7 quick takes: Holiday exhaustion edition

— 1 —

Let’s talk Christmas. Basically, let’s do that because I was not on my game, and the Masses did not go very well on my scale. Many, if not most, people never noticed, I suppose, but I was just off. It was monumentally frustrating, and that combined with the frustration of canceling kids’ choir led to me basically collapsing in exhaustion after I finished Christmas Masses and had to back out of visiting with my sister’s fiancé’s family. That … uh, was a low point, especially after all the work I put into the Christmas music.

— 2 —

On the other hand, I was on over the weekend for the Feast of the Holy Family, power-playing through five Masses and even cantoring for myself when the cantor at one of the Masses didn’t show. Though the organ at this church doesn’t have a mike attached to the organ, it does have a mike that I can angle to put in front of me, so I powered through and sounded OK, which wasn’t easy.

You figure out where to put the microphone so that it's not in your way.

You figure out where to put the microphone so that it’s not in your way.

— 3 —

Playing the organ and singing well is harder than you might think. Sitting puts more pressure on your diaphragm, and working the foot pedals means that you’re also not particularly steady. So it changes the tonal quality of my voice, and I can’t go as long without having to breathe. And I can’t quite focus as much on singing, because so much other stuff is going on. I’ve worn out my voice before in one Mass, and that explains why.

— 4 —

Anyway, back to me being tired. I’ve decided to start taking the last weekend of the month off, save for my normal Saturday afternoon English Mass. And it starts this month, because I’m off to Indianapolis to visit a friend who recently moved there. Take that, work-life balance!

— 5 —

Prayer request: I got a call from a church this week, asking whether I could play a funeral in two hours. So this was an emergency. Unfortunately, because I work in Chicago and was nowhere nearby, I couldn’t do it. And when I found out the funeral was for a three-week-old baby, my heart shattered. I don’t know this family or even have their name, but I know God can figure it out, so your prayers would be appreciated. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child like that.

— 6 —

I just want to note that I’m sad about the death of Patti Page, who gave us the decent-for-its-time “Tennessee Waltz,” but without her, we never would have had … “Conquest.”

And without that song, we would haven’t had the White Stripes’ superbly fun version:

— 7 —

Like everyone else reading this, my thoughts and prayers are with normal 7QT host Jennifer Fulwiler. I know a few atheists (a couple who are former Catholics), and it occurs to me every once in a while that we hear much more about people who lose their faith and not about people who find it. Hearing her voice gives me hope that those who have lost their faith may find it. And if I’m a vessel through which people find faith, even better.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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3 responses to “7 quick takes: Holiday exhaustion edition

  1. I don’t know any organists, but I have moonlighted in the choir where I work and had to sing multiple Masses by myself. It is exhausting! I can’t imagine playing and singing even one Mass by myself; that’s actually why I volunteered to sing in the first place. Much as working at a parish has given me a new perspective on the day-to-day workings of a church, singing in a choir (or being the choir) has given me a new perspective on the work of church musicians. God bless you!

  2. Hey Lindsay! Thanks for the comment. I’ll tell you what: I did all three Masses at one church this morning, then I went home and promptly took a nap. This was after playing two last night, as well. So believe me, it can take a lot out of you. Mind if I add you to the blogroll? You’ve got interesting stuff on your site.

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