Elgar and Corpus Christi 2024
  • RomanticStringsRomanticStrings
    Posts: 339
    For those who celebrated Corpus Christi on Sunday, it happened also to fall on Edward Elgar's birthday. My wife and I used Elgar's setting of Ave verum corpus as a prelude and again in the church for those who couldn't join the Eucharistic procession after Mass. A happy confluence.

    We did not join the procession because we have no good way to coordinate music. What methods do you use if you are able to do so?
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 560
    We did not join the procession because we have no good way to coordinate music. What methods do you use if you are able to do so?


    By this, do you mean that the choir/congregation have trouble staying together when singing in procession? If so, this year we stuck the choir at the rear of the procession instead of the head. It helped tremendously with keeping everyone together, and communication was easier as well. We sang from a program and had hymnals on hand for backup repertoire, if that's relevant. Apologies if I've misunderstood your question.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,059
    I'm not Elgar, but if we're doing people because their birthdays fall on June 2...
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 430
    I've tried having the choir at the front, at the back, split between the two, sprinkled throughout the congregation, etc. and have come to the conclusion that it's nearly impossible to keep a congregation together singing-wise when they stretch in procession for a city block or more. Choir members aren't spread out that far in normal situations because they need to be able to hear each other, so how can we expect that of mostly-untrained congregants? In the end, I emphasize that we're singing to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In the church, people can just pick up wherever we are; outside, encourage people who can't hear/follow what's being sung to unite their hearts to what is being sung, even if they aren't outwardly doing so for whatever reason.

    All that said, this was my first Corpus Christi procession at the parish I'm currently at, and the route we walked took us in part through the school campus with buildings all around, which provided a bit of acoustical help for the choir and, therefore, the people.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,976
    The one utility of percussion instruments in devotional singing is outdoors in processions: a handbell (or more) can function like a drum to help keep people together on very steady melodies - e.g., this is a context where using "ST THOMAS" (Wade) can be more successful than insisting that only the chant melody be used; they could be alternated between choir and people.
  • WGS
    Posts: 299
    Has anyone tried using a brass ensemble? A procession is not a march, but many brass players have had marching band - out of doors - experience. - Two or three trumpets plus a euphonium or trombone, etc. can make a lot of coordinated "noise".
    Thanked by 1FSSPmusic
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,023
    As I mentioned in another thread, we have bagpipes. To be quite honest, I'm not quite sure about the liceity, but it's nice. The schola stays behind the priest (or when we have things correctly organized, the professed religious and first communicants) so as to keep from getting lost. We sing the O Salutaris (DUGUET, since they're normally working from just text, and that's what we use on Thursdays most of the year), then after a brief moment, we begin the procession with a couple (up to four) verses of Pange lingua (chanted by the men alone), then the pipes take over, and when we return, the schola intones the Tantum ergo, which the people know fairly well. (Due to our situation, everything is outside, even the exposition.) We even managed two verses of "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" without a repeat at the end of the verses (some people sang quarter notes, others the customary eighth notes, but it worked out, and I heard one of the men singing the bass part as it was…)

    For our Assumption procession, we sing the litany of the BMV (the first, what I consider more common tone from the Liber Usualis), and the litany of the Saints is sung for the Rogation procession. Both are along the same route which takes about fifteen minutes to walk, and we don't do any stations along the way.

    In those cases, the schola sings from behind the priest as well, and what I find most important is to observe a pause between the invocation and the response… otherwise, you're going to overlap and it's really ugly even for people just behind the schola, never mind at the back. But it's much easier to hear singing of any kind far away than an unamplified, spoken rosary…
  • davido
    Posts: 891
    I was going to try the marching brass this year, but ran out of steam and couldn’t get it organized. Maybe next year.

    I like the bagpiper option. Would be appropriate for our Irish heritage: St Patrick’s. Couldn’t find one on late notice tho