Y’all, sometimes I just have to get things off my chest. And I haven’t ranted about church music in a while. So, for those of you who like such things, enjoy this mini-rant.
I sang in the choir at the 7 p.m. Mass at Georgetown all four years. (We had Masses practically ’round the clock on Sunday, including a 30 minute one know as “[Father] Freeze’s Breeze” and a “last chance” one at 11:15 p.m.)
When I was a Freshman, the choir was student-led. So when we were taken over by the University’s choir director the following year, we chafed a bit under her direction. One of the things she did not like was our pianist’s habit of playing what she called “traveling music” at points where no taking was going on, like after the Offertory procession, for example. We liked the pretty music and did not appreciate her point: that there were times in the liturgy where silence is desirable.
Well, apparently the choir director at my parish doesn’t appreciate it either. Because he’s instituted a bizarre practice of singing TWO Offertory songs. As soon as we finish the first one, our cantor steals a quick look at the altar and if the preparation of the gifts is ongoing she quickly announces another song. Which we dutifully begin to sing.
But there isn’t time for two songs at the Offertory, not really. So one of two things happens. We don’t sing the whole song (and y’all already know how I feel about THAT), or Father stands there twiddling his thumbs and frankly looking impatient to get on with things already while we finish.
This singing serves no liturgical purpose. Especially since we never sing songs that are about offering our gifts or ourselves anyway. It’s filler, pure and simple. And why does the Mass demand filler? When you run out of Offertory song, there are the optional prayers and responses: “Blessed are You, Lord, God of all Creation … ” and “Blessed be God Forever.” (Did these get changed, I wonder? In our parish, I’ll never find out.) Then there are the quiet prayers as the priest washes his hands, which always fazcinated me as a child: “Lord, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins.”
Everyone knows how much I love to sing. Even when I can hardly stand the songs. But can’t we just have some quiet time to pray?
Filed under: Catholicism, music, rants Tagged: Catholicism, choir, church music, liturgical music, music, singing
I think I may have just discovered a new way to measure the generation gap–just ask your friends what they thought about Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show last night.
I don’t watch the Super Bowl because I’m not interested in professional football, and I had never seen (seriously) a halftime show before last night, so I can’t compare it to anything. but I thought it was AWESOME. I was absolutely shocked to read some of the comments made by my Facebook friends who are (I suspect) slightly/a lot younger than I..
“Lucky Star” came out in 1983, when I was 16. It was the third song released from Madonna’s debut album, but it’s the first on I remember hearing and liking on the radio. I can actually remember wondering who the singer was. And that’s just about when MTV went live (newsflash to you youngsters out there: they showed videos then!) and I remember watching her “Borderline” video. I remember being horrified and embarrassed (can they really play this on the radio? I remember wondering) when I first heard “Like a Virgin.”
So Madonna provided a lot of the soundtrack for my high school experience. And my enthusiasm for her music grew when I was in college. My roommate and I and our friend Tom used to dance to “Get into the Groove” as part of our pre-exam good luck ritual when we were freshmen. I loved her “True Blue” stage. I remember Tom and me ditching our summer bed-making toilet-cleaning job to stand at the payphone calling over and over again to get tickets to her concert in the summer of 1987. My God, that concert was 25 years ago but I remember it well–RFK Stadium with Madonna so far away she looked like a dancing doll on the stage.
As the years went by, Madonna continued to inspire, shock, and sometimes annoy. I’m not a big fan of blasphemy, for example. But she was always talented, always original. Her ability to reinvent herself instead of sticking to the tried and true is innovative and amazing and has kept her fresh for all these years.
One of my favorite television moments was seeing Madonna on “The David Letterman Show,” chiding Dave because he had not yet married the mother of his son. Madonna? Recommending a conventional relationship? It was surreal. But just like the rest of us, Madonna got older, had kids, maybe grew up just a little bit.
And, hello, the woman is 53. Fifty-freaking-three, and she just appeared in thigh high boots and a mini-skirt (no fat, no wobbles). She danced for 15 minutes without getting out of breath. She did all these deep knee bending moves and didn’t need to hold on to something to stand back up. She turned CARTWHEELS. I read comments saying that she danced like someone’s mother, that she looked old and slow, that it was sad to watch her. The only thing I thought was sad about her performance is that she’s nine years older than I am and she looks a hell of a lot younger.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: 1980s, Madonna, music, rants, SuperBowl