Browsing Worship Blog


Dear Partners in Ministry,

I almost feel busier now than during Lent, since I “have the time” to start addressing a lot of back-burner items and start really thinking long-term.


If you haven’t done so already, please turn in any choral music that belongs to the parish so that, come the summer, the library team and I can get a proper inventory of our resources and get everything catalogued fully.


Thanks to all of you who chimed in regarding the possibility of an Advent concert. There was a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of concern, so there’s plenty to dwell on. I’d like to take a little time in rehearsal to discuss this further.


Yesterday, I added a new web page to the Music section on our site: Musical Kids! Since COVID, we haven’t been able to welcome our young musicians to join us in ministry, but this fall would be a great time (we hope) to open those doors again. I’m asking the entire parish to let me know if they have a young music-maker who might be interested in sharing their gifts in ministry… including the possibility of inviting high-school-aged singers to join the “Adult” Choir. With that in mind, are you attached to the “Adult Choir” name? What would you think, given that we may have younger singers joining us, and in light of the way our ministry operates, about renaming us the Parish Choir? I’d love to know your feelings on this. No surveys, just let me know what you think.


You’ve heard me say this a few times already; it’s one of the most memorable things my undergraduate choral professor would say to us in rehearsals. What he meant by this is that music requires a whole-person approach to be successful. We work hard to channel our breathing to set us up for the best possible control and energy. We adopt a posture that puts in an optimal physical position for singing. We warm up, we learn to focus our vocal energy in healthy and productive ways, and so much more.

One component of this that I’d like us all to focus on, whether vocalist or instrumentalist, is physicalizing our understanding of meter and rhythm. During the Quire concert Last Saturday, one of the things I was most captivated by was that each singer, in their own way, found a way to move with the music. None of it was ostentatious or overdone, just some kind of physical movement that kept them bodily connected to tempo, beat, and the flow of the pieces they sang. Some of them swayed with measures and phrases; some simply kept a beat by tapping a finger on their binder. Whatever it was, it was a physical manifestation of time, which is vital to keeping each musician in union with each other when performing.

Another gem from my professor: “Pitch is entirely mental. Rhythm is entirely physical.” This is true and critical! From the heartbeat outward, our ability to perceive time in an organized flow depends on tangible, physical stimuli. Try this: use a stopwatch or the second hand on your wristwatch to count along with the passage of sixty seconds. Then, try it again but do not look at the watch. (My guess is that this will not be very successful). Now try it a third time, looking away from the watch but tapping your finger gently to help you count. (Probably went better that time).

When we rehearse, make it a habit of lightly physicalizing the beat. Don’t do anything too large-scale, like trying to lift and tap your entire foot; these motions are too “heavy” to maintain with precision. Try a light tap of the toes, or tapping one finger on your leg or book. This simple addition to your routine makes meter much more tangible, real, and maintainable. 

I’d also recommend using a metronome when learning a song. There are a ton of apps for our phones and watches out there; my favorite is called Click, for Apple Watch and iPhone (you’ve seen me call on it before songs in Mass and rehearsal before).

Finally, keep an eye on me whenever we work together. My job is to present a single tempo for the whole ensemble to unite around. If we’re all using me as a common metronome (especially when “we know the song like the back of our hands”) our ability to stay together and free ourselves up for greater expression is greatly enhanced.

Thanks all…. And go team.



Glory to God: Mass of Creation (Haugen) MI 884 [score]

Children’s Dismissal: The Word of God (Ward) WA [score]

Gospel Acclamation: Mass of Renewal (Stephan) MI 877 [JS 177]

Prayer of the Faithful: O God, Hear Us (Hurd) WA [JS 268]

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Renewal (Stephan) 

Holy: MI 878 [JS 179]

Mystery of Faith: MI 879 [JS 180]

Amen: MI 882 [JS 183]

Lamb of God: Mass of Renewal (Stephan) MI 883 [JS 184]

MAY 22 · Sixth Sunday in Easter

Gathering Song: MI 563 [JS 593] Lift Up Your Hearts (O'Connor)

Responsorial Psalm: MI 788 [JS 58] Ps 67: O God, Let All the Nations (T. Smith)

Preparation of the Gifts: MI 407 [JS 647] Lord of All Hopefulness (SLANE)

Communion: MI 498 [JS 725] Unless a Grain of Wheat (Farrell)

Sending Forth: MI 598 [JS 824] Christ, Be Our Light (Farrell)

MAY 29 · Ascension of the Lord

Gathering Song: WA [JS 426] Sing We Triumphant Hymns of Praise

Responsorial Psalm: MI 780 [JS 47] Ps 47: God Mounts His Throne (Inwood)

Preparation of the Gifts: TM 79 [JS 406] Three Days (THAXTED/Ridge) The hymn version, not the octavo

Communion: MI 343 [JS 789] Taste and See (Kendzia)

Sending Forth: TM 87 [JS 429] Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise (LLANFAIR)


Triduum and Easter (April 14–June 5, 2022)

Ordinary Time II (June 12–Aug 28, 2022)

Peace (and good rhythm) be with you,


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