7 quick takes: Abounding “Alleluias” edition

— 1 —

It’s been quiet and serious lately in my neck of the woods. The day job is going through a lot of transitions, many of which I don’t like and which affect my job significantly. The good news is that my Holy Week and Easter services, all nine of them, went fantastically well. I had a different set of music with each service, too. It was a lot of work, and it tired me out, but the results were great. I was thrilled. For example, I introduced this piece with good results (hit the play button):

A Call to Blessing (Easter)

I think I’ve said on multiple occasions that I like Luke Mayernik’s work. And this one, “A Call to Blessing,” is usable in multiple seasons (with alternate refrains available), so it’s a keeper.

Anyway, I realized later on that the English Easter Mass at my main parish may have had a theme. We had “Jesus Is Risen,” set to the “Lasst uns Erfreuen” hymntune, whose refrain is five Alleluias. At offertory, we sang “Ye Sons and Daughters,” whose refrain is three Alleluias. At communion, we sang “The Strife Is O’er,” whose refrain is three Alleluias. And we used the Easter refrain to “A Call to Blessing,” which is one Alleluia, sung by the cantor, then repeated by the congregation.

Ah, Easter. After 40 days of not being able to sing the A word, it’s like we totally made up for it.

— 2 —

So you would think that maybe after Easter, everyone would take a nice, relaxing week with some easy stuff. That’s how it’s going at my main parish. But I’m also playing at another parish on Sunday, and at their choir practice, the fill-in director put something in front of me David Haas’ “Song of the Risen One,” with a time setting of 168-176 per eighth note. And there are 32nd notes in this, too! That basically means I’m playing super, superfast, with this sort of result:

It’s all a blur.

It’s not my usual style, but it’s a pretty song. Listen to it here:

We won’t be doing it with electric guitar, though. Just me on piano and the fill-in director’s husband on acoustic guitar.

— 3 —

Let’s go back to the past, though, if we could. Here are a few of my favorite pieces I did at one parish or another during Holy Week. For example, for Palm Sunday, the choir at my main parish and I did “Soul of My Savior” a cappella. It’s a traditional, pretty hymn. Give it a listen:

— 4 —

At one of the Good Friday services I played (one in the afternoon; one in the evening), we did the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of “Pie Jesu”:

Which prompted me to look up “Pie Jesu,” which allowed me to find the Faure classical version:

Which is widely available via free sheet music (yay, public domain!). Guess what we’re going to do next year, either on Palm Sunday or Good Friday, main parish choir!

— 5 —

I also discovered, at Spanish Easter Mass, that sure enough, they have a Spanish translation for the classic hymn “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today,” titled “El Señor Resucito.” I couldn’t find a good version, so instead watch this karaoke version:

I was also horrified to find an “El Señor Resucito” set to the tune of “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore.” Ugh.

— 6 —

I got my high school alumni magazine yesterday, opened it, and found out that someone who graduated the year after me had died. And the younger brother of someone who graduated the year after me had died. I didn’t know either of these people well. But my high school averages 110 in a graduating class. Even if you don’t know someone, you see them every day. Even if you weren’t at my high school at the same time as someone else, the pool of people who went there is small enough that you feel a loss when you hear of someone dying young.

— 7 —

I posted the following Thursday after I learned of Roger Ebert’s death:

It seems to me that there are very few American treasures anymore, as far as people go. We’re in an era where we prefer the loudmouths, the train wrecks, the dumdums, and the superficial to the kind, the erudite, the type who can disagree without being disagreeable. Roger Ebert was an American treasure. I fear he will be one of the last. R.I.P.

Roger Ebert grew up Catholic but, he acknowledged, lost his faith along the way. Even then, his writing was undoubtedly influenced, even when he was wrong, by his upbringing. (That is to say, when he was wrong, he was wrong for the right reasons.) He was a man of goodwill, and we should certainly pray for the repose of his soul.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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