Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Peace, all. Liturgically, the home stretch, as it were. I can't help but begin to look back over Advent with an eye of assessment. My pastor perceives our new hymn, "Creator of the Stars," as "unreceived," and points out our "older" Masses pretty much have refused to sing it. The only positives I've heard about it have come from the folk group and the cantors. The latter group chose to teach and program it over "The King Shall Come," "O Come Divine Messiah," and contemporary options. Interestingly, last year's "new" Advent hymn, Gather's Canticle of Zachary set to the tune of FOREST GREEN was sung enthusiastically at most Masses last weekend when it was programmed. I scratch my head on this one. My supportive pastor even preached on the new hymn at his three Masses the first Advent Sunday. My good parish is largely conservative, and there is a small but strong thread of neotraditionalism much like the prevalent attitude around St Blog's, but it would seem plainsong -- this particular chant -- was rejected. The pastor has been hinting we need one more Mass setting to complement our current ones and fill out the seasonal rotation. Lurking around St Blog's had been tilting me to consider a plainsong setting. I was doubtful the parish choirs would accept a Mass setting without the bells and whistles, and though I'm not quite willing to give up my eclectic and inclusive ideal on musical genres, I'm seriously doubtful I can pull off a chant ordinary based on my charm and good looks alone. Meanwhile, I have one of my favorite opportunities coming up at a Sunday night practice. About a dozen singers who mostly have never sung together before and only half sing regularly in music ministry -- this group must pull off Midnight Mass. There's nothing like pulling together new ingredients for an untested recipe. Once I get through this particular liturgy, it's clear sailing on Christmas Day, for thankfully, my splendid and talented wife consented to cantor the noon Mass on the 25th, when I expect to be putting my fried brain to rest.

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