I was at home Friday, having planned ahead for once and asked for the day off for what is typically an extremely slow day.
I sang at the Maundy Thursday service, all went very well and it was very moving. I was disappointed that I blew the attack on the first “big” piece that we’ve been working on for months; when it came down to it, I pretty much funked the pitch for some reason, even though I’ve had no problems with it up to now.
We’ve got a good choir, and a good choir mistress, although she gets a bit shouty when I run late. There was a good laugh last night when she announced to the choir, “well since Ginny’s not here we can’t run the Exsultet (I share part of it with her, Douglas, and Father Manny, sung solo a cappella and together).”
I was all robed and sitting with my music in hand as soon as she said “the Exsultet,” and the others looked baffled and wondered why we couldn’t do it. “Ginny’s not here,” choir mistress Mary repeated, and I piped up and said “I’m here, I’m here!”
That was funny, at least, although later on it was not so funny as someone else was struggling with the heavy schedule demands of being in a choir during Holy Week. Enough said about that.
Other than my entry and non-absent absence it was a very moving service. We sang:
God So Loved The World
A bit more quickly than this, but it was just about as ravishing in the harmonies. We also did Pangue Lingua Gloriosi (Sing My Tongue The Savior’s Glory) and took turns singing verses solo and unaccompanied. I had the third verse, which in Latin was pretty opaque, but in English was “On the night of that Last Supper, seated (or reclining) with his chosen band, he the Paschal victim eating, first fulfills the Law’s command, then as food to His Apostles gives Himself with His own hand.”
Fairly dramatic, yes, but the original Latin is pretty convoluted to sing and I was glad to get through it with some sense of the words coloring the line. I was happy for Jess as this was her first year singing alone and unaccompanied; she took her line very well.
It was a quiet day yesterday, but then about half an hour before leaving there was a tremendous crash of lightning, and then it began to hail. David was dismayed because his car happened to be parked on the street in anticipation of the roofers’ arrival today, as they parked their dump truck/motorized skip in the driveway along with a stack of shingles. I managed to ease my car out of the garage and get going, and white-knuckled it a bit as I drove through torrential rain in a hard-pewter world. It was hard to see as sheets of rain were almost overwhelming my wipers, but I did make it in plenty of time.
Last night’s Good Friday wasn’t one we in the choir were “working,” it was designed by the Liturgy Committee (disclosure: I’m on it but more in an advisory mode) to be quieter and less “choral showcase-y.” It was REALLY well attended, in spite of the weather, I was really pleased! It’s always a sombre thing – I wore black and got choir mistress Mary’s approval, at least. We all sat wherever we wanted and weren’t sequestered in “choir jail,” so I sat with Katy. I miss sitting next to her (we’re separated now, we used to sit together when we were at Holy Innocents) and so it was very nice.
There were several people there last night that are relatively new – at least 5 people chose to come out on a blustratious night who have only attended a couple of normal Sunday services, very brave of them! I will say that transitional vicar Manny, who I hope will be tapped as “permanent vicar” as we go through the discernment, has been an outstanding leader and preacher during this time since Father Steve’s departure (it’s been a happy-sad transition, with minimal trauma and no broken relationships, thanks be to God). I will say that Manny’s preaching style is very engaging, very moving, very personal, and yet he doesn’t skimp on the scholarly unpacking of the text. He’s also the kind of leader who is great at getting people engaged, AND HE DELEGATES.
He’s also a fine liturgist, and I’m looking forward to tonight’s Great Vigil of Easter even though it’s going to be a long, emotionally taxing service fraught with opportunities to mess up musically. We always do a good job with “big” services, but this time around, the amount of advance planning (and advance tapping of acolytes, readers, and so on) has taken a lot of the last-minute guesswork out of the mix.
One really nice thing is that the two young people who acted as acolytes during all these services of the Triduum, carrying candles and such, were on the Liturgy Comittee and had a say in how we’ve done things, routes taken processing and recessing, and all that. I think it’s been a great experience for them – brother and sister who are pretty engaged generally, but really plugged in and getting a look at what takes place behind the scenes so that we can all “do church.”
There’s still the impromptu “past, would you like to be a chalicer” (offer the wine at Communion) during the service but we are a lot more organized and intentional about how things are going to go. And this is a really good thing.
Tonight’s service at St Nicholas Episcopal starts at 8pm and will be about 2 hours, and I’ll be pretty ticketed, but happy, when I get home.