Singing in the Rain . . . and Everywhere Else

That’s me!  I love to sing.
I frequently burst into song for no reason at all.  I am known in my family for my ability to do this with lyrics that are appropriate to whatever is going on around me at the time.
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to sit outside and sing every song from our favorite albums at the top of our lungs.  We especially liked Carly Simon and the Captain and Tennille.  I loved singing in school pageants.  I loved singing at Mass, no matter how bad the songs were–and in the 70s, they were bad.
In college, I joined the 7 p.m. Mass choir and learned to read music instantly and sing in harmony.  I still remember and sing many of the songs I learned back then.
I sang for my babies for hours when they were little, both to put them to sleep and to amuse them when we were in the car.  (Teddy usually shouted no when I sang to him.  There were only two songs he would allow me to sing to him.)
When we go on long car trips, I sing to keep myself awake.  My favorites are the many, many church songs to which I know every single word.
People used to ask me why I didn’t sing in the church choir.  I had a good answer–I was needed in my pew to keep the children under control.  But these days Lorelei and William behave pretty well in Mass.  So a few weeks ago when a call went out for singers for a special choir (we hadn’t had a regular one for quite some time) I joined in and had so much fun.
Out of that a regular little choir is developing.  We are starting by singing only one Sunday each month, and only practicing on the two Wednesdays before we sing.  If we have enough interest we may start singing more often.  We had practice tonight.
As a choir member I can exercise a little influence to prevent our singing all those awful songs I hate!  But more important, I can be involved in a ministry which also feeds my own soul.
 

That Liturgical Music Thing Again

Y’all, sometimes I just have to get things off my chest.  And I haven’t ranted about church music in a while.  So, for those of you who like such things, enjoy this mini-rant.
I sang in the choir at the 7 p.m. Mass at Georgetown all four years.  (We had Masses practically ’round the clock on Sunday, including a 30 minute one known as “[Father] Freeze’s Breeze” and a “last chance” one at 11:15 p.m.)
When I was a Freshman, the choir was student-led.  So when we were taken over by the University’s choir director the following year, we chafed a bit under her direction.  One of the things she did not like was our pianist’s habit of playing what she called “traveling music” at points where no talking was going on, like after the Offertory procession, for example.  We liked the pretty music and did not appreciate her point:  that there were times in the liturgy where silence is desirable.
Well, apparently the choir director at my parish doesn’t appreciate it either.  Because he’s instituted a bizarre practice of singing TWO Offertory songs.  As soon as we finish the first one, our cantor steals a quick look at the altar and if the preparation of the gifts is ongoing she quickly announces another song.  Which we dutifully begin to sing.
But there isn’t time for two songs at the Offertory, not really.  So one of two things happens.  We don’t sing the whole song (and y’all already know how I feel about THAT), or Father stands there twiddling his thumbs and frankly looking impatient to get on with things already while we finish.
This singing serves no liturgical purpose.  Especially since we never sing songs that are about offering our gifts or ourselves anyway.  It’s filler, pure and simple.  And why does the Mass demand filler?  When you run out of Offertory song, there are the optional prayers and responses:  “Blessed are You, Lord, God of all Creation . . . ” and “Blessed be God Forever.” (Did these get changed, I wonder?  In our parish, I’ll never find out.)  Then there are the quiet prayers as the priest washes his hands, which always fascinated me as a child: “Lord, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins.”
Everyone knows how much I love to sing.  Even when I can hardly stand the songs.  But can’t we just have some quiet time to pray?