Monday, June 23, 2008

Colloquium 2008

I have thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in my own bed and hugging my children, but I wish I could have left my ears in Chicago. Some of the music that I heard last week was a true foretaste of the heavenly banquet . . .

Kudos to all those who worked to make the Colloquium as fabulous as it was. Nearly everything was wonderful.

Here's what I've taken from the experience:

1) I need to improve my organ skills. I feel like such a hack compared to some of the wonderful organists that played for our liturgies. Some of the improvisations were just exquisite . . . yeesh, I need to practice more.

2) I need to improve my compositional skills. I really only arrange/compose anything out of necessity, and often in haste. Being able to spend a week with some of the pieces that we performed (and some of the wonderful new music of Kevin Allen), I realized that I need to be more of a craftsman and less of a "Oh crap, I've got rehearsal in 2 hours and I haven't written that setting of the Gospel Acclamation verse that I was supposed to do yesterday!" -type composer. Do I have the patience for something more is the question . . .

3) We need to target the children. Hearing stories of children singing multiple settings of the Gregorian Ordinaries never seeks to amaze me, though I certainly don't doubt children's abilities. If any real change is going to happen liturgically and especially musically, then solutions will have to be long-term, and it needs to start with the young'uns. I've been pondering the idea of starting a children's chant schola here in my area for the past couple years . . . this week has been a good kick in the butt to start the ball rolling.

4) Homeschoolers love chant! Holy cow, there were a lot of homeschooled folks there! I went out for pizza one night with a random group and five of the ten there were homeschooled (through high school to boot!). It's no secret that the homeschooling movement has been growing exponentially as has the "CMAA" movement; it seems that they have intersected!

Much more, of course, but that's the only things I can think of at this late hour (well past my bedtime). Thanks again to the CMAA for hosting a wonderful, inspiring week!