Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lessons & Carols at my parish

The program is too detailed to list completely here, but basically it went like this:

Seven “blocks”, each of which consisted of:

O antiphon, with corresponding congregational “O come, O come” verse
prophecy reading
carol (of one kind or another)
prayer, poem, or instrumental

The O antiphons were sung thus: men, men, women, women, men, women, all. Alas, my men don’t do chant as well as the women, and even with an extra rehearsal this past Sunday after Mass, the men were never quite “on board”. Mental note for the future: work on the men’s chanting.

The first, fourth, and last readings were sung to the prophecy tone. (BTW, does anyone know why the 1974 Graduale eliminated the re-do-ta ending for prophecy readings that the LU contains?) I had two other cantors lined up to handle two of the three (with myself doing the third), but they both came down with illnesses.

The carols were:

Victoria “Creator of the Stars of Night” (alternatim, congregation on vv1,3,5)
Haugen “Lord, Make Us Turn to You” w/ Ps. 80 verses
Howells “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem”
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
Byrd “Lord, Make Me to Know Thy Ways”
My Soul Rejoices (Alstott)
Gelineau “Let the Lord enter”

The Howells had to be done by soloists for lack of rehearsal time. Alas.

Haugen “My Soul in Stillness Waits” and “People, Look East” were the opening/closing hymns. I had soloists for the verses of the opening, but they didn’t project well enough. Gotta rethink that for next year.

The choir processed in at the beginning and out at the end. It was cool!

The poems and instrumentals were the idea of one of our choir members. This choir member also wanted to include paintings by Fr. Sieger Köder in the program, which was a cool idea. They posters we ordered weren’t delivered in time, so they used a projector - which was not nearly as tacky as I was afraid it would be.

That same choir member also apparently thinks I am doing a poor job because she indicated she was not going to return to the choir. This is the same one who got very upset with me at the Easter Vigil this past year - but this time, I don’t understand why she is upset. I gave her quite a bit of influence on the L&C program, got the parish to spend a few hundred dollars on buying those posters (and we were told to slash budgets this year!), and basically did everything I reasonably could to appease her. She has been unhappy lately with what she feels has been inadequate musical preparation. In fairness, yes, we have canceled four choral anthems this year, two of which have been in Advent (Victoria “Creator” and Howells “O Pray”, scheduled for the last two Sundays, respectively). This was a result of my not looking carefully enough at how much rehearsal time we were going to lose in November from All Saints and Thanksgiving. But still - the L&C program was well-received, and though we are going to be rushed to put Christmas music together, it is easy enough music (see below). And for Pete’s sake, find me an all-volunteer church choir that doesn’t occasionally need to cancel something or put something together at the last minute!

Anyway, our Christmas choral stuff:
Dawson “Mary Had a Baby”
Biery “O Holy Night” (same music 3 times over)
my “Personent hodie” (mostly unison)
Proulx “Gloria for Christmastime” (almost all SB, i.e. two-part)
Halsey “Verbum caro factum est” (some tricky chords, but short & accompanied)

The Dawson was a challenge for the choir in my last parish, but the group I’ve got here should do fine with it. Halsey will need some coddling with its tricky harmonies, but it’s a gorgeous little piece. Biery and my piece are cake. The Proulx Gloria shouldn’t be a problem, either - and if it is, I can give it to a cantor.

Other Christmas selections:
Hark, the Herald
Angels from the Realms
O Little Town
God Rest Ye Merry
Angels We Have Heard
Entrance: O Come All Ye Faithful
RP: Guimont (vigil), Guimont (vigil), Gelineau (IIRC - day)
Alleluia: Chepponis “Festival Alleluia”
Sanctus/MemAcc/Amen/Agnus: Mass of Light
What Child is This / Child of the Poor
Farrell “Bread of Life”
Dean “Taste and See”
Thanksgiving: Silent Night
Recessional: Joy to the World

The only ones of these that will need even a cursory glance are the Mass of Light and Child of the Poor. Everything else will be “lock and load” for the singers.


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