From Music?

dulcimerA few of my Omaha friends have introduced me as their “former choir director” from Ames. I feel pleased with their regard for me, but in fact, I haven’t ever been in a situation of being a music director in my present parish. People insist on keeping the “music” in the “liturgy and music” title. As long as my family’s checking account continues to receive a monthly deposit, they can call me whatever they want. I guess.

The summer experience at Creighton has been something of an extension of my Eight-Day Retreat. I still feel somewhat disassembled from a close examination at desire–a hallmark of Ignatian spirituality. What does God want? What do I want? Those questions need more time.

I have been playing music at Mass since my arrival. I don’t usually do that at home, and certainly not as one instrument in an ensemble. Yesterday, St John’s remarkable music director (piano) and assorted instruments (bass, guitar, cello, harp, and clarinet) welcomed me into their midst for 10:30 Mass. It was quite fun listening to the other guitar and the harp and assess where I fit in the ensemble. It reinforced for me the sense that the ensemble, in some aspects, is a superior vehicle for accompanying congregational singing than the organ. Seven souls have something more to offer than just one.

I was particularly moved by this Ricky Manalo song, “Many and Great.” I had never heard it before. I think the version assembled yesterday was a bit better than the recording on the link–clarinet adds a bit more gravitas than the flute. But whatever …

Will I leave behind much of my music through my studies here? Perhaps not. Will I get absorbed into directing individuals and retreats? More likely it will all get blended into a new whole once I’m reassembled.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to From Music?

  1. Manalo really has the knack of tapping into the Asian/Oceanic genre with many of his melodies. “Many and great” and “By the waking of our hearts” are prime examples. “Many…” sets a most amazing moment with the pentatonic verses leadng to the refrain’s stunning “The wheat grows….the wine flows.” It’s almost like Anthony de Mello’s poetry or prose.
    “Spirit and Grace” is also a new winner, I think better than “Ang Katawan…” which is remniscent of the Jesuit songwriters’ penchant for saccharine that Lyn Francisco of Durham introduced me to.

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