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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist



August 16, 2011

Out and about (3)

evelyn @ 7:00 pm

Taking a break from trying to turn the ICEL chant into real music, and catching up on the summer forays to different churches.

For our third trip we continued our westward trend and finished up in Dumbarton, or rather Dalreoch (does that name sound familiar?). Yes, we went to Noel Donnelly’s church, he of the Dalreoch Mass. He’s also the author of an excellent book, Your Bible, which I’d strongly recommend.

Lovely big church, lovely pipe organ, which Noel did full justice to. Yet another golden-voiced cantor (they do seem to produce them in the west), who sang an extra psalm at Communion while the people went up and down.

This is a very welcome trend, this covering of the Communion procession with music to listen to rather than a hymn which only half the congregation sings. We do it in my parish now, either a bit of organ tootling or a vocal solo, if there is a soloist handy. We may even try out a choral motet some day. The old Vatican II idea of wall-to-wall congregational singing, even from people processing to Communion, has never really worked, at least not in my experience.

One interesting moment: although the priest spoke, rather than chanted, the ‘through him, with him’ bit, the Great Amen was still able to be sung. Noel underpinned the priestly words with a quiet organ note, which swelled up at just the right time to bring everyone in with a confident ‘Amen’. Clever.

The only slight disappointment was that the congregational singing could have been stronger. But of course, it was mid-July and the church was by no means full, with many of the those present probably summer visitors like ourselves. I’m sure that when everything is geared up for a big occasion, the rafters will ring!

A very interesting morning, Noel, and it was good to see you again!

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