View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Morning Coming Down

(Not me)

It's Sunday morning. Mass is in 2 hours.

But the guitar will stay home.

Withdrawal time.

The regular choir is off for the summer.

I feel like I should be doing something more to get ready for Mass but ...

No tuning required. No checking to make sure I have the music. No more leaving for church early to make sure the music stands are out and the guitar amp is plugged in.

Is there a Choir Anonymous program out there?

Hi. My name is Lee. I'm a church musician.

At least they would probably have coffee available at a C.A. meeting.

Maybe I'll play something just for the pleasure of playing and singing. Maybe something not even churchy.

Let's see, what do I know? How about "Bottle of Wine?"

Oh, yeah, wine.

Any other church musicians get the summer hiatus blues out there?

At least I now get to sit the pews with the Good-Looking-One. I can sing in the muted way people in the pews tend to do. Or I can let loose, startling the people around me, and maybe also listen for the voices of other choir members scattered about the church.

Choir's summer break -
melodies and harmonies
scattered through the church

Maybe she and I can go out for coffee after.

Gotta feed at least one addiction.


Blogger David Marciniak said...

LOL! And thanks for clarifying that the picture is not you. I was about to be amazed at your incredible likeness to John Michael Talbot...!

Sing really loud in the pews. It's fun to annoy the lukewarm.

1:33 PM  
Blogger clavichord said...

Yep, next Sunday my choir leaves for the summer giving me a much deserved rest for all the prep. I can't wait to play/sing with an incredibly good harp guitar player who was just baptized into the Catholic Church here at our parish this past Easter Vigil. Change and rest recharge our batteries. Have a good one, fellow SFO.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Wow clavichord - sounds fun.

David - Have you seen pictures of him lately?!

My wife looked at one, looked at me and said, "You want a beard like that, don't you?"

7:22 PM  
Blogger Barb, sfo said...

So what do they do for music in the summer? We sing all year long.

And if by some chance I wind up in a pew (if we're visiting, or something) I always sing. I'm unashamed of that. Go for it. That's why God gave us voices, after all.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

What do we do? Music director (organist) and some cantors.

It's just the choir - 20-30 members, plus the guitarists and the bass player - that takes the summer off.

Rock of Faith (uptempo contemporary) will play twice as well. I'm with the group, so I will get to play.

8:27 PM  
Blogger David Marciniak said...

Looked up JMT's latest snaps...


9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guitars do not belong in church.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"Silent Night" was composed on guitar, and performed on guitar in church.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silent Night was composed on a guitar because the organ broke down a few hours before Midnight Mass. It was an exceptional set of circumstances. I also do not like guitar or any folk music at Mass and the choir should be in the back in the loft. The Mass has become just like a performance.

Thank you for letting me put my 2 cents in.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

In the loft? Are you from St. Theodore's by any chance?

Alas, when they renovated, they took out the stairs to the loft - a mistake.

I don't like performance at Mass - musical or otherwise. The point of it should be worship.

But I welcome all kinds of music if it is done to enhance the worship. Chant. Organ. Guitar. Flute.

You are always welcome to add your two cents, by the way. Thanks for stopping by!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

anonymous - two other points.

The music we play at St. Theodore's with the regular choir and Rock of Faith has all been approved by the Committee on the Liturgy of the the National Conference of Catholic Bishops - and many of those pieces were arranged for guitar.

The music we play is not folk music. I haven't played "folk" music at a Mass since I was a counsleor at a Rotary camp back in the 1970s. So nary a Kumbaya is heard here!

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Committee on the Liturgy of the the National Conference of Catholic Bishops"

Of course, one of the most liberal bodies in the Catholic Church outside of France.

(I am anon 4:04 not 6:57)

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you do if the priest said one day he would prefer Gregorian chant? Would you drop your guitars and take part in it, or walk out?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"What would you do if the priest said one day he would prefer Gregorian chant? Would you drop your guitars and take part in it, or walk out?"

I've sung Gregorian. I don't mind it.

Now if the priest said he'd prefer Gregorian - that's not a declaration by him that nothing else is allowed (at least as you've worded this hypothetical). I'd try to work with him to see if some sort of middle ground is allowed.

If he meant not just that he'd prefer Gregorian, but that he forbids everything else, and if he was unwilling to talk about it to work out something, I'd look for a different parish.

If the Vatican said absolutely no contemporary, just Gregorian, then I'd just sing Gregorian.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee: I'm "in the loft". I sing at the Extraordinary Form at St. Stanislaus. Come over this Sunday for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Orginally I started out at Saints Peter and Paul (now THAT'S a choir loft).

In the loft and loving it!

8:18 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anonymous in the loft.

Enjoy the singing!

I visit my father in his nursing home on Sunday afternoons.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee: I will keep you Dad and yourself in my rosary. "ladies and gentlemen...START YOUR BEADS!!!

10:32 PM  

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