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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard?

Posted this as a response to Amy Welborn's question, "What Did You Hear?" The gerneral format is to indicate which Masses and where you attended.

Thought I'd "re-purpose" what I wrote here. I think I'd read one too many complaining comments when I responded...
-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a
southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area, so I got to hear from Matthew, Luke and John this weekend.

As one of the volunteer musicians in our Parish, I sang at 5 PM and 11 AM Masses here. On Christmas Eve, the larger choir (with multiple guitars, keyboard, & flute) came to the 7 PM Mass, so we had a smaller ensemble here at 5 PM. Musicians were 2 guitars, trumpet, keyboards and vocals by soprano, alto and contralto.

I've sung for many years in far larger churches with professional choir directors and large numbers of professional-caliber instrumentalists, so I can understand the longing for more "exalted" music that is often expressed in comments to {Amy's] blog, especially for those who strongly dislike the folk/guitar style. I would just like to add that, unless some of those disgruntled folks volunteer to play and or sing or direct, it might be nice to "cut some slack" to those who do try and offer musical leadership as we all lift our voices to praise God.

That having been said, we did lots of carols at the Masses in our Parish, not for lack of any other resources, but because it's Christmas, folks! We've got a pretty loose group of musicians here, so folks who show up get to sing. I don't know how the vocal balances were at either Mass, but Fr. seemed to appreciate having folks showing up to sing, including his special request of Mary, Did You Know?

Sunday AM we began to think that there might just be two of us in the "choir" until a couple more guys showed up and agreed to sing. We had 2 tenors (one on the 12 string) and one bass, with all the guys mostly covering melody, and me, the alto. The smaller, mostly international crowd (over 50% from India) sang along enthusiastially and one young lady came up afterwards and offered to join us next Sunday.

Of course, Midnight Mass in the cathedral-sized church with the processing choir, professional organist, cantors, etc., was truly glorious and I'm so glad I went. I'm used to helping lead music, so it was quite interesting that I found myself seated directly behind a large pillar, so that my vocals bounced back directly to me, and could be heard by no one else. I couldn't help but think that, for once, I was singing only to God. What a great "audience" for Christmas!

Interesting final note: Amy's piece in the NRO made an impression on our Padre, who used it in both of the homilies I attended.

Merry Christmas from me & Izzy!

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