To Sing Joyfully, with “Glee?” A response.

In Jeffrey Tucker’s eloquent article about identifying the priorities of the reformed liturgy he acknowledges an undisputed truth concerning the principal instrument required for fit praise to God at worship:

Liturgical music is produced by the human voice alone, and we need to embrace liturgical prose rather than someone else’s poetry as the core substance of what we sing. We are about as far apart from this ideal as we’ve ever been, and a major part of the reason is that we no longer believe in our ability to sing anything at all. Forget style and text for a moment and just think about singing in general.

Allow me to caricature that statement with no malevolent intent at all. Jeffrey builds at hat rack with one exact length of peg upon which to hang a specific, ideal hat: liturgical prose. This project “works” in concept quite efficiently, except that while he fabricated his rack, other concepts skulked around, however they were not about the efficiency of the rack, but the nature of hats, that is to say the function and fashion of the hats. Hats representing, of course, singing.

“No one wants to hear me sing!”….Can we somehow arrange to ban those words from the human language? I wonder if this is darn-near universal that people claim that their voices are awful. People are telling themselves that they cannot do something that they can do. If every one of this people were at a party where “Happy Birthday” was being sung, they would all join in (without music, I might add!) and sing the pitches and the text with gusto. That’s singing, isn’t it?

As much as Jeffrey’s kind gesture to the flight attendant makes sense, I think he stretched her reaction into the first of a series of propositions to advance a theory: we are no longer a singing society. At first blush, I didn’t buy his theory on general principle. I mean, using a constant pitched hum to quiet a noisy classroom of choir students, or chanting “Dominus vobiscum” in a crowded nave full of First Communion parents chatting at full bore to the ceiling with the intent, again, to A. quite them; B. focus them; C. remind them they’re in a darned church for cryin’ out loud, well that makes sense. But to suggest that the sky cap, the taxi driver, the secretary and gardener could make this world a better place by breaking out their inner opera singer in the workplace, and then taking their sensible reactions as proof that we no longer sing? The theory’s erroneous. We should have just stuck with the function of the one hat we wish to hang on the one hat rack.

To be sure, these people don’t sound like American Idol, and that’s probably good insofar as Church music is concerned.

Let’s just press “pause” at “American Idol.” Consider that a decade and a half ago who would have imagined that a gargantuan industry would have been founded upon the mere idea that people by the gazillions would weekly tune into a show designed to capitalize on the Warhol principle that there are contenders for genuine stardom in the world of SINGING everywhere in the hinterlands? In point of fact, it almost proves that singers can be found under every rock in the countrysides. To further make my point, I can name this phenomenon in one note: karaoke. (Just think, we once thought “karaoke” was some little cultural oddity happening in Japanese cocktail lounges. Now you can’t walk down Main Street that is bereft of a KARAOKE BAR.) And to belabor my point, how many little burgs everywhere have their own provincial “Deadwood’s Idol” variety extravaganzas?

Oh say can we sing? You betcha, Margie, by the footlights’ early light.
I can’t resist going further, sorry. What also has always been part of the singing culture since time immemorial in America, or at least before Lowell Mason? Choral singing, of course. Like it’s closest academic, co-curricular cousin, team sports, the art form thrives stronger than ever. In my neck of the woods, a mini Bible Belt, no one raises an eyebrow if any of our middle or high school choruses sings repeated sacred songs, In Latin or Hebrew even, in a manner that would make Capella Sixtina red with envy. Put this reality in a petrie dish with singing “reality shows” and you get “GLEE” or better yet, “THE SING OFF.”

Why are people so alarmed by the prospect of singing?

What confounds the issues surrounding the “prospect of singing” isn’t we cannot sing; “Oh, no one wants to hear me sing!” The principle issue is “why would we sing?”

It is not something we make on our own. That leads us to believe that singing is only for the stars and the professionals, people who inspire the awe of large audiences.

But I believe I’ve just illustrated, if not proven, that a great multitude of “us” believe we can be stars, we can be professionals, we can inspire awe in large audiences at the local high school musical!
Jeffrey’s article then lists many scenarios present in affecting the fulcrum of “FACP” (Full, active, conscious participation, or lack thereof.) But those scenarios show only the “effect” of cause and effect at play in those situations.
Let me illustrate why the one hat rack, one type of hat theory cannot serve as a remedy for unwillingness to communal singing. Yesterday afternoon our parish had one of the two annual “Annointing Masses” in the late afternoon. Attendance was at an all time high, near as I could tell.
We chanted the English Introit from Bruce Ford’s TAG as a simple prelude. The congregation, filled with seriously ill, elderly and otherwise infirm people and their caregivers, then rose and belted out that most heretical bane of our Catholic gestalt, “Amazing Grace.” (Don’t go there right now, if you can avoid it please.) The celebrant then cantillated the “In Nomine.” AMEN! They sang. “The Lord be with you.” “AND ALSO WITH YOU!” And so it went throughout the next hour or so. So much so, that our little trio schola (my organist, wife and myself) could gently fold in harmonies to the full throated singing of the congregants, all the way to the final “In Nomine.”
Let me add to this that we have, at our place, gone completely “unplugged” for Lent for both our schola and even our ensemble. It has, as Jeffrey suggests, been a complete revelation and boon. We may never go back to any amplification without a tactical or strategic need. For true chant and choral music it’s perfection. For congregational singing, it also provides a clearer sense of balance between the organ and singers, etc.
The balance of Jeffrey’s article seems to regain its foothold, the hat rack stands tall and the hats fit nicely, “all things being equal.”
But, it is my experience that American catholic worshippers who come to Mass with intent beyond their individual and privatized notions of what constitutes their obligation to “hear Mass sung,” they will respond accordingly and well. I think this reality can be seen at daily Masses more regularly at Sunday Masses. These are intentional communities at worship. This can be seen on Thanksgiving Day Masses. People who take an hour plus to really offer up Eucharist while the bird is basted and roasting, are vibrating in tune to a higher frequency than the casually minded, casually clothed bunch who are thinking about brunch during the Sunday consecrations. The faithful who come to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Mandatum on Holy Thursday, don’t stop chanting “Pange lingua” even if they’re weeping at the “funeral procession” of the sacrificed Lord to the altar of repose. They are purposefully engaged.
I think it would be safe to say that if you’re still reading this, you would count yourself among the perpetually, purposefully engaged. But insofar as being exemplars, enablers or enthusiasts of the singing parishioner, we can only do our calling and tasks to the best of our abilities, and continue to hone our understanding, our will, our humility and our patience that the other aspects and ministers serving the Mass, which we sing (and not sing “at”) will inspire our faithful believers to not even think, when they are blessed with “The Lord be with you,” ….”Oh, no one wants to hear me sing.” Oh yes, there’s at least some One. We call Him Lord.
This response is not meant to contend with Jeffrey’s thrust of prioritization within the reformation of worship practices. In fact, I rather think my observation argues for the efficiency of Dr. Mahrt’s “paradigm” that which is at the center of the orbiting “all things being in equal measure, according to their roles.”

In paradisum-beyond….

About a week ago I received a call from a woman in San Jose. She said she and her siblings were graduates of our parochial school and their mother was active in support roles back in the day. The daughter said her mother was failing in hospice care and she had expressed on prior occasions that, if at all possible, could students from the school contribute musically to her funeral. Somehow she’d heard that we’d revived a bell choir, and would their involvement be possible. The kids had already done their first funeral for a toddler sister of a current first grader, and comported themselves with dignity in every aspect. Upon the elderly mother’s death and notice by her daughter, I called our principal, the class teacher and the pastor. My concern over the use of the bells during Lent was assuaged by the pastor, so we confirmed the choir’s involvement. They already had a significant amount of repertoire appropriate for the processionals and ordinary, but I arranged three additional pieces, including the clip below, for this occasion. They’d only rehearsed this arrangement of mine of “In paradisum” once. So, as you watch and listen, you’ll notice they’re quite fixed upon the music sheets.
But what matters for me, my school colleagues and the pastor, is their inchoate witness to our Catholic Faith and their dedication to fulfill a ministerial role at the funeral of an elderly lady whose only connection was the tendon of tradition of our school. This isn’t perfection, but it gives me hope for paradise for all our sakes.
Sorry the beginning is abrupt. The celebrant mixed up the commendation a bit, so our 8th grade teacher pressed record a nanosecond late.

Some Brief Remarks: Fr. Smith’s Mutual Enrichment Recipe

I thought I’d try a new strategy in modifying my writing style to be much more “Strunk and White,” as my graduate advisor always, yet vainly exhorted me to try. So, succinct and cogent are my goals here.

As Fr. Christopher Smith provided us all a template for one of the stipulated goals of the Holy Father’s Summorum Pontificum, just today Fr. Cody Unterseher provided the readership at PrayTell with the opportunity to state their positive vision as to what constitutes worthy worship at Mass.

We have synchronicity, at long last.

So I will just give bottom line reactions as a pragmatist first, philosopher second to Fr. Smith’s items.

First Stage of Mutual Enrichment-(Fr. Smith’s “preamble.”)

“In this first stage, I see that there are many things that can be done now with no mixing of or change to the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite as currently found in the liturgical books. I also envision some guidance from the Magisterium to point this mutual enrichment in the right direction so as to avoid arbitrariness and to give those priests who respond to the call to mutual enrichment support.”

An interesting observation in the PT article combox cited above, from Scott Pluff , might be appropriate here as a counter-preamble from PT:

“The best quality of architecture, art and environment that the community can muster. Great music, preaching and presiding can still limp in a church that looks and sounds like a 1970s living room.”

This is a church building. Hat Tip to The Crescat.

Well, one must admit that Fr. Smith’s first stage seems premised upon a “tabula rasa” platform, whereas Mr. Pluff does advance a frighteningly real, practical scenario. But now we press on. My remarks to select portions of Fr. Smith’s comments will be in “bleu italics,” as in “sacre bleu!”

Enrichment of the Ordinary Form by the Extraordinary Form

– Bishops in Cathedrals and Pastors in their churches spontaneously adopting the ad orientem position at Mass as implicit in the OF after sustained catechesis of the faithful.
Not a problem for me, personally. But, it bypasses both the Benedictine arrangement and/or the altar crucifix adornment that could be said to be EF enrichments, but more in keeping with the notion of progressive solemnity, or “brick by brick.”

– Reconstruction of altar rails in churches and the spontaneous use of the communion rail as a place from which to distribute Holy Communion.
Problematic on multiple levels for likely many folks, not the least of which pastors burdened with “Mr. Pluff” Rambusch-like buildings, but with pastors who would have to present the simple realities of cost for design, fabrication and installation to even fiscally stable parishes in this era. I won’t restate the obvious about external attributes of mutual enrichment being sold, er….catechized among the laity who will foot the bills.

– Catechesis from the pulpit about the Church’s preference for Holy Communion on the tongue and under one species.
Not “going there” at odds with Fr. Smith on this one. I assume the presumption of the communion rail and a minimalist need for EMHC’s is concomitant here.

– Move towards singing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin at OF Masses.
I think Fr. Smith likely would polish that a bit more, as technically a Latin Ordinary could be set to metrical styles such as, say “calypso” or “conjunto.” So, I presume the extraordinary efforts of many of our CMAA and religious ordered colleagues to finally provide “new, gregorian-inspired chant and actual psalm tone settings, even in a vernacular, pass his muster, depending upon local conditions and personnel.

– Priests, on their own, choosing the options of the OF which are analogous to the EF, and leaving aside those which are not. No comment due to no competence here.

– The spontaneous and consistent use by the clergy of the maniple, biretta, amice.
Why does Fr. Smith add “spontaneous” to consistent as a criteria of enrichment? For many celebrants, donning a short sleeve BLACK clerical blouse with the collar piece before the alb, stole and chasuble is an austere act of obedience in their opinion. How about asking our clerics to don cassocks on Sundays as the “first stage” and be consistent with that under the local deans’ and bishops’ supervision?

– Singing of the Propers according to the Graduale Romanum at Sung Masses.
B-I-N-G-O! But pastors and musicians must also be totally familiar with the hierarchy of musical disciplines, and take great care in their introduction and consistent usage in the clearly stated goals of Tra le sollecitudini” and all subsequent authoritative documents that clearly define the singing roles of congregations, cantors/psalmists, celebrants and scholas/choirs.

– Enforcement of the ecclesiastical discipline on extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
No problem here, theoretically. But we’re going to need a lot of permanent deacons ordained in a couple of decades to be consistent with this demand and the other enrichments Father states above.

I’m sure much of this is a rehash of the many combox reflections in Fr. Smith’s original post. But I offer my practical “take” here on these specific, initial items. End of this commentary of Fr. Smith’s prescriptions, part one.

What If We Just Said “Pray?” Indeed.

There’s an interesting post over at our friend Fr. Anthony Ruff’s PRAY TELL blog in which he gave notice to yet another petition concerning the ecclesial and liturgical scenarios swirling about St. Blog’s with the coming promulgation of the Third Edition of the English Roman Missal. The usual suspects, myself included, have had quite the banter going. But as the combox count nudged to a buck twenty five, these consectutive comments tweaked my attention and the following response. What’s your take?

Why does anybody think that a new translation is going to squelch liturgical innovation? I expect it to increase as priests try to cope with mangled syntax and tongue twister prayers. Lots of earlier accretions were added to fill the void of incomprehensible or unspoken prayer, like encouraging people to pray the rosary during the liturgy.

Not that I am opposed to innovation. I think the whole STBDTR idea is classicism gone wild. It may appeal to some people, but there is a lot of good jazz out there that complements the classical.

Jim McKay on March 28, 2011 – 9:44 am

Creative innovation is to be welcomed — though I agree with Mr Culberth (sic) that bad preaching is a key factor. I do not know what paradise he writes from — in the USA one third of Catholics have left and Garry Wills reports that the heart of the Catholic crisis lies in what is experienced in the sunday liturgy: Ireland is in far more sudden and widespread disarray as are Belgium and Austria. 

Joseph O’Leary on March 28, 2011 – 4:02 pm

“Creative innovation” has never been unwelcomed to be introduced into liturgy, even after the winnowing of Trent. But then, as now, there was a clear clarion that in its ars celebrandi, music being a principle example, that innovation without the disciplines cultivated organically within the ecclesial culture, would inexorably evolve towards an art for art’s sake in equal measure to its decadence and unsuitability at service as a worship art. It was true before Trent with the parody (both profane and benign cantus firmi versions) Masses and the excessive unintelligibility of works by certain composers, and after Trent when the classical Sunday Mass in Vienna was as much an entertainment as liturgy. (IMO, YMMV.) This, predictably, continued in concert with the Enlightenment through to its inevitable clash represented by Pius X’s motu proprio “Tra le sollecitudini.” We’re just in yet other cycle that we prefer to examine with contemporaneous eyes and spectacles. In whatever arena Jos. O’Leary wants to superimpose over the term “creative innovation,” it cannot adequately serve worship without an accompanying discipline to which it must, for worship’s own betterment adhere to.
I don’t worship or write from any liturgical paradise, Mssr. O’Leary. In fact, we are a bishop-less (R.I.P.) diocese in central California; but our parish (cluster) is endowed with sensible yet idiomatically unique celebrants who understand that the liturgy is not to be a trifle, whether merely mouthed from a pulp missalette, or a platform for the exhibition of the cult of personality on display before a “captive audience.” And they understand that the humility involved in cantillating their collects and orations not only compel an active response from the faithful, but will likely be an asset come November 28th.
As I’ve mentioned, I do appreciate (uncharacteristically to my RotR colleagues)  a certain amount of the critiques of Professor Wills. I can’t testify to this, but I would bet that Wills would concur that if Sunday Mass was truly the life-blood nexus of parish life, as advanced by the liturgical theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand, that some of the post-conciliar “Catholic Crisis” so lamented by both traditionalists and modernists as ancillary ecclesial crises in vocations, reproductive and gender issues and clericalist authoritarianism, might have been postively mitigated, and perhaps would have benefited towards remedies by the sheer beauty and power of a fulfilled liturgy performed universally.
(Save the liturgy, save the world. *”G”)
Perhaps that’s a bit pie-eyed.
But I’d also bet Professor Wills would prefer to be fully engaged in FACP and sing the Credo in a well mannered TLM or “DTRSTB” OF, than to bear the distractions of giant paper maché puppets of our Savior and saints parading about in sanctuaries.

What does “creative, liturgical innovation” really mean in our era?

*often misattributed to a famous cleric.

Who’s Been Workin’ on the Railroad?

The Liturgical Marketplace: Will the Big 3 get on board?

The summer before my first colloquium Wendy and I decided to visit relatives in North Carolina. We thought it would be quaint to take Amtrak cross-country via the southern route out of Los Angeles. We pony’d up first class. But we didn’t do our research and prep; Southern Pacific owns the single track from LA through NOLA to Atlanta. So, our train was stymied to side tracks time after time out of deference for freight trains. We made the best of it. Got into NOLA fifteen hours past the scheduled arrival. But us both having had wonderful train experiences throughout Europe caused us to wonder why we couldn’t have enjoyed as efficient and pleasurable journey on American soil via an American icon- transcontinental railroads?

A number of articles and commentary here in the Café, at MusicSacra Forum and elsewhere prompted me, once again, to ponder the economy that provides the artistic resources that serve celebrants, ministers, musicians and congregants at liturgies and devotions. Our friend and colleague Chironomo delivers this dart dead center bulls’ eye regarding worship “materials” and aides:

“The drive is on in many Diocese’ across the country to implement the chants of the Missal beginning next year. Has there ever been an effort like this on behalf of music in the liturgy, at least in recent history? I don’t think so.
My guess is that the likes of OCP and GIA just haven’t caught up yet, as the much more agile on-line community that is supportive of traditional music has outmaneuvered them. While they are trying to figure out how to manage their copyright protections, freely downloadable settings of the new translation are making their way into parishes. OCP and GIA will, of course, get their share of the market….but they haven’t had to face anything like this before and it appears they are either in denial or just slow to act.”

 I think that popularity in this era is worth less than whatever it costs to get one’s Warhol-ian 15 minutes. The denial mentioned above keeps the publishers mired in a perpetual and irrelevant past in which their CD’s and “albums” cannot keep up with either the pace of the delivery medium and the chicanery of their lack of authentic content. How long can an intransient, hide-bound and bloat-burdened system compete in a rapid and, let’s face it, fickle market? Someone “out there” with some modicum of talent and a unique hook can post their tune on YouTube on Thursday and be a “star” by Friday morning. 

Yet, the editorial staffs of the major, nominally Roman Catholic publishers function in some sort of Olympian monarchy, deliberating and deciding which heavyweight champion to keep in the hymnal rotation and which new upstart will get their big break and make the Show. And, of course, that system redounds to the many good people who provide the skills to keep that system working, from the senior managers, middle managers, and support staff.

But that system in American liturgical realpolitik is fixed not unlike a locomotive and its train of cars upon established networks of tracks. The recent film, “Unstoppable,” (about a runaway freight train) portrays an allegorical paradox where the Big Publishers can move large volumes of certain types of cargo, starting very slowly and with caution to make sure they are on the prescribed rail lines, but once they get up to speed they’re more or less held captive to those routes, period. And, God forbid, left unattended will gain momentum enough that could prove devastating not only to their own enterprise, but to the community in which they move. 

The iconic photograph of the moment the last spike was driven conjoining the monopolistic railroad companies (and its ideological import) through the establishment of a transcontinental means of human and freight transport and delivery, corresponds to a moment in a plenum USCCB convention a few winters ago wherein the issue of defining a so-called “white list” of approved hymn texts by the body of American bishops was tabled, and remains thus to this day, to the Sees of Chicago and Portland. And with the highest of regard for both Cardinal George and Archbishop Vlazny, has there been any evidence that there’s been direct oversight by their chanceries over the editorial content of the various organs of their respective publishing companies since that decision? Not really, the contents of the pulp missal/hymnals shift only in small fractional increments yearly, while the cost to both parish budgets and to the non-consolidation of a worthy liturgical repertoire are unwieldy and burdensome, and in effect useless in many regards. 

Through many other media, hundreds of options that are sourced either from the original Roman musical volumes or from new compositional resource centers (such as MusicaSacra, Corpus Christi Watershed and The St. Louis Liturgical Music Center) are literally moving through the airwaves for the taking. It would be foolish not to imagine that other new sources, not necessarily respectful of the Church’s musical patrimony but fashioned out of love for the liturgy are also being shared and distributed outside of the publishers’ network and clout. Again, if those whom some vilify as the “Liturgical Industrial Complex” don’t even ponder these realities, they risk becoming anachronistic antiques that simply parodied the culture of a bygone era. 

Has this ever occurred before so as to have been a lesson of history that could have reminded us not to tread that way again? Well, I have more than a few St. Gregory hymnals collecting dust amid the People’s Mass Books, the St. Basil, the Pius X, the Mount Mary’s, and a number of others that J. Vincent Higgenson spent years cataloguing. And then, among the non-nationalistic of those, English was the only “foreign” vernacular competing with the Mother Tongue.

The contingencies that will continue to vex the stability of any liturgical repertoire, whether at the national, metropolitan, diocesan or parish levels, will likely necessitate the expedience of a subscription-based missal/hymnal resource. There’s nothing to prevent any capable pastor and director of music/liturgy from opting out of that convenience with the abilities to access huge amounts of license-free, tried and culturally true Catholic music, and present it to congregations in “homegrown” hymnals, weekly pamphlets or visually projected forms. But, I personally don’t see a larger benefit to the whole Body of the Church in these individual opt-outs, either in practical or philosophical terms.

What I do see as possible is a scenario that theoretically pleases both progressive and traditional wings of liturgical music leadership, as well as a means by which the expressed vision of the Church that her bishops directly oversee the liturgical praxis and development within their Sees. 

Could not the USCCB/BCL authoritatively mandate all bishops to appoint diocesan councils of qualified musicians and directors according to a set of universal criteria, whose only duty is the collection, deliberation and indexing of a licit and comprehensive diocesan missal/hymnal that would, ideally, be so dutifully and scrupulously reviewed that it would, without question, receive the bishop’s imprimatur and nihil obstat, whether the resource was published by a yearly subscription or as a fixed hymnal by the very same publishers who offer us only their editions? 

I refuse to accept, until it is explained to me why, that the indexing and ordering of local, commissioned editions of paper or hardbound hymnals could not be compiled and indexed by the union of human editors and appropriate software programs. I formerly dubbed this the “boutique” hymnal. But I’m hopeful that a coalition of our hierarchy, the already “geared-up” publishing giants, the local bishops and their collaborative councils and the “boots on the ground” input from parish DM’s would result in a profound shift both towards the observance of universal standards, and the respect and appreciation for worthy additions of new repertoire from various cultural perspectives.

It is simply a fact that the dynamic tensions that are part and parcel of the options for musical expression at service to the liturgy will seem to most everyone involved as being self-contradictory. Gregorian (and other) chant achieving “principle place” (as opposed to the titular “pride of place”) at service will subjectively always be challenged by those who insist upon qualifying that place by citing the “all things being equal” argument. 

But it seems to me that if I were given an opportunity to serve on a diocesan music council whose tangible objective was the creation and dissemination of a valid, valuable local hymnal undertaken by a commission and agreements between dioceses and the PUBLISHERS on a major scale, I’d at least have no one to scapegoat for the paucity of repertoire choices in the one-size-fits-all products that have constituted the musical buffets and cafeterias that were “crafted” in corporate think tanks and labs as being the most generically profitable assortment that was consumer friendly, trendy and kept you wanting something “new and improved” every so often, but that was essentially just a variation or reorganization of the same components. It’s time for our trains to start flying. And I believe that the PUBLISHERS have an infrastructure in place that we could help become more agile, flexible, responsive if they believed in their mandate to truly serve the Church’s best interests in worship, and knew they would keep market share. I’m clearly not advocating returning to the clumsy days of homegrown hymnal making.

In the “Missal chants” thread in which I cite Chironomo’s observation above, an anonymous commenter after him states,

“We have a rare opportunity at this moment in Church history to undo the collateral damage caused by a false interpretation and implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. There is nothing more spiritually powerful than priest and people chanting the Mass, whether in Latin or in the vernacular. That is where one finds both the majesty and simplicity of the Roman Mass.”  

This is the moment that we all must seize, including those who have confined themselves to the tracks and fortresses and economies that will, as all temporal human concerns do, eventually decay or become obsolete and irrelevant. I don’t wish that upon anyone affiliated with our Church, including the good souls working within “the complex.”

AVE VERUM CORPUS by Charles Culbreth

I hope you don’t mind if I post this setting, as I made the horrible misjudgment in trying to have this piece sight-read at my first CMAA Colloquium. It wasn’t an error in that everyone in D.C. Shrine at the session was in fine sight reading form throughout the session. I just was so nervous, and the piece alternates between chant-like counterpoint and German romanticism, that it was a daunting thing to attempt when you don’t know the terrain. I’m still so naive. I do remember that David Hughes was so supportive and complimentary.
Anyway, this is how it should sound, albeit this amounts to a “studio” recording. I’d be glad to share it upon request.
Blessings, enjoy and cheers.
PS. I offer this sharing in the name of the souls of the dead and suffering in Japan.


We have met them, And we are them!

One has to admire curmudgeons. Whether they’re the truly crusty ones as exemplified by Walter Brennan as “The Real McCoy,” or the blustery windbags like Archie Bunker. You can easily fall in love with them. Who didn’t love Art Carney as Harry making his elephant walk journey with cat Tonto in tow? Then comes….Horace Rumpole, or for that matter, any character Leo McKern’s ever inhabited. They can become a cottage industry, on the other hand, for good such as Ed Asner’s forlorn widower in “Up,” or as the ridiculous, scatological William Shatner character on “@#$% My Father Said” that is, if anything, a capitulation to Beavis/SouthPark consumerist zombies.
Well, wake up and if you’ve never met this priest, you should now. Invite him into your daily routine as if he were Orson Welles coming to dinner and taking up residence in your bed.

The fetichising of Vatican II distracts attention from the real and significant and valuable actions of the Roman Magisterium, which deserve so very much better than the sneers directed at them by illiterate fools. Humanae vitae and Ordinatio sacerdotalis, slender volumes, are worth more than all the paper wasted at Vatican II. Documents of the CDF, keeping up with the errors proposed in areas of ethics by the World’s agenda, represent the locus to which perplexed modern Catholics should turn for teaching and guidance.