26 May 2006

Conference on Chant

As Mr. Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement points out, the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary have some conferences on music coming up. Particularly of interest to readers of this blog will be the conference entitled "Pride of Place: Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy", which will take place September 17-19.

Once they put more information about the conference on their website, telling you this will probably blow my cover, but I'll say it anyway: Dr. Schaefer has asked me, along with one of my classmates, to lead the track for beginners. The conference in 2004 was very informative, very prayerful, and very fun--there's nothing quite like being in a beautiful place with beautiful weather singing beautiful music with 70 like-minded people from all over the U.S.--so I'm really, really looking forward to it. I hope you all can come too!

25 May 2006

This is a pretty cool building. My parents took me there yesterday, for just a bit, because my mom wanted to show my the grounds. The grounds are lovely, but it was the building that enchanted me. Sadly, we didn't have enough time to taste wine, but I've been promised that we'll go back another day (21 years old for nearly six months, a resident of Napa, and I still haven't been wine-tasting!).

14 May 2006

To the Sound of Bagpipes and Drums...

...Lizzy and I processed into the Spokane Arena this morning, with 950 of our classmates (yeah, that was a lot of hands for Fr. Spitzer to shake). Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees were given to five people--Archbishop Brunett of Seattle, Fr. Patrick Twohy, S.J. (for his inspiring service to the Native American communities of Eastern Washington and Idaho), and three other folks for services rendered to the university (primarily monetary, I believe). Fr. Twohy gave a speech, which contained several interesting stories but the point of which I was never able to make out, and the president of the student body association gave a speech, and Fr. Spitzer gave a speech, and Archbishop Brunett gave the opening and closing "invocations", which I guess is the new fancy term for prayers.

Of these, Fr. Spitzer's speech was by far the best, in terms of cohesiveness, organization, and content...but it was an awful lot like one we've heard him give before. We think that's ok, though; if you give really excellent, impassioned speeches, it's probably all right if you've only got about five speeches that you rotate through depending on the occasion. Fr. Spitzer speeches have a lot of content, too, so it's ok to hear them more than once, like reading a good book more than once--you catch things you didn't catch last time.

For the tat-minded among you, there were of course lots of impressive academic robes--I particularly enjoyed seeing one fellow wearing Stanford's red and blue doctoral robes, which are quite different in style from the typical academic regalia, and Fr. Mossi's Doctor of Theology red velvet--and Archbishop Brunett was smartly attired in his appropriate academic attire, sans biretta but including the ferraiolo, which I'd never seen in person before. (See this page for some pictures of the ferraiolo and clerics in abito piano--academic attire.)

We didn't get our actual degrees today. Those come in the mail later. Today we got nice leather covers for the degrees, which contain what amounts to an ad for the alumni association ("In case the $100k you just forked over wasn't enough, send a check to the Alumni Association!"). The walk across the stage is a bit of a blur, since, there being 952 of us, we had to move along pretty quickly. We're very proud that neither of us (both tend to be a little clumsy) tripped or fell or otherwise embarassed ourselves. We had lunch with our families afterwards at the local Irish pub which had been our hangout sophomore year. A lovely, but very tiring day.

08 May 2006


...is on Sunday. Lizzy and I picked up our caps, gowns, hoods, sashes, and tassels today. I managed not to cry.
Blinking back tears

The Last Time

Smoke spirals skywards,
Beautiful bells tintinnabulate,
Vividly victorious vestments
Coruscate on courtly clergymen,
Ceremonious chanting colors
Lavish liturgy.

I look lachrymosely
On the splendid summation;
Sundays are now silent.

Today was the last Chant Mass of the school year, and my last with the Schola. I'm glad to be graduating, but I regret having to leave the Schola behind; they are my sisters and brothers, and the music we sang together changed my life.
Meme Time

From Mixolydian Mode:

Grab the nearest book.
Open it to page 161.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

There aren't actually five sentences on the page, but the fifth thing punctuated with a period is: "M. J. E. Senn, Masters and Pupils, aduiotapes of lectures by Lawrence S. Kubie, Jane Loevinger, and M. J. E. Senn, presented at meeting of the of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, March 1973 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974)."

It's an example of the form for a note citing a sound recording, from A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Sixth Edition by Kate L. Turabian--the style manual I'm obliged to use for my thesis.

The next nearest book provides the following (I'm counting the half-sentence at the top of the page as 1): "'Fifty points from Gryffindor for lateness, I think,' said Snape." (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince--not my copy but my apartment mate's. As I have temporarily moved my laptop to the living room, there is stuff belonging to other people around too. The next nearest book belonging to me is the library copy of Brideshead Revisited, but it only offered "I happen to know," which is not very interesting.)

06 May 2006

An Argument in Favor of No Music

I never thought I'd say this, but I've come across an argument in favor of not having music at Mass--but only because of special circumstances, mind you.

Last Saturday, CatholicNerd and I were in charge of music for a Mass at parish which normally doesn't have music for Saturday evening Masses, but wanted music for that one because there had been a retreat at the parish that day. We were practicing a hymn outside the front door, so as not to disturb those praying inside. A couple walked up to the door, noticed us, and the lady--startled--asked, "Is there going to be music at this Mass?" We confirmed that there would be, and she and her husband mubled to each other about going to Mass on Sunday morning instead, after which it was apparently decided that she'd stay for Mass and he'd come back and pick her up later.

Somewhat insulted, I said in what I thought was a reassuring manner, "We're not that bad, I promise." (The priest--relatively new to the parish--had told me that due to the very bad music under past regimes, his parishoners had opted for no music at all, at any of the Masses, at least on a regular basis.) The lady again looked startled, but said, "Oh, no, it's not that. My husband has a problem with his ears and any music, but especially the organ, causes him pain. We're so grateful that there's usually not music here, because this year was the first time in ages that he's been able to go to Mass on Christmas and Easter."

It had never occurred to me that people could have an ear problem such that music caused them pain, although I've heard that if you have tinnitus (ringing in the ears), accidentally hearing the tone at which your ears ring can cause the ringing to become temporarily or permanently worse. Perhaps this is the problem that the man has, or maybe it's something else, but either way, isn't it somewhat unfair that if there's music at every Mass, someone who has such an uncorrectable physiological problem can't really come to Mass? If there's no such person in your parish, fine, have music all the time, but I would hope that if a pastor was approached by a person with such a problem, he'd be willing to accomodate. And this is where the flexibility of the Roman rite is a good thing (versus many of the Eastern rites, in which no one can concieve of not singing--normally a good thing, but in this case, not so much).

02 May 2006

Don't Forget!

Gonzaga Choir Camp 2006 is still taking registrants. All you high schoolers, please consider adding this week of faith, fun, and beautiful music to your summer schedule!