18 July 2006

Tuesday Miscellany

Enter into Jane and Lizzy's Dominican sighting logbook: 19:00, 18 July, St. Patrick's Basilica in Montreal. It's stunning 19th-Century Gothic church, by the way, with lots of little paintings of saints and a few panels left blank for new additions.

Speaking of 19th-Century Gothic, the cathedral in Albany, NY is under rennovation, and it's going to be lovely. But does anyone know what happened to the high altar?

I'd like to pick a quote of the week for last week, but there are so many. My two favorites are probably as follows:

Myron Bretholz, the Jewish bodhran player: "People ask me why I hang out in Irish bars. I tell them, 'Find me a Jewish bar.'"
(Mr. Bretholz is a frequent MC for the Catskills Irish Arts Week concerts, and tells a lot of Jewish jokes. His favorite saying seems to be, "Better Irish music and Jewish comedy than the other way around." I dunno, though; Irish comedy and klezmer can be fun, too.)

The gal next to me at the bar and myself, who had never met before and didn't know the other was Catholic:
"So, what do you do?"
"Well, I'm starting graduate school in music history, but I just finished my bachelor's degree in liturgical music."
"Oh, so you know better than to program 'On Eagle's Wings' for every Mass."

Thought for the week: the Irish song tradition was very close to dying out in the 20th Century. A tale that crops up often among song collectors, especially from the 1930's-1960's, is of trekking out to some lonesome farm and getting several dozen songs out of the gentleman or lady of the house, to the complete surprise of that person's spouse. They didn't sing the songs because they were considered "peasant music" or "rot from the old country" or some such thing, something to be ashamed of rather than to sing out. Thank God for the song collectors, and places like Catskills Irish Arts Week, which truly are "Keeping the Tradition Alive."

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