12 September 2006

Church Search

Well, I've pretty much ended my parish search. I didn't find a place that does chant, but I did find a place where the choir is pretty decent and they sing mostly decent music. Last week we sang some unmemorable processional and recessional hymns and Christopher Walker's Gaelic Mass (when I see that title, I always want to ask why it's not in Gaelic--Irish or Scottish--if it's the Gaelic Mass?), but also the Agnus Dei from Palestrina's Missa Tu es Petrus, Herbert Howell's "Like as a Hart," and Byrd's "Civitatis sancti tui" (or civitatis something or other, anyway, about the destruction of Jerusalem).

The organist is more than competent, and as he's a countertenor, he sings alto on the motets. He has kindly agreed to give me lessons, quoting a much better price than I'd pay at the school, plus I'm probably going to get to practice at the church, and I'll have no competitors for practice time other than the daily Masses and school Masses and occasional weddings and funerals. I haven't examined the organ yet so I don't know what I'll have to work with, other than that it has real pipes, is as close to in tune as one can expect an organ to be, and can make a really big sound--meaning it's probably going to give me a lot more practice with registration than the practice organ at Gonzaga or even the one here would.

The parish is staffed by the Paulist Fathers. Like most religious-order-run parishes, this means that you never quite know what you're going to get at Mass or hear in a homily. The church building is also pretty ugly, though the stained glass windows are all right. The east wall of the church looks like concrete with bits of broken, colored glass embedded in it, giving a bizarre glittering effect that I don't like and don't understand the point of. But, I apparently can't expect everything. I can have either a pretty church, or pretty music, or a really good homilist, so I went for the one with the music, because bad music is much, much more annoying to me than the rest.

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