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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

September 11, 2020

Masses and Masses

evelyn @ 12:09 pm

In the beginning, our church had three Masses on a Sunday. Then came Covid, and suddenly we had no Masses. Then we hesitantly ventured into a streamed Mass. Gradually, as we became more confident, we made recordings which were included with the streamed Mass said live by the priest. Each choir member or instrumentalist recorded his or her part in isolation, while others did the sound mixing to bring all the parts together. Cantors, too, recorded their solo psalm settings, to which an organ accompaniment was then added. We estimated from the figures of those who tuned in to the live streamed Mass that almost all our congregation was with us.

Then churches were allowed to open again for limited numbers, and a second Mass was added, at which I now provide a snatch or two of live organ music, all that is allowed, for a small congregation. The original streamed Mass continued, but now there were people in the pews, whose responses, stronger each week, could be heard online. The numbers watching live went down as the attendances went up.

I suppose it had to happen that some of the choir also went along and had the strange experience of listening to their own recordings. For the cantors, who sing solo, it was even more eerie. As one of them said, ‘listening to myself singing the psalm was quite surreal’.

There’s a science fiction paradox (or was it something Einstein said?) about travelling fast enough to meet up with oneself going the other way. It must have felt a bit like that.

Personally, I would feel very strange if I had to sit in a congregation and listen to myself playing. But at least with social distancing I shouldn’t overhear any disparaging remarks …



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