Friday, November 03, 2006

All Saints

Helped organize All Saints Mass on campus. Given the kind of singers I had and the time available for preparation, this is the best that I could do. Comparing with the kind of Masses we usually get (ie. Organizing Mass = Choose 5 Favourite Hymns with Mass of Creation/Celtic Mass), I'd say it was a minor coup of sorts.

There were the usual concerns "The Mass is not a performance and these songs are unfamiliar" to which I said, "we cannot have Everyone Sing Everything, but we can have As Many People to Sing As Many Things Possible". I restrained myself from saying "The Mass is not Karaoke either". So we did a run through before Mass and I was surprised that people picked it up quickly. I set the vernacular Gloria and Credo to Psalm tones and people took to it like fish to water. I made sure I explained that the point for doing so is to help people focus on the words, not being distracted by the melody, and I guess you can't dispute that kind of argument. Heh.

We started the evening with Sung Vespers in English set to Latin Psalm tones. We did not provide much explanation, but very soon everyone was singing along. Amazing! The powerpoint slides showed traditional line art and did not show one bit of modern music notation - we used the four-line notation. Who says Gregorian Chant can't work? Who says simple chanting can't work? Sorry, Mass settings like this silly and crappy one don't work anymore. Chant is the way to go.

The cooperation that I had from my uni-mates were first-class - we were doing it together, not me just barking orders. Recognizing that the Catholic community on campus is now international, we followed the example of the Vatican and had the intercessions in 8 languages. Of course, what came out in the end was not ideal. I left the Mass of Creation in to avoid too big a drastic change. I actually want the Propers to be sung and the entire mass in Latin, walking the way of the Church Fathers who had their liturgy this way. It is possible to sing the Propers to simple melodies. Maybe next time :).

Not forgetting the priest who gave a wonderful homily and for working tirelessly among the students on campus. It can only be good if the priest is so involved with the students on campus. I don't think I even know the depth and extent of the problems he has to deal with.

Entrance. For All The Saints. Sine Nomine, Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Kyrie. Taize Setting.
Gloria. Psalm Tone.
Responsorial Psalm. English, adapted from melody found in Simple Gradual.
Alleluia. Chant, adapted from chant melody.
Credo. Psalm Tone.
Prayer of the Faithful. Recited, adapted from Anglican Use Liturgy, Intercession II.
Offertory. O God Beyond Our Praising. Thaxted. Gustav Holst.
Sanctus. Mass of Creation.
Mysterium Fidei. Mass of Creation.
Per Ipsum. response was just "Amen".
Pater Noster. Latin Chant.
Agnus Dei. Chant Mass XVIII.
Communion. Panis Angelicus, Cesar Frank. (this choice was made by someone else)
Post-Communion. Soul of my Saviour.
Recessional Hymn. Holy God We Praise Thy Name.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger Demerzel said...

Very interesting indeed, cause in the City Campus the experience we've had with Chant was during our mid-term retreat in the Salve Regina after Compline. And it was just beautiful. The main problem with developing further in this direction is the lack of resources for Sacred Music.

Even to the young Chant is not completely Alien. Veni, Veni Emmanuel is chant, as is Adeste Fideles. Even the tune of the Pangue Lingua / Tantum Ergo is familiar. Chanting in the vernacular is a start, although the the Kyrie, Sanctus and Angus Dei are just so easy to learn.

And I agree 100% that the words are more important than the tune.


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