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Church music musings

At the organ recital at St. Mark's last night, I briefly cornered the artist (as I was feeding him Snacky Bits) and burbled about how much I had really loved dropping in at Solemn Vespers at the Shrine of St. Francis in North Beach, where he had directed the schola, because the music was out-of-this-world.

His face fell because ... the church fired the choir.

I tried to back out of this as best I could, but I was really peeved about it. I went into the kitchen to vent. The director of music was in there, enjoying some of the Snacky Bits we reserved for him, and I said (after the "Boy, did I put my foot in it), "My nephew is Roman Catholic. I wanted to take him there and say "THIS is your musical heritage as a Roman Catholic." G. nodded, and I continued "But now it will just have to be "We're keeping it warm for you"".

Got a "you said it, sister" sort of affirmative noise from the peanut gallery.

I think it's my Meffodist upbringing that gets me kind of exercised about it. I learned to sing my theology in Sunday school. If "lex credendi, lex orandi" is a Very Anglican Keyphrase (figurative translation, "If you want to know what we believe, observe how we worship"), my upbringing would substitute whatever the Latin of the correct tense is for "to sing" for "orandi" as a Reasonable Methodist Alternative.

(Da Sheepy and Da Wabbit are welcome, of course, to kick my ass. I will say that I was only ten when I left, so we weren't doing heavy-duty stuff.)

As a side note, for locals interested in fine music, the SF Schola Cantorum will be performing Tallis' "Spem in alium" (with additional bodies to get the forty voices) at St. Mark's on Saturday evening. I'm on call this week, but I think I'll risk it.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, that's sad!
It is very sad, and I totally agree with the sheep on this. Which is one of the reasons I have such a huge issue with not using as many traditional hymns in favor of "praise choruses". Where is the theology? Where is the content? Verses? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Charles Wesley is spinning in his grave...
Oct. 10th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
the church fired the choir.

Budget problems?

Grrrrrrr. How can a very important part of the liturgy just...get fired?
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
Well, the way I heard it was this....The bishop went to Rome to fill the New Pope's former post and since he was the one that supported the choir, when he left, the money went out the window......
Oct. 10th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
Spem in Alium!!

OMG!! Officially jealous!!
Oct. 10th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
Draw drop moment -- that choir were great! You'll just have to take neph to Mary Margaret's instead, where the Pacific Collegium sing at the Trid Mass and are very good too.

BTW, I'm planning on going Saturday night too -- one of my friends is one of the "extra bodies".
Oct. 10th, 2006 04:25 am (UTC)
Excellent - see you there barring system emergencies requiring my healing hands. (The Pacific Collegium is "the other bodies". I was not recalling the organization's name.)

Yeah, George said "oh, that was a long time ago" but it wasn't that horribly long since you visited St. F's. More recent than I did, but what Susan says makes sense. New big guy, new priorities.

Thanks for the tip about Our Lady of the Latin Mass. I'm hoping to get some musical time in with the kid from the Methodist side of the family, as well (which St. Mark's would also usually be happy to provide him) ;-).
Oct. 10th, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
Damn. That was a really good choir when we visited, and really represented the tradition well. I told my choir "you have to visit to see how it's done" and now I guess that's a lost one as well.

I will try to make it Saturday - 'spam with garlic' is a major favorite of mine...
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
Fired the choir? What happened--did they violate the rubric that Catholic music must be dull and uninspiring?
Oct. 10th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
Hey, Mike!
I thought I recognized that foot. I thought someone's stolen his foot! Then I checked you out. I guess I missed that you had changed your name. I will add you again!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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