New Bigelow Tracker Organ Installation
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    It's good to hear some options. I have an aging - make that aged - choir and am trying to get some new folks. People are so busy and over-scheduled it is difficult to get them to commit to practices and Sundays. Did I mention there is no money to hire anyone?
  • Alas, Charles, long gone are the days when church was the circumference and centre of people's lives. Their social lives and their service and activites were all about their church. My parents always sang in the parish choir and nothing could conceivably keep them from it... plus all their other activities were centred on the church. There are still people like that, but they are but a shadow of what was. It is a global phenomenon, isn't it. The Poles, once fiercely Catholic, now find other attractions and loyalties since the Church is not necessary as a counterforce to the communist tyrants. And the Irish, now that they are free of an outside threat, they give mere lip service, if that, to the Church. It's the same everywhere. And, sometimes, as in the recent sex scandals, the Church is its own worst enemy - more concerned with avoiding scandal than in cultivating holiness and ridding itself of evil. (But, I have digressed, haven't I). Choir and church are no longer the joyful source of life for increasing numbers of people.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • One of the first persons to respond to an ad in a print newspaper was a buxom woman, of a "certain" age, who auditioned with a solo part from the Gounod St. Cecelia Mass, which she had sung in the RC Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt! I did not ask her back.
    Another memorable audition was a teenager, mathematician, Jewish, with a Sephardic name, who had absolute pitch. She sang with us for quite a while. Her mother came to a rehearsal one hot Saturday, revealing the 7-digit tattoo on her arm from the concentration camp in Auschwitz!
    How many Catholic choirs have this kind of history?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,229
    I believe that the situation you mention re Proulx and Holy Name Cathedral had to do with his suffering a heart attack and his retirement. Just another situation of the type we encounter.
  • I find it interesting that late-19th c Masses tend to survive in the repertoire at the geographical peripheries. Whenever one finds one on YouTube, it's from Taiwan or Indonesia.
  • Although London is such a large city, with an unbroken tradition of superlative choral singing, that one can occasionally find a Gounod Mass, or the Puccini Messa di Gloria, performed, not with orchestra necessarily.
    Places where one might encounter 19th c. Masses are the Brompton Oratory, St. James, Spanish Place, the Jesuit Church, Immaculate Conception, and the super-high church Anglican places like All Saints, Margaret Street, St. Mary's, Bourne Street, or St. Magnus the Martyr, in the financial district of the City. Bruckner double choir, with brass, one almost never encounters anywhere.
    But in those places, the bulk of the repertoire was and remains the Masses and motets from the Renaissance period. A paid choir of 12-14 people can sing most of that repertoire, and there are many small paid choirs in Greater London.
  • Right. You're talking Bruckner and Rheinberger. I'm talking the likes of Turner, Korman, or La Hache

    Asia: where cheesy parish Masses go to die.

    Speaking of St. Magnus the Martyr, here they are doing a Paolo Giorza Regina Coeli
  • The Korman is a real find! Fabulous, and Xmas eve, no less. "O come, all ye faithful" as a Kyrie. In my worst moment, I could never have imagined such a thing.
    That Regina Coeli is an utter piece of trash. Great, if you like church music from the garbage can. And performed in a fancy church, where the ceremonies completely eclipse those of the Sistine Chapel.
  • There's a story, sometimes attributed to Ronald Reagan, about a boy who is given a roomful of manure for Christmas, which he accepts with joy, because "With all this stuff here, there has to be a pony somewhere." I've been looking for the pony in pre-V2 music. I've found a few big dogs that could hunt, but no ponies yet. and a lot of manure.
    Posts: 175
    ghmus: Proulx's heart attack occurred a couple of years after he left Holy Name. He was in Salt Lake City for an extended stay with the newly formed Madeleine Choir School when it he became ill. However, his frustrations at Holy Name may well have contributed to the health factors which led to the attack.
  • Proulx gave me my first ever professional choral singing job, at Holy Name Chicago in the 80's. His dream was to see that gallery organ completed, it took years of planning. My understanding was that he was very crushed that, in the end, the acoustics turned out to be so bad (with carpeting retained instead of removed) and he thence decided to retire from the cathedral. There were no doubt other reasons too. He never found it easy being there but he certainly elevated the music program to a new height.
    Thanked by 1MBW
  • Wonder why they could, and did, raise the millions of $$ for one of the largest Flentrops ever built, and then put it into a large cathedral with an acoustic of a clothes-closet.
    If an organ that expensive had gone into a room with manifold acoustical deficits, I, too, would have found a reason to leave---sooner, rather than later.
    At some point in one's life, one gets tired of fighting the system of musically illiterate clergy, who, most times, are their own worst enemies.
    Posts: 175
    The then pastor of Holy Name Cathedral had hired Proulx and given him the support to revamp the music program and build it into one of the best in the country. He purchased the two manual Casavant. The gallery Flentrop was purchased for an amazingly reasonable price (not millions). The money was the gift of one parishioner, Alice O'Malley Robinson who, at the pastor's suggestion, gave the organ in memory of her husband. Mrs. Robinson was present when the organ was played for the first time - on her 100th birthday!

    Back to acoustics. Even though the parish obviously valued sacred music and was willing to spend and raise a great deal of money to pay for it, they never really understood how critical good acoustics are for sacred music. So, in the early 90's when the carpet needed to be replaced, the parish opted to go with more carpet. Proulx and many others had strongly lobbied the powers that be, but they were ignored.
  • Sounds like a scene from a Fellini movie, specifically, "Roma"!
    Only in America could these absurd things come together.