"that absurd 7-days-per-week-plus-holidays job"
  • which reminds me....

    a) what % of your singers reliably stays in town for the great feast days, particularly Christmas?

    b) how many times in the last X number of years have YOU gone out of town for the great feasts, particularly Christmas?

    Just wondering. For me it's
    a) 60%
    b) zero

    but as for (b), I admit I wouldn't really have it any other way. "7 days per week plus holidays", yes, but full of beauty and grace.
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 cesarfranck
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    My new pastor and I had a talk about this. It was interesting. For me it was:

    a) 90 - 95% (lucky girl I am!)
    b) I have gone home for Feast of Mary, Mother of God the last two years of the last 20 (not this year though) so 5% or so?
  • a) I have been fortunate in that few of those in my many choirs have been absent on great feast days. Some, but not many. My greatest problem with personnel has been the attrition which follows Easter. When Easter is over great numbers begin to fall away because nothing of importance (in their minds) is left except for Whitsun, which may or may not see a slight resurgence. A paid quartet or octet (for those who can afford them) tides one over when the volunteers fall away - or all get sick at the same time.

    (And. another word about missing at Christmas and Easter. This might sometimes be made up by those who just want to come and sing on those great solemnities. I refuse to accept them. They are either in the choir and are there all the time, or they're not. Some choirmasters, though, do open up and recruit 'festival choirs' made up of 'the choir' plus whoever else wants to come and sing just on great occasions. I would not consider doing this. A choir is a choir and its obligations are its obligations - which don't include those who are selfish enough not to commit to actually being in the choir and sharing its responsibilities, joys, and sorrows.)

    b) As for my missing, I would never think of being absent for any major feast. I couldn't bear it. It would be right next to criminal - a dereliction of duty. Nor would I think of missing any Sunday during the 'choir season' (August-Septemberish through Trinity Sunday or Corpus Christi. I would never take any of my month's paid vacation at any time other than during summer recess.

  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 354
    As an old tenor, our choir, during the last decade
    a) 50% (that is members are available but we don't sing)
    b) zero

    We sing for Christmas night but after this the choir takes a hiatus. I'm not happy but this is how it is. Today, it seems spending time with family is more important than spending time with God and our Blessed Mother. I would love it if things could change at my parish but I don't think they are going to, maybe I'm being selfish. I've done the best I could to sing in the Choir, Schola and cantor but the "traditional" hiatus prevails.

  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 112
    I was a choir director for 2 years. Or rather, I was the organist and "assistant" choir director for a Novus Ordo parish, and the head director for an additional traditional Mass.

    a) All of the choir (which was pretty small) would reliably be there for all of the Sundays and feast days within the "season," and so Christmas was no different.

    b) During these two years, I lived about 90 minutes away from my parents' home, where all of my siblings (except one who is a nun and the other who is married and usually can't make it on Christmas day) always come for Christmas. 90 minutes being a rather short drive, it was possible to fulfill my Christmas obligations at my parish and then drive home to be with family. So I did not miss Christmas at the parish in my two years there.

    I have not been a choir director since 2016. I just joined a choir (FSSP) where it seems that most of them will reliably be present for all feasts. Almost all of them would have been present for our three sung Christmas Masses if a number of them (including myself) were not sick/unable to sing. But as a choir member now, and not a director, I would intend to almost always be present, but would not (do not) feel guilty about missing a Sunday here and there, if I give notice of said absence in advance. The choir/schola there is established/advanced enough that it is not a big deal if one to two people are missing.

    Both as a director and as a singer I would not miss any other major Sunday or non-Sunday feast during the year, no matter when it is, unless I had some very important obligation elsewhere. For example, our parish (the one I just joined in September - FSSP) had their titular feast day, so it was a 1st class feast. However, I had already made plans to attend the ordinations of a good friend where I was in the monastery, and I did not feel guilty about missing the parish feast day to attend the ordination, though I would not have missed the parish feast day for any other reason.
  • davido
    Posts: 272
    My wife and I once left a wedding in NJ and drove all night to WV so I could be there to direct for an ordination.
    And I have a friend who did the same from Illinois to upstate NY for a dedication of a church. He went farther.
  • A: Virtually everybody -- only one cantor goes out of town every year.

    B: Never. But this is the business we have chosen. (Also, my family lives near me and my friends come back into town.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    My singers are pretty reliable and only miss occasionally for family events or because of illness.

    I haven't missed a Sunday since 2007.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 354
    a)Less than 50%, sadly. We have a good number of students who sing well but go off home for Christmas and Easter.
    b) none
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • cesarfranck
    Posts: 133
    A) 95 percent of singers are present for holy days or festivals. Moreover, my choir does not take a summer hiatus. We do drop back to a Sunday morning rehearsal for a week after Christmas and Easter. In June and July, we only rehearse on Sunday morning. Regardless, we sing a full service every Sunday plus Christmas liturgies, Holy Week, and Easter.
    B). I could never miss a Christmas season or Holy Week and Easter. My commitment is reflected by the choir's commitment.
    When I arrived in 1988, choir sang an anthem once or twice a month and never sang in summers. I was hired to build a program! It has been a most humbling and rewarding experience and ministry.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 698
    a) Most of them. I was missing a few who spend time in Mexico during the Christmas season. I also get a couple of former choir members to help out who are unavailable most times for various reasons (health, college).

    b) If I want time off from major feasts, my wife needs to have a baby on or around that particular day.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 827
    MJO, we have 'Christmas Choirs' and 'Easter Choirs' that are much bigger than our normal weekly choirs. Been that way for years.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    From a choral singer's perspective:

    I would love to commit myself to my current parish, an ordinariate one in Texas, as opposed to serving as a festival singer, which is what I did at my last ordinariate parish and as opposed to singing only the summers.

    But there is no vacancy in the choir and quite frankly, no space in the choir loft during the year, having sung there for the summer. Nevertheless, as the Mass times for all the ones with choirs all coincide, I would rather not offer myself to another parish which would take away from my attendance at Our Lady of Walsingham. So, I sit in the pews there. Besides, there are a plethora of opportunities to sing SATB even for the congregation, including sprinkling rite at Eastertide and hymns.

    I enjoy not only our rich liturgy but also the magnificent social life. We have receptions after Evensong, which admittedly for various reasons I was not able to attend last year. Acoustics are excellent. Hospitality when I first arrived there two and a half years ago was marvelous. And the combined cathedral-chancery campus is beautiful to behold. So I am there to stay (as soon as I return to Houston).
  • The Ordinariate's cathedral choir do not take a recess during the summer. In fact, as a recruiting and educational gesture our choirmaster opens the choir to any who may want to come and sing on summer Sundays. The music is chosen to accomodate such an influx, which often increases the number of singers to thirty or more. The cathedral choir itself usually numbers about twenty singers. This offer is only for a number of weeks during the summer and has resulted in a few new members of the regular choir.

    The cathedral also has a Treble Choir, which consists of about thirty children, and a high school choir. Many members of these choirs will eventually (some already have) graduate into the the cathedral choir. If children are taught music from an early age they will be inherently musical and will seek opportunities for singing later in life. We also have the Chorus Angelorum, a semi-professional in residence choir whose purpose is the offering of evensong roughly once a month during the year, except for the summer months..

    We take the ministry of music very seriously throughout the Ordinariate. The treasure spent on music at the cathedral is more than exemplary - it is pphenomenal. We believe very strongly in music as a spiritually powerful offering to God, and an arm of evangelisation.
    Thanked by 2Blaise CHGiffen
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    We take the ministry of music very seriously throughout the Ordinariate. The treasure spent on music at the cathedral is more than exemplary. We believe very strongly in music as a spiritually powerful offering to God, and an arm of evangelisation.


    Speaking for myself, I am a very, very firm believer that the arts can raise one's minds to loftier, ethereal things and keep one's hope grounded in our Lord and King, who we all hope to see at the end of the age.

    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    The treasure spent on music at the cathedral is more than exemplary - it is pphenomenal

    I wish you could teach that philosophy to our beyond cheap Latins.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    I wish you could teach that philosophy to our beyond cheap Latins.

    O Coog.*

    (expression which I use in disgust to keep me from using actual profanity. The cougar, or Coog, is my university mascot in case anyone is wondering)

    I would love more than anything to tell my fellow Latins to appreciate our rich patrimony, for many have devoted their lives to perfecting the fine art of praising His Divine Majesty our King and God. This includes those even in the so-called "Dark Ages" - many of the finest cathedrals were built by the poor - I mention that because modern people often place a competition between service to the poor and making beautiful works.

    I have more to say on that, but I do not wish to derail this topic too much.


    (my screen name, Blaise, is the name of bishop and martyr I venerate)

  • ...my university mascot...
    So! You are a University of Houston alumnus? I believe that at one time they (the sports and team fans [an aside: is 'fan' a shortened form of 'fanatic'?]) kept a real live cougar which they paraded at games. Whether this is still the case I do not know. It could well be.
    Thanked by 1Blaise
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    So! You are a University of Houston alumnus?

    I still plan on returning as funds become available to complete a second baccalaureate degree, and then possibly apply to its medical school. But I love our mascot, as it is a symbol of strength and leadership - a real one, as opposed to the bearkat of Sam Houston State University, which according to its alumni is completely made up.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn