Sunday, September 27, 2015

Terror in the organ loft

I wrote before about the "Ave Verum Corpus" Gregorian chant that comes up now and then at Mass. This is the Latin text that Mozart famously set to music. But today we sang it as the Gregorian Chant.

What a beautiful chant!

The only trouble was, as I noted before, the women have to sing that one phrase by ourselves. We are always understaffed on days when this happens, I do not know why. Today it was pretty much me and a group of teenage girls. Nobody else was there. We got through it.

O Jesu dulcis
O Jesu pie...

And then the guys come in with us. Whew!

There are just these couple of lines the ladies sing by ourselves and it is tremendously stressful. At the end of the "Ave, Verum Corpus"  I turned to the teenagers and we all smiled and gave each other thumbs up.

"Good job," I whispered. I added: "This always makes me nervous."

That is the truth!

It is one thing to listen to Gregorian chant. It is another thing to sing it in your everyday life. With an entire church listening, I should put that out there too. It is beautiful but frightening to be in the organ loft during a Tridentine Mass. At the start, I always love that moment, all of us standing there waiting, nobody breathing, waiting for the priest to start us all off.

Then sometimes during the mass there is a screw-up. We might do the wrong verse or something and everyone looks at each other afterwards, and there are grimaces and rolling of eyes.

How did we mess that up??

This was the kind of thing I worried about when I was invited to join the choir at church. I know what goes on in organ lofts.

It is not pretty!

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