Christmas horror stories
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    why do unusually crazy things happen in church at Christmas (and Easter) time?
    I'm geared up enough as it is as MD, and of course there are so many more things that *could* go wrong...

    an hour before our vigil Mass, as I'm about to begin rehearsing the choir, I heard...water dripping.
    "wha?"
    sure enough, after having been negative thirty degrees earlier in the week, it decided to warm up and start raining on Christmas Eve...and leak into my choir loft (from somewhere up in the bell tower.) and on the reservoir of my organ. fabulous.
    excellent. Just what I wanted to have happen on Christmas Eve.
    (actually, I think the organ will be ok, it wasn't that much water, and we covered it with some plastic, and the temperature dropped drastically during Mass and everything froze up, so at least I won't have to worry about more water coming in until...it thaws again!)

    anyone else have exciting music/liturgical related (or not) stories or disasters from Christmas? (oh, the joys of being a church musician!)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,227
    OK... I arranged and orchestrated an entire concert of Christmas music and the Mass for a small chamber orchestra. (Strings, Trumpet, Flugel Horn, Timpani, Piano, (yes, guitar too... I played it for two opening verses of Silent Night in German and then it disoloved into a lush setting for chamber orch.) An hour before dress rehearsal the cellist walks in a bows out! I was very cordial and even tried to get him to reconsider. He was the only volunteer in the trio. So, needless to say, I had to put my feet into high gear and cover all his missing parts on the organ. I am grateful that it all went without a hitch.

    Two minutes before the concert started I was putting on my organ shoes, and one of the shoe laces snapped in half... thank God I still remember my knots from boyscouts. (square)

    BTW... we got three feet of snow the last few days, so we definitely had the whitest Christmas in the nation.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    A few years ago, I had the organ tuned a week before Christmas since I wanted it in perfect tune for Midnight Mass. Christmas Eve, the temperature dropped 30+ degrees and the whole instrument was out of tune. Since then, I have just accepted the fact that something will go wrong. If I don't make an error, someone else will. So yesterday morning, I gave God thanks for the things that did go well, and also thanks for the things that could have been much worse.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I want to say thank you to all the musicians and especially MDs, who filled this earth with beautiful music and glorify our God on Christmas, inspite all the troubles. May God bless you more and more.
  • I have two stories.

    Back in my misspent youth while in conservatory I was the organist for the local Methodist church that owned a beautiful little Brombaugh tracker. On the night before Christmas Eve I went into the church to practice to discover that the furnace had gone haywire and it was over 95 degrees in the church. After several panicked phone calls (one to the pastor who knew nothing about music and organs and thought I was weird) the furnace was brought under control. But the damage was done, and on the morning of Christmas Eve I went in to check and make sure the organ was OK, which of course it wasn't. The high temp and dryness had caused one of the pallets on the Great wind chest to warp, so that the trumpet stop would cypher if it was drawn. After more phone calls to the local organ builder/technician, and a day's worth of work, the organ was up and playable for Christmas Eve. *Whew!*

    My other story is much more of a horror story, and a Catholic church was involved. The parents of two little home-school girls asked if they could play violin during the Midnight Mass. I agreed and arranged some music for them to play with the choir. They came to the big rehearsal the night before and did a splendid job. The parents were pleased. The choir was pleased. On Christmas Eve the girls showed up in their fancy dresses, violins at the ready. We were just touching on pieces during warm-ups, not actually running all the way through anything. I was moving pretty fast and one of the girls apparently got a little nervous and after I let them go back to their parents until Mass was to begin, apparently one of them started to cry. I dropped everything and went back to the little girl to assure her. She was obviously just very nervous, excited, and needless to say "geeked up" on sugar and the anticipation of presents the next day. The father was ready to flay, draw and quarter me at first, but within a minute realized that I hadn't done anything and wasn't an ogre. MEANWHILE . . . one of my tenors was supposed to sing as part of a quartet in one of the pieces (a really nice setting of "Gaudete" by Bob Hurd, believe it or don't). The night before, he was struggling with his part and said, "If tomorrow night during warm-ups you don't think I'm ready, just say so and I know you can sing the part." Fair enough. During warm-ups, he flubbed the part so badly that the other members of the quartet got lost. I turned to him and said, "I think maybe I better sing this tonight." As he walked past me to return to his spot in the choir he muttered, "That was awkward."

    After Mass (where the music went very well) I returned to the choir room and found a note on my desk, written in black marker. It read:

    Your a jerk. Only jerks make little girls cry. I quit. Signed, (the tenor who muffed the solo)

    I was crushed. I later sent him a note explaining what had happened with the girl, and he sent me a note back saying, "All you ever do is apologise. I've been in HR for a number of years, and I think you're too psychologically unstable to work with people. I think you should get help before you continue being a music director."

    And people wonder why church musicians are neurotic, prone to burn out, alcoholism and other forms of overindulgence and often seem aloof and withdrawn.

    On a much happier note, despite being very sick with a bronchial infection all during the week, the music went very well, and people seemed pleased.

    Merry Christmas all!
  • "Christmas Horror" is an oxymoron.
    "Aweful Christmas" seems odd, but appropriate.
    I'm glad that my fervor that disposes me to always strive to bring the best to the King in the creche hasn't abated in my approaching dotage. And I'm happy that such memories similar to those of David have either dissipated from memory or taken lodging in some remote portion of my brain pan. I'm gleeful that I've come to realize many HR folks simply cannot resist the pretense of behaving like automatons and functionaries in ways that put their cinematic versions in Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL to shame; they can have Kanon in D and Albinoni's Adagio in their mental loop 24/7 and I will pray for their souls.
    I'm humbled by the gifts that my choristers and musicians simply are to me. That they see something, anything in me that remotely resembles Christ at their door and let me into their lives tells me that He is Risen, Alleluia!
    I'm astonished, mortified and grateful that I know "I AM" is, and that gravity is so beautiful that "AM" became us, despite our having regularly, repeatedly rejected His very essence: Love. Then we put "AM" to death with a hubris that continues to expand faster than the universe, and yet He still spoke an invocation of forgiveness before that true death. He then walked and talked with us afterwards, reassuring us, comforting us, reminding us of the promise of perfection in Love and union in words we could understand; the Word condescendent because of the gravity of Love.
    And that is present in every newborn. That is the simplest "why" for celebrating Christ Mass.
    No doubt "Christmases" can prove horrible beyond our spectral imaginations. But we know love because LOVE came down in our time, dwelt with us, gave us the Way, the Truth and the Life.
    Choosing obsession over missed entrances, blown accidentals or whether one's "program" has enough ostentation is an eminently natural human, emotional option. Been there, done that, got the T shirt.
    I wonder (as I wander, or meander?) if Jesus laughed and danced and sang at the wedding feast at Cana. Was He fully human as His time was about to come? No wonder at all- of course He must have partied there. At another time, He wept.
    But I can't imagine He would want us to associate His nativity solely with small potatoes horror stories. He obviously lived through all such mishaps and bad calls from day one. He says we can do the same and then join Him "elsewhere" if we present ourselves to His recognition.
    I can't remember being happier, which for me, is a very foreign and welcome feeling. Gaudete, indeed.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I've mentioned this before, but imagine Mara's story happening inside my apartment. And replace the organ with my meager entertainment center, games, and movies. It was a depressing Christmas Eve, but eventually the roof froze again, and I put on the Bach Christmas Oratorio, which was an instant cure.

    Or there was last year, where my girlfriend and I caught my kitchen on fire making Christmas dinner between Masses.

    I must to some extent agree with Charles. We have a great privilege in celebrating the Nativity (and Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, and Ascension, etc) how we do. There's no other way to do it, and the only way I'll not spend another feast day in a loft is if I'm in a hospital bed. And they'll have to keep me strapped down.

    Bad things happen. That's what happens when sinners gather to give glory to a perfect God. To expect Christmas or even Ordinary Time 17 to go flawlessly is arrogance and pride. I wager that I've screwed up Masses, in music and planning, far worse than anyone here. And you know what? It's in the past. There's no way that I can change the fact that I forgot to play the Gloria on a Solemnity, or that I was flat in the Christmas Proclamation, or that my choir flubbed the Pentecost sequence horribly. So I try to give it all the thought, attention, and care that it needs to make a difference: none. I always tell myself, when an accident happens, "Ok, I screwed up X. What do I do next?" Often this is just an entry mantra while I seethe with anger, but it does help to remember that what counts is the present, not the past.

    And yet David's second story fills me with the despair engendered by the oxymoronic "Christmas Horror". I've had nearly the exact same thing happen, on many occasions. It has informed my view of ministry, that I have to work as a team leader, not a dictator or a pushover. And yet I'm reminded of a Christmas some years ago. I had programmed different music each Mass, carols for Mass appropriate to the Mass offered as well as after and before Mass carols complimentary to the season. My boss at the time looked over the program and said "we have a huge problem. You need to have Joy to the World at the vigil Mass. People will not be happy about that not being there." I said, "but we have it for the Mass of Christmas Morning. If people want to hear it, tell them to go there." He said, "yes, that's well and good, but they'll complain."

    And then I gave (imho) the best comeback ever: "If someone complains, I WILL tell them that if they want to come to me on the feast of Goodwilll to Men and complain because their personal preferences weren't catered to at church, they should first schedule a proctologist appointment to have my organ shoes removed from their posterior." We had a good laugh on that, and went about our business. Don't think I wouldn't respond like that, either. Anyway, after Mass of Christmas Morning, we were chatting and he commented to me how much everyone at all Masses enjoyed everything, and said he got a single complaint: after that Mass a woman came up to him and said "this is the WORST CHRISTMAS EVER! I don't know any of these songs, why do I have to sing in Latin, and your organist is playing some stupid crap upstairs!" He told me that he simply responded as I did: "Madam, if you're going to spend Christmas being angry, I have nothing to say to you."

    That, to me, is the point of the season: negativity has no place with us. If David's tenor wanted to be an immature jerk, let that be his response to our Savior's nativity. If someone else wants to do something to hurt us, that is how they welcome the Christ. Rather, let our response be joy.
  • The long and short of struggles at our church:
    1)Due to a huge crowd at the 4 PM vigil, we have 2 masses (one in church, one in gym). On Dec. 23rd, my hired pianist backed out. Had to pay a triple rate for an overnight fill-in, and had to teach them about the Catholic Mass.
    2) The printer broke the weekend before Christmas, so programs were printed very late. Had choirsters folding them before all of the services.
    3)Hired instrumentalists for midnight Mass. 1st violin is half-hour late to dress rehearsal- not a huge problem, except she also had the viola player's music. Luckily I found a back-up set. Couldn't get a 2nd trumpet, so a clarinetist filled in. He asked me if I had a music degree, because his parts were in C. *sigh*
    4)Random Jr. High student showed up at 11 PM for midnight Mass because other youth she knew were singing. Mind you, these other two have sang in the teen choir all year, sang the teen mass at 4 PM, and came to adult choir rehearsals. (She has not sung in the teen choir all year, nor sang with the teens at the 4 PM mass, just showed up.) Although I let her sing, it was against my better judgement. That is like showing up at the basketball championships saying, "I want to play point-guard."
    5) And finally.......we ended with 'Silent Night' acapella. We were supposed to sing 2 verses with the congregation, and then a verse of 'ooohs' while the lights dimmed and only the nativity was lit. However, our kind lighting tech dimmed them very quickly. Luckily we all had it memorzied.....and so did the congregation!!!

    The organ and choir location is right next to the altar up front. For midnight Mass, I arranged all the music for strings and winds, and we went up to the choir loft. Sans organ. The most BEAUTIFUL part about this (and there was definitely some discontent), was that the choir and director, for the first time ever, were able to kneel during the consecration. What beauty indeed.
    Merry Christmas all!
  • The one saving grace is that the choir director finally had the good sense to ditch Mary, Did You Know. However, the settings for the Children's choir were dreadful. Natrually, they came from OCP. The Agnus Dei they used wasn't even a close proximity to the prayer. it was horrid. To make matters worse, our pastor was singing along. I elected to quietly pray the invocations in Latin.

    Of course, the homily for the vigil was not very good. We heard about how dysfunctional Jesus' family tree was and how Solomon was able to comply with his duties to 700 wives and 30 concubines without the use of a male-only prescription drug. I love my pastor and realize that he means well, but, I think he could have used a different approach.

    I could also do without hearing "Child of the Poor". Why can we not have traditional Christmas carols that speak to the joy of the season?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I suppose the one saving grace is that most of my horror stories have occurred at other times, not Christmas. East Tennessee can get some torrential rains. On one Sunday morning, we had one of those. The pastor had the foresight to cover the top of the pipe chamber with marine plywood and to seal all cracks. Water could only come down the walls, not fall directly on the organ. Wouldn't you know, the roof leak knocked out the organ power supplies, along with an 8' flute along the wall. So, we had unaccompanied singing for a couple of weeks. Then there was the day with the 4-hour power failure on Sunday morning. Also, the day a ditsy local organist who played for a women's group meeting, left the organ on for 3 days. You may have guessed what happened. The blower caught fire during the main Sunday morning mass. Smoke was billowing out of the blower room in the basement. Needless to say, I probably have the only pipe organ in town where the power switch has now been replaced with a timer switch. Fortunately, both the choir and the congregation seem to go on without batting an eyelash when these things happen.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I had feared the worst for Christmas Eve at the church where I'm the part-time organist. I was convinced that we would run over on the pre-Mass programming. Wrong, we came out right on the money. That was good. "Mary, Did You Know" was not a success. The choir never got the rhythm at rehearsal and no miracles had occurred to make it work on Christmas Eve. They would get ahead of my piano accompaniment; then they would get behind. Because of moving the piano to find a place for the double bass, I could see neither the director nor the choir. Well, at least the pain didn't last too long.

    We added strings plus trumpet and tympani for the Mozart Sparrow Mass. This church has done an orchestral Mass on big occasions for decades. Unfortunately, 35 years on, there are still some of the original voices. But we soldiered on. However, the singers missed their cue (the tweeting of the "sparrow") on the tempo change after the opening of the Sanctus. At one point, I think the organ and strings, choir, and director were in three different places. However, somehow we landed on the last note together.

    I'm an inveterate lark, so these midnight services are highly disorienting for me. I'm pretty good for most of the music until suddenly I can't remember the key signature of the piece I'm in the middle of. It passes in a moment. This time it was the Mozart Ave Verum during one of those little organ bits. And if that's the worst thing that I ever do, I shall count myself lucky.
  • Mjballou, with all due respect, I believe it was a sign from above that "Mary Did You Know" did not work. That song goes against the Church's Marian doctrine and dogma and, in my opinion, should never be sung within the context of any Catholic liturgical service. I am vehemently opposed to this song. It was written by a Protestant evangelical who does not subscribe, for obvious reasons, to the Church's Marian beliefs. As I said in my previous post, with a plethora of beautiful, doctrinally, theologically and liturgically solid music for this time of year, why use something that goes against Church teaching?
  • I don't MJ had the opportunity to choose the music... more's the pity.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Thanks, Janet.

    In defense of the director with whom I work and who chose the song, she did check with our diocesan director of liturgy about its suitability for the pre-Mass program and he told her there was no problem.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    What's the problem with "Mary did you know"?
  • I'm looking at the lyrics on some website . . . don't seem to have a copy in my files anymore.

    The song suggests that Mary was clueless about the identity of her son as savior of the world:

    "Mary, did you know
    That your baby boy is lord of all creation?
    . . . That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
    . . . And when you kiss your little boy
    You've kissed the face of God . . ."

    When Mary said "let it be done to me" in answer to the Angel, we believe she understood that her son would be the Messiah, the son of the Most High.

    And because Mary was conceived without sin, the following line is especially objectionable to Catholics:

    "This child that you delivered
    Will soon deliver you"

    Um, no, he had already done so.

    So even if the tune weren't a pop ballad, the lyrics are not theologically sound.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,227
    MaryMezzo:

    Thank you for expressing your thoughts about the text. I have the exact same issues with some contemporary texts that skew or distort Catholic theology and am sensitive more to the texts than to the music at times.

    et al:

    For further information about the greatness of Mary and her place, please read this writing by St. Louis de Montfort. It is so we all better understand how wonderful and great she truly is and how texts like this (Mary Did You Know) demean her greatness. We should never talk down to her or question her sentiments! She understood more about the salvific plan of God more than all humanity ever will in their sinful livetimes.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/truedevo.htm
  • Mary Jane,

    Thanks for the tip on the cathedral midnight Mass. It was mostly fine although none of the singing was worthy of the space. Sharon did a nice job with the organ and the instrument is indeed a fine one. Wish it could have been louder. How on earth does a congregation sing Joy to the World at mf? I'm sure it wasn't her call! I did lament the fact that the huge candles were in the chapel to make room for Christmas trees on the high altar. The bishop, to his credit, tried to do the proper chants, but he needs a bit of work. Also, the congregation did not know the repsonses for a bishop (not in the missal, either). It's such a nice space, however, that ignored most of that and enjoyed the night.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Michael - thanks for your report on the Cathedral-Basilica. Shannon asked last evening at schola rehearsal if I'd heard from you. She'd be happy to crank up the volume on the Casavant. And I'm glad you knew what to ignore - a critical skill in contemporary liturgical practice.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,227
    an excerpt [to spark your interest from True Devotion (which I mentioned 3 posts above this one):

    2. A share in Mary's faith

    214. Mary will share her faith with you. Her faith on earth was stronger than that of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and saints. Now that she is reigning in heaven she no

    longer has this faith, since she sees everything clearly in God by the light of glory. However, with the consent of almighty God she did not lose it when entering heaven. She has preserved it for her faithful servants in the Church militant. Therefore the more you gain the friendship of this noble Queen and faithful Virgin the more you will be inspired by faith in your daily life. It will cause you to depend less upon sensible and extraordinary feelings. For it is a lively faith animated by love enabling you to do everything from no other motive than that of pure love. It is a firm faith, unshakable as a rock, prompting you to remain firm and steadfast in the midst of storms and tempests. It is an active and probing faith which like some mysterious pass-key admits you into the mysteries of Jesus Christ and of man's final destiny and into the very heart of God himself. It is a courageous faith which inspires you to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for God and the salvation of souls. Lastly, this faith will be your flaming torch, your very life with God, your secret fund of divine Wisdom, and an all-powerful weapon for you to enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. It inflames those who are lukewarm and need the gold of fervent love. It restores life to those who are dead through sin. It moves and transforms hearts of marble and cedars of Lebanon by gentle and convincing argument. Finally, this faith will strengthen you to resist the devil and the other enemies of salvation.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Query for Mr. O'Connor:

    What exactly are the proper responses for a bishop? when do they differ from those we give a priest celebrant?
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    "Madam, if you're going to spend Christmas being angry, I have nothing to say to you."

    I remember being confronted by a woman after the 10 am Mass on Christmas Day. She was in a major snit that the choir hadn't sung that particular service. The choir sang a full orchestral Mass at Midnight and 12 Noon and yet, because this didn't fit into her schedule, she was angry. It made me feel crummy and is indicative of how some Catholics seem to feel that they're entitled to bad manners.
  • This is a bit tangential via Mark P.'s post above, but...
    Has anyone else noticed that attendance at Christ Mass during the day has dramatically decreased over the last few years? We all know (and our pastors increase the numbers of) vigil Masses that draw "watch out for the fire marshall" numbers. But the need to maintain a "Sunday Schedule" at our parish (6000+ families) seems no longer necessary.
    One happy by-product of this year's schedule (7am, 9am English, 11am Spanish) is that provided me with the opportunity to both give my schola and ensemble members the morning off, but to also create a "Music Leadership Choir." Our directors, organists, cantors, etc., were invited to form the ersatz ensemble and it was a no-pressure, pleasant and successful exercize. That also provided a subtle platform for little demonstrations of performance practice for some of our fellowes that was by model/example, not by memo.
  • So is Michael O'Conner the new director of music/choral director at the cathedral basilica?
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    "Has anyone else noticed that attendance at Christ Mass during the day has dramatically decreased over the last few years?"

    Which is precisely why we advertised a big orchestral Mass. Sometimes attendance at Noon exceeded Midnight.
  • 2 answers. Nope. I'm not leading the cathedral basilica ministry. I have a good full time job in West Palm Beach. I was attending the Mass since my in-laws live in Jax Beach. Also, my wife and I were married in that cathedral.

    Jam, my sloppy memory, sorry. I meant that the bishop, I don't think, did not give the proper text "Peace be to you". The congregation was fine.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    "Has anyone else noticed that attendance at Christ Mass during the day has dramatically decreased over the last few years? "

    Charles, I have noticed the same thing. Attendance is heavy at the 6:00 pm vigil and at the Midnight Mass. It falls off considerably on Christmas Day. I don't know why, other than mass attendance is supposedly lower everywhere than was the case years ago. At least, that's what I read.
  • For many families with small children, who may even be involved in the children's Christmas play at the Mass, or the children's choir singing... etc., they have to attend the Vigil "Children's Mass" for the sake of their children. I know that wasn't the case when I was growing up (a long, long, time ago). We always opened the presents at the crack of dawn (or whenever the first child awakened), ate a quick breakfast and then hurried off to Christmas morning Mass (too many really little ones to consider midnight Mass).

    Now, even though we have two little boys, I would never choose to attend one of those special kids' Masses on Christmas Eve without a darn good reason, but I know I am among the minority.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,710
    I inherited a choir a year ago in September; as usual, in October we began rehearsing Christmas concert music. There was significant turnover in membership, and we had only one returning soprano, who was joined by 6 young, eager, and un-schooled apprentices.

    Just after Thanksgiving (this is last year), our new pastor came by and told me that we were expected to provide 30 minutes of music for the pre-Midnight Mass concert. I told him as nicely as possible that that request would simply not be fulfilled; that he would get, perhaps, 20 minutes of music (liberally stuffed with schola chanting and organ voluntaries.) He was very displeased, and insisted that he must have 30 minutes' music. Eventually I became more emphatic, to say the least, and he wandered off.

    Fast forward. This year, with the same group of singers (and a foundation of music from LAST year), the choir was able to prepare 30 minutes' worth of sung music--all 4-part, well-learned. And, as you might have already guessed, the pastor emailed at 1:00 PM on Christmas Eve to advise that he would be initiating a procession after we'd sung TWENTY minutes' worth of music, and that he expected to hear a particular piece of music (I confess--I never heard of his request before.)

    OK. We cut some materials (too bad they spent all that time learning...) and at exactly the appointed time, awaited his procession-beginning into the Church.

    And we waited for FIVE FULL MINUTES before he began...

    Despite it all, the choir was wonderful. They did their part with joy (and sang all the right notes at the right time, with the right phrasing and vocal production.)

    As of tomorrow, however, the parish will be looking for a new choir director/schola director.
  • Dad29,
    That is so distressing, and is at the heart of why "progressive solemnity" may continue to crawl slower than an elderly snail. That DM's are compelled to uproot themselves and their work because of some pretty "standard operating procedure" politicking on the part of clerics and other staff, means that most places are "re-inventing" their musical wheels every year or so.
    I can't count on both hands the number of internet friends that have left or been forced to leave (without just cause) their gigs in the last year.
    Look at MOC's comments in this thread- he's happy in his scholastic gig, unfettered with his freelance schola which, doubtless provides him with more "job satisfaction" than any DM gig he's held before, and benefits spiritually by the gracious support of those who contract his schola's services. But should he be a cathedral director(?), absolutely! Therein lies the rub- how to steer the barque through such treacherous political and cultural realities, remain somewhat sane and in the same place for a generation or so?
    I've been at my place just over 15 years, and many would regard that as miraculous. I guess I'm well acquainted not only with grief, but absurdity, insanity, inanity as well as opportunity.
    But the longer one stays put, the number of horror stories decreases, IMO. Vicious circle, that.
  • Charles, you've started your New Year's celebrations a bit early? Put the bottle down now... Seriously I do appreciate the vote of confidence, but I'd never work for a cathedral that would hire me! LOL I don't play organ and I'm not a trained choirmaster. Don't even think about putting me in front of a children's choir! As much as I would love to do something like that, I know my limits and would redirect any bishop's attentions to some well-deserving folks right here on this forum. Sure, I can cobble together a little schola and direct my early music singers (all upperclassmen who cannot be harmed by "leadership") but I'd be over my head in a cathedral situation. I'm quite happy to write my articles and torture students 3 times a week in music history class.

    A happy new year to you all!

    Mike
  • I don't know if the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God counts in this thread, but, we almost had a small horror story. The choir didn't show up (I guess they got the night off) and our parochial vicar led us in singing. Things went well until he told us that we would be singing O Come All Ye Faithful during Communion. As he could not distribute and sing at the same time, he was counting on us to sing. I tried to help lead the faithful in singing (I had proclaimed the second reading and sung the Alleluia), I ran out of gas towards the end. To my surprise, three members of the children's choir saved me. By the way, we went through two rounds of O Come, All Ye Faithful. My PV laughed at me after Mass because I ran out of steam. He was joking, though. :).
  • Happy NY to you, too, Mike! I was just being nice is all; isn't that what the American Catholic Church is really all about, anyway, being NICE?!?
    Good Twain reference. Or was it Will Rogers? Or Groucho?
    W and I don't imbibe from 750's anymore; just boxes with spigots from Tarzhjay. Has a kind of "Lebowski" ethos about it. Besides, we didn't get our Shiraz on last night as we were "doing" on call grandparent babysitting. And I'm trying to lose some bronchitis before embarking for SD.
    Speaking of which, I'm bringing bow ties, extras even, all kinds.
    I did make a pit stop at World Market for MaryAnn and AOZ.
    Anyhoo, I still think you'd make a fine cathedral director, especially in FLA.! You have to remember that we Caliphs get itchy and edgy about all things FLA. I mean, didn't some parish in Naples have that blonde, curly haired Rick Wakeman as their DM for a long time? Right next to Ave Maria U, imagine that?
    Besides, having a fine tuned schola AND a civil war re-enactors' Euphonium Consort at your disposal, and being a rock bassist seem to be fine street/cathedral cred to me. Heck, they paid me for four years at our cathedral!!! twenty one years ago!
    M'best to you, MOC, you still da Man, tho' I'll never say "yes" to you ever saying "You wanna walk to lunch?" should we meet in this life or the next. Rorate caeli, indeed.
    Abiding out here in Tule Fog, I remain yours truly,
    CDC
    (which faithful viewers of NatGeo/MSNBC will also recognize as "California Dept. of Corrections."
  • Happy New Year to you Charles! Sing a few chants for me in SD. Maybe next winter intensive will be S Florida!

    For me, minimum requirements for even the smallest Catholic cathedral should be a graduate degree in choral conducting or organ (preferably experience in both) and evidence of study in liturgy or requisite experience with it. If I were hiring, I would follow the Renaissance preference for having a maestro (who not only directed and taught, but also composed) and a first organist. Here in our diocese we have a pianist who directs a volunteer group that gathers for one rehearsal on big events and generally sounds like it. The rest of the time, it's happy clappy. Expected for a diocese that was formed in the 1980s, I guess.
  • Don't you think Texas is more centrally located? That's my vote (heh).
  • Well, like I said to Dad, stay in one place things can get pretty, uh, smoove, as they say in Long Beach.
    We've got so much time together that I have about 15 or so motets like Sicut, the Arcadelt, If Ye Love Me, Dixit Maria, Gibbons' O Lord, Increase..., Bryd Ave Verum, etc. that we really glance over, if that, before the Sunday they're needed.

    I'm kind of getting like JP's mode when he was at Fatima, planning the whole year's worth of choral stuff, slotting them, and making adjustments as needed.
    Anyway, gotta run. Gonna sing "Veni creator..." down at the mall for my indulgence. In front of Victoria's Secret no less.

    Ooh, Janet, caught your post after hitting button. I say the new Houston Cathedral.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,710
    Charles, it's my opinion that the new Administration is attempting to install their own spirituality--sorta like the Opus Dei, or Schoenstatt thing, except it's ICK. No big deal, except I'm a little old to turn French overnight...and after about 35 years of both Old Rite and New Rite choral conducting, endless reading in liturgical texts, and a bunch of education in organ, singing, Chant, and conducting, it's sorta hard to have someone start critiqueing 'tempo' and asking for Sunday Mass programming in advance.

    Silly me. I always thought that the Roman Rite was Roman, not nationality-based.
  • Dad29,
    I believe we're essentially on the same page. However, as we, the plebes, have finally found our "Aha" moments about the constitution of the Roman Rites, we have all still been subject to (in your words) "the Administration." Did we presume too much in believing we and they were one and the same? Or are we at that Pogo moment, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." ?
    Did you submit your signature? In any case, Pax Christi to you, faithful vintner.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,710
    Re-signature sent, done. Have one more obligation there. Gave the Administering Father some free advice (old Church proverb): "You can pay them peanuts, but you dare not treat them like monkeys."
  • What is ICK? an adjective, as in "icky"? can't figure that part out... so sorry for your difficulties, Dad29
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,710
    Institute of Christ the King.
  • Does that have an affiliation with a Mexican apostolate, Dad?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,710
    I don't know. They order is French-origin and they have oratories (and/or parishes) all over the place. You can find them on the 'net, no problem.

    But they were not the ones who proclaimed "Cristo Rey" before getting shot in Mexico...
  • No, that was Blessed Miguel Pro.

    He loudly proclaimed Viva Cristo Rey before he was martyred.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,761
    The ICK is a community founded in 1990 with the charism of observing the older liturgical forms:
    http://www.institute-christ-king.org/institute/who-we-are/
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    An Epiphany horror story? (Sorry, I need to vent a little.)

    I only caught the tail end of this Spanish Mass . . .
    -----as Father gathered the chalices, three costumed men walked down
    -----to Silent Night in Spanish.
    -----Father finished; the choir sang for about 7-8 minutes.
    -----Finally, the Prayer was prayed and Father processed
    -----to "Feliz Navidad" (Feliciano).

    Pray for us!
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    http://www.institute-christ-king.org/institute/who-we-are/

    The schola director from their Italian seminary is doing a workshop in Chicago this week.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Dear Dad29,

    I was disturbed by a post that was highly critical of a priest and an entire priestly society, especially when they were compared to Opus Dei, which I understood to be a jab at the Institute. (I apologize if I misunderstood the comparison.) I have assisted at Masses celebrated by priests of the Institute of Christ the King and I have met a few priests of the Institute. I can honestly say that the priests of the Institute celebrate Mass with great reverence and love of the liturgy. They also have a great love of liturgical music and understand how music can contribute much to the beauty of the liturgy. Knowing how hard these priests labor for souls, I thought it unjust to post complaints about a priest when all of the facts aren't known by readers and the reputation of a priestly society could be damaged.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Could you explain what this means "--compared to Opus Dei, which I understood to be a jab at the Institute"?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,100
    This Christmas eveI had a full string orchestra and arrangements/anthems rehearsed and ready.
    I got a very disturbing call about 5:00 that the first violinist got in a car accident!
    Her car was totaled, her violin busted. Despite the fact that she was badly shaken, she borrowed another violin, got a ride to church and made it in time!
    Who says musicians are not troopers and valiant!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    ghmus, that reminds me of a time at my last church where the pastor was away, and had a good (although hard to understand) elderly Indian priest sub for him. Early morning Mass, the priest didn't show up. I left and came back a half hour before the late Mass to warm up the cantor, and saw him in the church. Turns out he had got in a car accident, his car flipped and he had to dig himself out of a destroyed car. He recognized me, and came up to me, greeted me, and then said "I'm sorry I missed the early Mass. Do you have a comb? My hair is somewhat messy."

    They don't make priests like that anymore!