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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

June 14, 2021

It’s like shepherding cats …

evelyn @ 4:42 pm

Following on from the last blog post, things are becoming even more changeable, going in all directions.  Keeping up to date is really difficult.

The early Mass is still streamed online, but the readers are now live instead of recorded.  So would the cantor be, except that we don’t have one.  We never have had.  To organise it would be a major project, which just isn’t feasible in the present circumstances.  So the recorded cantor continues.   As before, the same set of rehearsal material can be used for the live cantor at the later Mass, although if they are different people and if their voice ranges are different, a transposed version of everything will also be needed.  This is where my brain starts going round in circles.

That was last week.  Then everything changed again, and yet again.  First change – we were allowed ‘a few’ singers, so four were permitted 2 metres apart from one another in the gallery.  As the choir is twelve strong, a selection process had to be quickly and fairly created.

The next change was the body-blow which almost caused me to run off down the church drive shouting ‘I give up!’  As I entered the church last Sunday, our priest had only just heard that congregational hymn-singing was to be allowed provided they all keep their masks on.  He was delighted and had put hymn numbers on the board for beginning and Communion.  It wasn’t the short notice of the hymns that caused my despair – after 40-odd years I can play just about anything – nor the idea of an opening hymn.  It was the Communion hymn problem.

Pandemic-time Communion in our church takes place after Mass is finished.  People walk up the aisle, receive Communion, and go straight out of the church by the side door into the car park.  They can be discounted as far as any singing is concerned.  Even the remnant choir has to go down for Communion eventually, so last week I finished up playing the final verse solo while the sanitisers got to work with their mops.

So now we have to work out a system to cope with that.  And all the time, we are hearing not-so-good news about the Delta variant and an impending third wave.  Could all these changes start being unravelled one by one, until we are back at square one?

Our priest recently suggested a summer break for musicians and technicians, which is a really good idea.  If only there was somewhere nice to go.



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