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THE WEDNESDAY REPORT: September 7, 2022

Dear Partners in Ministry,

Happy September! Tomorrow marks a full year since this community moved its worship back into our beautiful church (which will be celebrated in the form of coffee and Danish after each Mass). I've been around for half that time, which was a homecoming of a different but profound sort for me. We've seen some signs in these last few weeks— more people in the pews, more members among us in ministry, more audible participation in liturgy— that, all told, your good work is bearing fruit, and we have the potential to grow in remarkable and sacred fashion in the year to come. WELL DONE... and keep it rolling!


Now that we're back in the swing of things, let's talk about how we'll structure our rehearsal time this Fall. Starting tomorrow, I'll rehearse music for our weekend liturgies first, then switch gears to our Christmas and Gaudete repertoire. If you're not taking part in the concert or our Christmas celebrations, you'll be able to leave early. 

We'll keep going from 7:00–8:30 through September, but we'll need to expand that rehearsal time to 7:00–9:00 soon enough. Likely, we'll make that switch in early October; stay tuned.


I've decided to extend our rollout of the Mass of St. Mary Magdalene by one week: we'll introduce the Holy this weekend, but divide the debut of the Mystery of Faith and Amen into separate Sundays. This means the Lamb of God will arrive on Oct 2, and the Gloria will wrap things up on Oct 9.


Don't miss this engaging and richly talented quartet's debut at St. Noel! Their program includes everything from heart-pounding reels to heartbreaking ballads, performed by four renowned Celtic specialists. This free performance will be a fabulous one! See you Saturday at 7:30 pm.  


You all know very well that we work best when we work together. These eight tips for every choral singer help rehearsals run smoothly, avoid wasted time, improve your individual contribution to the choir, and improve our collective efforts as ministers— the sum of which is beneficial to the congregations we serve, and is lovely of you to boot.

Arrive early. When all of us are here early, that means the business of removing coats, grabbing music, settling in, and taking care of last-minute issues is done when we start rehearsal, saving time and reducing distractions. It's a big help to everyone!

Organize your music. Always make looking for new music the first thing you do on arrival. If the rolling folder cart is out there, it has something waiting for you. Also check the music stand in front of the piano... that's where song selection sheets, warmups, and other handy items will often be found. Then, take a look at the white board and make sure you have every item listed. That way, if something is missing, you can ask the library crew before rehearsal starts and be ready to roll when we start.

Have a pencil in hand. No matter how well you know a song, or how small a detail something may seem, writing it down will make it easier to remember. Neither you nor I will remember every instruction for every song; writing it in the score means there's a much better chance we'll sing it the way we rehearsed it.

Follow along with other sections. When I'm going over a part with a section, one way to learn your music on a higher level is to take in their part too; you're not necessarily learning another section's part, but noticing how that part might interact with your own. This helps take some of the sting out of a "crunchy" interval, helps put a more difficult passage in context, and helps you learn your part as a component of the whole piece.

Don't get in each other's way. This is probably the easiest mistake to make in a rehearsal. There are many ways to make it harder for other choir members to learn their music: starting conversations, singing your part while the other section is trying to hear theirs, shuffling through music, sharing pics of the kids... While I would never expect a perfect and uncomfortable silence while we're rehearsing, remember that extraneous noises distract the ear of someone who is trying to listen carefully (the conductor included). If we all extend the courtesy of keeping things reasonably quiet for each other, we all have a much better environment to learn in.

Work on your own. The good work you do in rehearsal can become even better when you bring it home with you. Even five minutes each day of singing vocal exercises, reading through and/or listening to upcoming music, and practicing good techniques like posture and abdominal breathing goes a long way toward improving your singing, vocal health, preparedness, and confidence. Sing in the car (believe me, it's not the craziest thing people will see on the freeway that day). Do some discreet breathing practice at the desk (which is great meditation too). Listen to our rep casually while doing things around the house (in other words, enjoy it for the music it is!). Any time you spend working outside of rehearsal makes things better in rehearsal!

Cut yourself some slack. You will make mistakes. You will miss a note. You will need a few tries to get a passage right. These are the perfect imperfections we all deal with as musicians and as people, no matter your level of talent, dedication, or effort. It's okay. I'd give you the same advice my son's baseball coach gives him after a rough inning: "have a short memory." Let the frustration go and remember that this is why we rehearse and why we never stop learning. 

Remember who this is for. Music in the liturgical sense demands something very specific of its ministers: self-giving. While (I hope) that what we do is a joy and blessing for you, our first concern is the sung prayer of the assembly. If they're singing out there, you've done it right (that one kinda flat C# didn't bring us crashing down.) Whether in a moment of triumph or frustration, remembering to make all you do a gift of service to others is the greatest goal a music minister can aspire to. 


Be sure to check your folder for new music!

  • Each week, we'll warm up with the handout I gave you earlier. If you need a copy, let me know.
  • We'll dig into the next three responsorial psalms: My Psalm 51 for 9/11; Luke Mayernik's Psalm 113 for 9/18; Christian Cosas's Psalm 146 for 9/25.
  • MASS OF SMM: Preparing for the Holy, Mystery of Faith, and Amen.
  • Quick checks on the very familiar rep for this weekend.
  • GAUDETE: We'll continue our work on "Gaudete" and "Take Comfort, My People," then dive into "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day."



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

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

Gospel Acclamation: MI 936 · 1.003 · Mass of St. Mary Magdelene (Hart)

Prayer of the Faithful: spoken response

Eucharistic Acclamations: 

Lamb of God: MI 952 · JS 789 · Lamb of God (Kendzia)

SEPTEMBER 11 · Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: MI 563 · JS 593 · Lift Up Your Hearts (O’Connor) Original lyrics here; we'll use revised text in JS.

Responsorial Psalm: WA · handout · Psalm 51: I Will Rise (Ward)

Preparation of the Gifts: MI 664 · JS 532 · Loving and Forgiving (Soper)

NEW! Holy: MI 938 · 1.003 · Mass of St. Mary Magdelene (Hart)

Communion: MI 302 · JS 766 · Gather the People (Schutte)

Sending Forth: MI 446 · JS 680 · Amazing Grace (NEW BRITAIN)

SEPTEMBER 18 · Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: MI 753 · JS 644 · Your Words Are Spirit and Life (B. Farrell) This is lovely, but our version is faster...

Responsorial Psalm: WA · JS 92 · Ps 113: Blessed Be the Name of the Lord (Mayernik)

Preparation of the Gifts: MI 623 · JS 829 · The Cry of the Poor (Foley)

NEW! Mystery of Faith: MI 939 · 1.003 · Mass of St. Mary Magdelene (Hart)

Communion: MI 337 · JS 793 · One Bread, One Body (Foley)

Sending Forth: MI 443 · JS 686 · How Can I Keep from Singing (Lowry) Not this arrangement, though...

SEPTEMBER 25 · Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: MI 429 · JS 620 · All the Earth (Deiss)

Responsorial Psalm: WA · 2.009 · Ps 146: Praise the Lord, My Soul! (Cosas) This is from the concert that Christian, Luke, and I did at SPB in 2017. It's really echo-ey but it's a good performance nonetheless! Christian is the cantor here.

Preparation of the Gifts: WA · 3.060 · In Your Dwelling Place (Ward)

NEW! Amen: MI 942 · 1.003 · Mass of St. Mary Magdelene (Hart)

Communion: MI 312 · JS 777/3.056 · Here at This Table (Whitaker)

Sending Forth: MI 598 · JS 824 · Christ, Be Our Light (Farrell), v. 1, 4, 5


Ordinary Time III (Sep 4–Nov 24, 2022)

Advent and Christmas (Nov 27, 2022–Jan 8, 2023) Coming September 21...


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