilitate this process?

For me, this was a FAIL. So much for mobile blogging with Blogger.

In other news... perhaps those of you in SoCal and Nevada know much better than I do about what happened to our friend, Jay Presa (God rest his soul). I noticed all the hits this blog is receiving from those trying to find out what had happened to take him away from us so soon. The only thing I know (and which was mentioned by a friend) is that his passing was peaceful.

Please pray for Jay's family that they may have much support in this time of sadness.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC—11.07.2010

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

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

Here are our little additions:

I am the resurrection from First Dirge Anthem (Funeral Sentences; Thomas Morley)
Psalm 91 (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 ...)
Lord's Prayer (Robert Stone)
Nunc Dimittis from Short Service (O. Gibbons)
Salve Regina (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
Organ improvisation by the abfab Van Quinn on Aeterna Christi munera (The Eternal Gifts Of Christ The King)



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. :)

7 November - All Saints' Sunday (Transferred)

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

All Saints' Sunday (Transferred): Holy Eucharist Rite II
Prelude: Adagio-Allegro, Voluntary in C Major (Op. 7, No. 2; J. Stanley)
Processional Hymn: 287, For all the saints, who from their labours rest (SINE NOMINE)
Gloria: S-277, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Psalm: Psalm 149 (Simplified Anglican Chant)
Sequence Hymn: 518, Christ is made the sure foundation (WESTMINSTER ABBEY)
Offertory Hymn: 618, Ye watchers and ye holy ones (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
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)
Communion Hymn: 560, Remember your servants, Lord (BEATITUDES)
Recessional Hymn: 557, Rejoice, ye pure in heart! (VINEYARD HAVEN)
Postlude: For All the Saints (W. Held)

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.

Joys and Sorrows

Today, I played my third wedding at St. Joe's and the first member wedding since I started my position back in January, 2008. Well, perhaps the first wedding I played could be considered a "member" wedding as well, but IIRC, the bride (or was it the groom?) was related to a parishioner. It was a nice, simple service... and the bride was beautiful. During the exchange of rings (always my favourite part), you can really see the love they have for each other. (This was the case for the other weddings/blessings of unions I've attended at Chapel of the Cross... and of course, being up in the chancel, you always get a close-up view of the action. :) )

The only thing that worried me was the timing of the piece I played for the bridal procession. The bride had chosen the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria as her processional. The aisle at St. Joe's is quite short; even if you walk slowly, it would take 25 seconds at the most to walk from the back of the church to the chancel. I had to cut huge amounts of the piece just to make it... and I eventually cut it down to 35 seconds.

So after having practiced the piece over and over to ensure I could make as smooth a transition between musical fragments, the timing in the end was perfect: just as I played the final chord, the bride had already reached the chancel, and her brother was giving her a kiss on the cheek before "giving her away" to her husband-to-be. So I gained a lot of satisfaction over that. :)

And the rest of the service went very smoothly.

I'm sure they probably had some experiences that would be told in stories over and over again. (Everyone does, right?) But it seems a certain bridal party in Roxbury, MA would have some very interesting stories to tell. Thanks to my friend Ryan, I found out about a bridal party whose limosine was hijacked right in front of the Blessed Mother Teresa church in Roxbury. The bridal party was still in the limo, waiting for the cue to start walking in procession when a carjacker came and stole the limo. Click here to read the story and watch the video. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the wedding went on without a hitch (according to the news report).

I titled this entry "Joys and Sorrows". Here's the "sorrows" part. There was a woman (I'm not even sure of her name) who has surfaced recently and has been sleeping on the grounds. She was sleeping in the breezeway when I arrived at St. Joe's in the morning to practice. She was still there when I had left an hour and a half before the wedding was to have begun. She looked at me with such a forlorn look on her face. It made me feel so sad. I can't imagine what it's like to be homeless, not knowing if you'll even have a place to sleep. There are frost advisories for tonight, and I'm sure it's quite uncomfortable trying to sleep in near-freezing temperatures. A friend of mine, who had been homeless before he was rescued from the streets, admitted to me that the most difficult part of it was trying to survive the freezing temperatures. He's very thankful that he survived all of that, and he has been living in an apartment for the past couple of years, and he has a job that he loves. He is considered one of the success stories for those trying to move people from homelessness to homes.

I'll end this entry with a prayer for the homeless that I found on beliefnet.com:

O God, as Naomi and Ruth journeyed from one land to another seeking a home, we ask your blessing upon all who are homeless in this world. You promised to your chosen people a land flowing with milk and honey; so inspire us to desire the accomplishment of your will that we may work for the settlement of those who are homeless in a place of peace, protection, and nurture, flowing with opportunity, blessing, and hope. Amen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good Things Friday

This is Day 5 of my endeavour to blog for every day in November. :)

I'm borrowing a page from my LJ friends and calling this post "Good Things Friday." In doing so, I will try to list some good things.

  • I am really liking the cooler weather. For a while, it seemed like summer would never end. Of course, we're expecting overnight lows to be freezing over the next couple of days. Talk about extremes!
  • I really like the colours of the leaves on the trees. Of course, the fall foliage here is not as vivid as that you'd see in New England, but still... it's a nice reminder that seasons are changing, and that winter is coming soon. Speaking of which...
  • Daylight Savings Time in the United States (and Canada?) ends this weekend. I will be curious to know if the infamous iPhone alarm bug, which had wreaked havoc in Europe last week, will hit North America as well. Father Roderick had discussed the alarm bug on his latest episode (#756) of The Break. I don't have an analog alarm clock, but I'll set two alarms for Sunday: one an hour earlier and one at the time I intended to wake up.
  • I have to leave shortly for a wedding rehearsal... in the meantime, I know this is a little late, but better late than never, right? After all, the Episcopal church where I play the organ will be celebrating All Saints' Sunday this coming Sunday, so.... I'd like to take this time to remember my relatives who have gone before me: Lolo Juan and Lola Ina, Lolo Cado, Tito El, Tito Romy, Tita Norma, Tito Paeng, Tito Chito, and Junior. REQUIEM aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It looks like I'll just make it to have a post for today... ~glances at the clock~

First of all: Happy 5th Birthday to my niece, Ella! We'll be celebrating her birthday at Disney World the last week of December. Rumour also has it that we'll be spending a few days at Universal Studios... which means... yes! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I'm hoping to do some sound-seeing tours whilst there. So watch out for them. :)

Speaking of Harry Potter... the first part of Deathly Hallows is going to be released in... 15 days!!! I am hoping to see it as close to opening day as possible. I'm sure my fellow Secrets of Harry Potter panel members are going to want to record a podcast with our reactions to this film.

Speaking of which... we do have plans to continue recording with notes for several shows already prepared. We're hoping to be able to schedule some time to record soon, so stay tuned.

I've been practicing more than usual lately... I'll be playing a wedding on Saturday, and then will start rehearsals with the NC Pinoy Choir on Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing that group again. We really became close whilst preparing for the San Lorenzo Ruiz Mass. Even though Simbang Gabi/Misa de Gallo generally goes for nine days (full Novena of Masses), since the Filipino community in central North Carolina is still relatively small, we're only going to do the one Mass. And this is a relief for me: only one Mass to prepare for. The hope, however, is to grow so that we could, eventually, support the full nine Masses. At least it's a tradition we've started, and I, being a Filipino born and raised outside of the Philippines, am quite happy to be able to experience this wonderful tradition.

And for those who are already complaining about Christmas infiltrating life, the universe, and everything in November: in the Philippines, they've been having a Christmas countdown since October, and it's normal over there. So let the countdown to Christmas begin! :)

~glances at clock~

Ah. Well, it's past midnight, but the time-stamp will still read November 4. Will this still count? (Yes, I'm trying to blog every day in November... my friends are doing NaNoWriMo... I'm just doing the variant, NaBloPoMo.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Brunhilde Engelhardt, organ

My apologies to the Facebook crowd who will try to read this as an imported note. The formatting is strange, but I like how cleanly it appears at Blogger, so I encourage you to click on "View Original Post", which will take you to the post on Blogger.

Today, as part of Bach's Lunch at the Chapel of the Cross, Bruni Engelhardt of St. John's Episcopal Church in Wilmington, NC, presented a wonderful program, featuring music of Buxtehude, Böhm, Bach, and Mendelssohn. It was really nice to hear her play.

Here is the program.

Praeludium in D (BuxWV 139)
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707)

Chorale Prelude Vater unser im Himmelreich
Georg Böhm (1661–1733)

Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter (BWV 650)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 645)
Bach

Sonata VI Vater unser im Himmelreich
   Choral
   Andante sostenuto
   Allegro molto
   Fuga
   Finale
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847)

Monday, November 1, 2010

More on All Hallows Eve

Of late, there has been some debate amongst my friends as to what is the origin of Halloween. My Secrets of Harry Potter co-hosts and I discussed it in our latest episode (Episode #61, Harry's Halloween).

Last night, I went to Duke University Chapel's All Hallows Eve service, which featured music sung by the Duke Vespers Ensemble under the direction of Allan Friedman. (I will post the music list a little later.) Here is an excerpt from the bulletin titled, "About All Hallows' Eve".

Tonight is the eve of All Saints Day, the festival in the Church that recalls the faith and witness of the men and women who have come before us. The service celebrates our continuing communion with them, and memorializes the recently deceased. The early church followed the Jewish custom that a new day began at sundown; thus, feasts and festivals in the church were observed beginning on the night before. The night before All Saints (or All Hallows) became known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween.