web analytics

Forth in Praise

Downloads and Publications


Blog posts by DATE

Blog posts by TITLE

BRIDAL Blog Posts

blog posts


The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

May 14, 2021

Light at the end of the tunnel

evelyn @ 12:52 pm

I’ve no doubt this blog will be registered yet again as ‘dead’ by whatever body gauges the health of blogs.  But quite honestly, when there’s been nothing to say that isn’t depressing, why say it?

But now things are improving, although singing in church still seems to be the last item on any government’s agenda.  One singer is now permitted, behind a plexiglass screen, and from next week, more than one (they don’t say how many) but still not the whole congregation.

At the moment everything is fluid and uncertain.  Easter for us was a mix of live and recorded music.  For the Vigil, we interpreted a ‘single singer’ as meaning ‘a single singer at any one time’.  So our priest chanted the Exsultet, and we had separate cantors for the Gloria and each psalm.  Separate readers, too, which made for the most incredible, dance-like, social distancing movements, each reader/cantor pair trying to stay well away from the previous pair, the following pair and each other.

Easter over, we went back to the live online early Mass with our choir’s recordings, and the later Mass with single cantor and small electronic organ, streamed only to the overflow people in the church hall. In both cases the allowed 50 people are in the church, with a further 20 in the hall watching a screen. Even so, quite a number of people have had to be turned away, if the booking stats are anything to go by, and I’ve heard that the same is happening in other parishes.  The predicted falling-away doesn’t seem to be taking place.

Meanwhile, the choir is champing at the bit.  We have kept in touch all through these long months, with WhatsApp and Zoom as well as making and mixing recordings.  Our tenors have come into their own, and we have been recording as SATB rather than our previous SAB.  Wouldn’t it be nice if that continued in reality?  And the pipe organ’s major refurbishment is almost complete.  It was really rather clever of our priest to have this work done in lockdown.

So each week at present, I have to email an audio file of the psalm to the cantor, who returns his/her recording for me to mix with organ accompaniment.  The recording is played at the early Mass on Sunday.  The same cantor then appears in person at the later Mass and sings the psalm again, with organ accompaniment by me.   So I have to plan and execute remotely the music for the early Mass (fortunately, we have plenty of hymns in the can now), and then turn up and provide the music live for the later Mass.  I feel like a juggler, throwing plates in the air, and waiting for the crash.  But this is probably just another stage in the return to normal life.  If only we don’t have a third wave …

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.