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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Ain't Down Yet*

First things first: Welcome to my reader in the Sultanate of Oman! I don't get too many readers from Muslim/Arab countries, but you're free to leave your opinions, good, bad or indifferent, in the comments section.  Welcome, too, to Israel and to Mauritius! We're up to readers in 44 countries now.  Keep on plugging in, keep on commenting!

This will be brief.
I'm 2.5 years out of Library School. I've submitted nearly 300 applications all over the country.
I can't even get a job in my adopted home town of Norristown, Pennsylvania. What added insult to injury is that the woman in charge of hiring for that hometown position, where I started my career with five years ago as a volunteer, sent me an impersonal form letter stating that others with "lot of experience" (sic) were considered ahead of me.

A few years ago I purchased a 250-count package of coffee filters.  I remember joking at the time that if I didn't have a job by the end of the filters, I'd quit looking.

I'm not giving up yet. I'm not out of coffee filters...but the package is starting to look empty.

This will probably be the penultimate post, The last post on this blog will be entitled"Land of Hope and Glory", which as many in the English-speaking world will know as the opening line of the lyrics for Pomp and Circumstance March #1 by Edward Elgar, the ubiquitous graduation march. What I'm graduating to, who knows?  Stay tuned...

*--Meredith Willson, from The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1960.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

You Can't Always Get What You Want (part 2)

As promised, here's that list of "Four-hymn Sandwiches" for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time through Christ the King Sunday.  If you order now, there's a bonus--a set for Thanksgiving Day (USA) which falls between CTK and the 1st Sunday in Advent.  Enjoy, comment, argue, but most of all--SING!!!

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From all that dwell below the skies (DUKE STREET) (#502)
Be Thou My Vision (#468)
Taste and See (#396)
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (#504)

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Creatures of Our God and King (#499)
Beautiful Savior (#461)
What Wondrous Love is This (#437)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The King of Love My Shepherd Is (#440)
Prayer of St. Francis (#426)
Gift of Finest Wheat (#388)
The Church’s One Foundation (#436)

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All People that On Earth Do Dwell (#372)
Amazing Grace (#519)
Cry of the Poor (#551)
Now Thank We All Our God (#456)

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

O God, Our Help in Ages Past (#528)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (#312)
Taste and See (#396)
For All The Saints (#306)

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Creatures of our God and King (#499)
We Walk By Faith (#507)
Taste and See (#396)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Come, Christians, Join to Sing (#498)
Holy, Holy, Holy (#295)
Pan de Vida (bilingual) (#398)
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (#538)

Feast of All Saints

For all the Saints (#306)
Blessed are They (#478)
What Wondrous Love is This (#537)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The King of Love My Shepherd Is (#440)
Abide with Me (#565)
We Walk By Faith (#507)
Sent Forth By God’s Blessing (#548)

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I know that my Redeemer Lives (#263)
We Will Rise Again (#523)
Eat This Bread (#400)
All People That On Earth Do Dwell (#372)

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (#315)
Crown Him With Many Crowns (#311)
At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (#273)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (#487)

Thanksgiving Day

For the Beauty of the Earth (#457)
Beautiful Savior (#461)
Our Blessing Cup (#391)
 From All That Dwell Below the Skies (#502)

Again, I am not doing this for the purpose of tweaking my DOM's nose or embarrassing him--but because I'm tired of the disconnect.  I hope that he takes my suggestions and starts improving his choices for our parish. Rest assured that I will keep you abreast of any developments.


You Can't Always Get What You Want (pt. 1)

Note to self: Start a new blog on Church music.

I was beyond THRILLED when I checked in on PRISM's numbers for the last few days.  I've clearly been preaching to the wrong choir with the wrong message. That it took one slow-cooking rant to bring it on isn't important. What IS important is that I may have just found my audience.

To fill in the uninformed:  my last post described a scene and situation at my home parish.  I told my DOM that I would provide him a list of hymns I preferred to do.

Using OCP's extremely helpful (quit laughing, it is very helpful) Music Finder online, I was able to compile a "four-hymn sandwich" for each weekend, feast, and solemnity in the Heritage Missal between the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Christ the King Sunday. I know, ideally we're supposed to be using antiphons, chant, etc., but one step at a time).  In some cases , I was able to search by Scripture passage for the readings and responses; others, I had to take a more broad theme for the readings, Some weekends were extraordinarily difficult, others, not so much.

Here's 14 OT through 24 OT, inclusive. Tell me what you think.  I'm not going to get all thin-skinned on you; in fact I may even get feisty.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

O God, Our Help in Ages past (#528)
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (#262)
Taste and See (#396)
Sent Forth by God’s Blessing (#548)

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (#315)
The King of Love my Shepherd Is (#440)
Pan de Vida (bilingual) (#395)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (#312)

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Church’s One Foundation (#436)
Seek Ye First (#525)
I heard the voice of Jesus say (#439)
Rejoice, the Lord is King (#308)

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (#487)
Christ, be our light (#517)
Blest Are They (#478)
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (#438)

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

O God, our help in ages past (#528)
Seek Ye First (#525)
Pan de Vida (bilingual) (#395)
Praise to the Lord (#487)

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I Sing the Mighty Power of God (#460)
Faith of our Fathers (#509)
Gift of Finest Wheat (#388)
For All the Saints (#306)

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The King of Love My Shepherd is (#440)
God, We Praise You (#480)
Gift of Finest Wheat (#388)
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (#504)

Assumption BVM (August 14/15)

Immaculate Mary (#320)
Sing of Mary (#326)
I Received the Living God (#383)
Hail holy Queen (#328)

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

All People that on Earth do dwell (#372)
Holy, Holy, Holy (#295)
I Received the Living God (#383)
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (#482)

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

God, We Praise You (#480)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (#439)
Lead Me, Lord (#479)
Praise to the Lord (#487)

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I know that My Redeemer Lives (#263)
How Firm a Foundation (#303)
I Received the Living God (#383)
Praise to the Lord (#487)

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (#438)
We Walk by Faith (#507)
One Bread, One Body (#381)
Rejoice, the Lord is King (#308)

In the interest of full disclosure, yes, this list probably sounds Lutheran because I grew up in the LCMS. We used the red 1941 hymnal (and the blue one before that).  You can take the boy out of the LCMS but you can't take the LCMS (completely) out of the boy--but I would sleep better knowing that I gave my fellow Catholics better music to sing at Mass.

25OT to Christ the King Sunday to follow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Way It Is*

Many of you know that in addition to being a musician, teacher, and librarian, I'm a long-suffering church musician. Within the last year or so, I joined a Facebook page called "I'm fed up with bad church music" where contributors tell their own horror stories of bad clergy/parishioners/music/composers/etc. The current project that I'm completing for my DOM may present a microcosmic look into what we're up against:

I went up to my DOM Sunday morning after seeing what hymns he'd chosen and told him that I was tired of doing the same old same old, month in and month out. He complained to me that (ordinary time) wasn't a good time to introduce new hymns--as if Nicaea (Holy Holy Holy) Old Hundredth (All People that on Earth do Dwell), Italian Hymn (Come thou almighty King), St. Anne (Oh God, Our help in ages past), and countless others should have to be taught at this point in the church's life (at least this parish). The DOM tried to blame the pastor for what the he is "up against". I stopped that cold with, "Well, if the Pastor is the problem, I'll take it up with him". After he had a chance to recover from that shock, he told me to make up a list of hymns I wanted to do.

So, I'm in the midst of creating a set list for each service between the 14th in OT to Christ the King, based on the antiphons, readings, responses and themes, with the help of OCP's Music Finder, I've been able to find suitable alternatives to the steady diet of Haugen and Haas I've been subjected to for the past 12 years. There are some notable gaps, but for the most part I've been able put together a liturgically solid, musically sound list. One area had me stumped, though. Permit a brief explanation:

We have beautiful stained glass windows in our church, produced in France (or so I'm told), one of which depicts "The Church Militant, Suffering, Triumphant", a phrase probably more familiar to Catholics of a generation or two previous than to those today.We used to refer to it in the LCMS as Christian or Spiritual Warfare--fighting the temptations of Satan, the world, detractors from the faith.

So at one point I'm looking for songs on the Church Militant, or on spiritual warfare. I check the list of topics on the website. Nothing. I even emailed OCP (We use the Heritage Missal) and, in part, get this response:

...There are 9 songs under the topic Patriotism:
570   America
569   America the Beautiful
568   Eternal Father, Strong to Save 
567   God of Our Fathers
427   Let There Be Peace on Earth (really?)
451   Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory 
571   This Is My Song (FINLANDIA)
484   We Gather Together (Turkey and stuffing, anyone?)

Initially I was stunned. I had made it abundantly clear what I was looking for. When I wrote back and protested that Patriotism wasn't what I had in mind at all--even adding two links on the topics requested and giving two examples ("Onward Christian Soldiers", and "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus"), they responded by quoting the two links I gave and basically dismissing my arguments.

So it's back to completing the list which I promised to give him next Sunday I can only hope that things change--or the cantor will--and I've told him as much.


*Bruce Hornsby, The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, 1986.