3 November 2014

Some thoughts on yesterday's music

I sang yesterday for All Souls' Day. I wrote to a cousin and mentioned that I would be singing at Mass. He wrote back that it would be better if I thought of it as singing the Mass.

Yesterday we went outside of the usual hymnal for much of the Mass. The ordinary of the Mass was a dreadful piece of writing and I would gladly get rid of it if I could, replace it with the Jubilate Deo Mass at least. We're all supposed to know that one by now. But I am stuck with that for the foreseeable future. I tend to focus mainly on the music over which I have some control. With that in mind, I sang the Introit of Requiem Aeternam, the offertory O God Our Help in Ages Past, Communion Jesu Dulcis Memoria, and the recessional was In Paradisum. I also intoned the Communion Antiphon, and sang the Solemn tone Salve Regina for the cleansing of the vessels. That was a spur of the moment thing. There isn't always time for a post communion piece, so I've taken to having something on hand just in case.

I hope I did the music justice. People sometimes tell me they like my voice, but I've managed to convince myself that I am really terrible and they are merely being polite. I still have in my ears something my singing teacher said a few months back: "You know you're not a very good singer, right?" Thanks, coach. The singing lessons cause other issues in themselves. Every time I go my teacher isolates and works on one aspect of my voice, and tells me to work on it until the next lesson. A few months ago I was singing in a way that favoured the upper part of my range, with a high and light tone. Now I am singing down in the bass range, heavy and dark. It'll have to stay that way for a while. I lost some hours at work so money is tight yet again, and I won't have the extra cash for lessons this month. Another month of pasta.

I had hoped I might be able to make a little money from my singing at Church. I should have known better. Catholics pay money? Ha Ha. At this stage, even if they offered me money I couldn't in good conscience take it. The bulletin publishes the weekly collection. We average about $1600-$1800. How can I even think of taking anything from that pittance?

Because this week was rather heavy on the Latin, We decided around Thursday to print off the texts with parallel translations so the congregation would know what what the words meant. Puff handed out the printouts to the congregation as they were coming in. She had just two reactions. One was from a couple.

Couple: What's this?

Puff: It's the words to the music that'll be sung at Mass today. We're singing some things that aren't in the CBWIII.

Couple: Good. We don't like the music in the CBWIII.

The other reaction came from an elderly woman whom I used to refer to as "my fan club".

Elderly woman: What's this?

Puff: It's the words to the music that'll be sung at Mass today. We're singing some things that aren't in the CBWIII.

Elderly woman: Pfui.

I think I may have lost her as a fan. That leaves Mom, I guess.

On the whole, those were the only reactions I got to the music. In my own inadequate way I am trying to follow the recommendations of Vatican II: the treasury of Sacred Music is a treasure beyond compare, and we are to use it in the fullest possible way. All other things being equal, Gregorian Chant is to have pride of place. That sort of thing. I don't know what I expected when I started doing this. Some opposition, or perhaps some support? A little of both? What I didn't expect is an almost complete indifference.

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