Saturday, March 27, 2010


I cantored for the evening Mass today - the first (successful) outing since I lost my voice last Advent. (One of my Augustinian confreres joked that I gave up singing for Lent, for Christmas, for Ordinary time...) We began outside with the Blessing of the Palms, on the plaza in front of the church, across from the busy grocery store parking lot. People slowed to watch Fr. Tony, brilliant in his red chasuble, proclaim the first Gospel, telling of the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.

On cue, the organist inside broke into All Glory Laud and Honor and from the corner of the church I began. breath control is not what it's been. Can I walk, and hit a high C with enough punch to be heard in a carpeted church (it has surprisingly good acoustics for all that)? The answer is no.

The sung response for the Passion was a marvel of sung community prayer, sustained, plaintive. My community, always pretty comfortable with silence, committed anew this liturgical year to being attentive to the silences. Today, when we all knelt at the moment of Jesus' death, in the stillness you could hear the kneelers hit the floor, rumbling like thunder through the church. Then, of course, there was the moment that the phone in the back sacristy started ringing, clearly audible through the open doors. I stood there, trying to remember how much time I had before the next sung response and could I make it there and back before I had to lead the next response....

I wonder what the medieval equivalent of the ringing phone liturgical interruption was? From the homilies I've read from the the early days I suspect that disruptions from the assembly are not a modern phenomenon!


  1. LOL about the phone. At least it wasn't a cell phone...

    I'm glad you were able to sing once again--just in time for Palm Sunday and Easter! My voice gave out by the Holy, Holy last night but I croaked on. Fortunately I only had to cantor the Psalm by myself; the rest of the time there was a whole bunch of singers to carry it all. But I can't play and not sing!

  2. Glad, too, that you are back making music!

    Yes, I was glad that we had cell phone free Sunday. But there was the time when one of the small ensemble had a cell phone in his pocket that was going off - and amplified through the mike. Ack...

  3. Someone inexplicably whistled a line of melody (and not a Palm or Passion hymn) in church on Sunday--not during the Passion reading itself, but still....

    So glad you are singing again for our Days of Awe!