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I was privileged to be able to participate in ½ of a Sacred Music Colloquium here in Salt Lake City. My pastor, who was slotted to go, decided against attending the conference in order to tend his flock after the shock of the shooting in our parish. What follows is a small blessing for me that emerged out of a tragic situation.
It was AWESOME, to say the least. I learned pieces of music in three days that I thought would take a WHOLE lot longer. We had a polyphony choir with two sections of each of the four parts. There were between eight and twelve of us in different parts. We sang the parts of the Mass in Latin. Despite small flubs here and there, there were enough strong voices to cover each other. I felt, for the second time (first was when I was in the college choir), in my element as a singer. I had capable singers around me, many of whom conduct their own choirs at home. Many of them have some training in music. One girl, a real sweetie, is a Junior in college studying music. She’s interviewing some of the staff at the Cathedral of the Madeleine for a big research paper she’s writing. She was helping me with timing and finding that first note. I was happily impressed by the number of young kids (some high school, more college-aged) present.
The people involved are all humble, humble, humble. That was very refreshing. There are a couple of people in my little choir at church who would love to be in the limelight but just don’t have the voice for it. Then they get jealous of those who the director decides to take their place … which usually tends to be me. :o( That girl I mentioned in the paragraph above? She helped me with the two above things, I helped her find high C and D, and middle F, F#, and G. I also helped her boost her volume, as well as the overall choir's, when we came in. We complemented each other. Standing next to her was a win-win!
And the biggest blessing is that I’m learning SOOOO much! I’m also learning to appreciate Gregorian chant. The cathedral has wonderful acoustics. We sound professional in there! The directors were all wonderful and very tactful about how they criticized our use of our instruments (voices).
That was the most enriching thing I’d done for myself in a long time (I might even be so bold as to say EVER). I wish I’d have been able to attend the whole seminar ~ I felt really pressured to speed-learn everything that others had two more days to learn ~ but I guess our choir director didn’t know what our pastor meant to do until Tuesday. By the time I got the director’s text, it was Wednesday morning. Next time, it will be in some other state. Our music directors get funded by the church
to go. We mere singers don’t. So I’m figuring this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
All of what we learned was used daily in Mass. This all culminated today at Mass. A relatively small choir of which I am part sang the introit. And three of us sang the verse and the Glory Be. I was invited to sing it by the other two ladies my second day. Pretty exciting as there are so many worthy voices in that forum. They could’ve had their pick or just kept it to themselves! Just had to share.