In only the second parish I’ve served in 28 years, I have a dedicated room for music rehearsal. This is nice. For the one-Mass events–Easter Vigil (above), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Simbang Gabi–it’s too crowded. Before Sunday Mass, it’s fine. Singers meet there about 30-45 minutes before Mass begins. Some opinions follow …
Before Mass everything should be familiar. No new warm-ups. No long lectures. No new voice parts or instrumental arrangements. Unless a homilist has a request, no surprises. I try to remember to run first one or two pieces they do well. If there’s a trouble song, then we hit that. Unless I hear something drastically bad, I keep all the comments positive. We pray about 15 minutes before Mass. Then I send them out.
Considering my own perfectionistic tendencies and the nervousness I detect in some of my singers my sense is that the mid-week rehearsals are the time to learn and polish. Whatever I get on Saturday night or Sunday is a result of a relaxed and confident group of musicians. A group that has also taken time to breathe and pray.
By the Easter Vigil (above), they were probably reaching ear fatigue with my “theme” of the week: breathe and pray. Do those things, take time for them, and everything else falls into place.