One of the “reforms” our new priest has instituted is improving the liturgical music for Mass. To that end, he has hired a Music Director, Paul by name, who has a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and whose “real job” is music teacher at a Catholic School. Paul knows his liturgy, and for the first time in a real long time, our parish utilizes seasonal Mass Parts with regard to music.
In many parishes, Mass Parts such as the Kyrie, Gloria (G-L-O-R-I-A), Sanctus, and the Amen are either spoken or sung to the same melody week after week. I think the reason for this is because it’s just easier to use the same melody instead of taking a few minutes for the parish to learn a different melody every 12 weeks or so. Our new practice of paying heed to the changes in the Mass Parts makes for a richer, more meaningful Mass; and the it the whole point of attending, right?
Being a former professional-musician wannabe myself, I would look over to the choir section of our church longingly, wondering if there was any place for my formerly-somewhat-formidable skills. I felt some resistance from my wife, who would prefer that we all sit together in Mass as a family (and this is a valid point). I kept my ambitions and desires in check, because, after all, I am Catholic.
In the course of practicing and practicing (or, as we former professional-musician wannabes call it, “rehearsing”) for a CD I am working on, I have all of my instruments on display in our office/den located off the living room. On one of his “priestly visits” to watch a football game this fall, Father Tim noticed the three guitars, violin case, Honolulu Guitar Harp, etc and asked me why I wasn’t in the choir. I deflected and parried, and pretty much just said that I wasn’t ready to do that just yet.
Last week, Paul, the Music Director, cornered my wife and told her that he heard that I played guitar, and really wanted to add a guitar to the 10:30 Mass. Jill made some sort of excuse about me thinking that I wasn’t good enough to play (we will seek marriage counseling because of this comment – I may or may not be good enough to play, but I would never THINK I wasn’t good enough), but said if I were interested, I would talk to him.
So the following Sunday, Paul waved me over to confirm that I played guitar. We had a five-minute discussion about my ability, and we both believed I could handle the music. I gave him a brief verbal resume, (violin at 10, switched to tuba at 14 when we moved to a school district that did not have strings-thanks, Dad - guitar from 14-26 to either cope with adolescent loneliness or avoid college studying- sporadic playing since then, etc). Paul is a great vocal teacher, and he says he can allay any concerns I have about my singing with some training and practice (rehearsal).
I attended my first choir practice (rehearsal) last night and was very happy. I’ll practice (rehearse) my ass off for the next 3 days to get caught up, but come Sunday morning, I’ll play in front of a real live audience for the first time in 20 years. For the longest time, I’ve been searching for an outlet, and now I’m getting plugged in!