Monthly Archives: November 2013

“John the Rap-tist”: Just don’t.

The Voices as One compilation from WLP is not top-notch. One of my parishes draws heavily from it, and I’m afraid it hasn’t been a pleasure to play out of it. Too much syncopation, too many unsingable melodies, too much of a mess. (Think the first edition of Spirit and Song, then keep going.) It’s not a surprise that the third-biggest liturgical music publisher is kind of in a tough spot when it comes to coming up with contemporary music without having to pay for the better stuff OCP (and even GIA) can have.

But this is simply inexcusable. Continue reading


The long reach of “Be Not Afraid”

The other day, you may recall, some absolutely hellacious storms hit my state of Illinois, with a ton of damage in areas south of where I live. And where was I when the storms began?

Mass, of course.

The skies opened during the deacon’s homily during the last Mass, and the storm dumped incredibly heavy rains with high winds. At times, the precipitation and wind were so loud that I couldn’t easily hear the priest (speakers not nearby) or the organ (speakers directly over me). Everyone kind of looked around, wondering if the tornado sirens would go off (they didn’t). Needless to say, everyone was just a little distracted.

As we got to Communion, the rain let up just a little bit but was still coming down heavily. There was occasional thunder, and the winds stayed high. There was still quite a bit of nervous tension, though, as I began the Communion hymn: “Be Not Afraid.”

“Be Not Afraid,” of course, is often used at funerals. It’s a very good hymn of comfort. And that day, it served its purpose. The people sang it, many by heart. More than a few people noticeably relaxed. And by the end of Mass, even though the storm wasn’t letting up, nearly everyone was calm.

Which leads me to this:

Yes, that’s former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, doing a rough-around-the-edges version of Bob Dufford’s “Be Not Afraid,” a classic in Catholic land, on a solo album a few years back. And it’s surprisingly solid. As it turns out, the hymn gives a troubled rock star comfort, too, to the extent that he covered it.

You never know what will inspire someone. And you know never whom you might reach with your music. I bet Bob Dufford got a kick out of it when he heard Scott Weiland was doing a cover version. I know I would have.

It may not be good if you get the bishop’s attention

I suspect the last week has been less than pleasant for my state representative, Linda Chapa Lavia. (I don’t know her personally, though I think she has popped up from time to time at one or two of the parishes I play at.) She’s Catholic, and she voted for gay marriage in Illinois, despite the Church being entirely against gay marriage. Nothing novel about that, actually, except here’s what she said in voting yes:

“As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people.”

Yes, it does. The problem, of course, is that Catholicism views gay marriage as inherently unjust, especially to kids. And when you cite Pope Francis (House Speaker Michael Madigan did too) in your vote for same-sex marriage, you’re going to get more attention than your run-of-the-mill Catholic voting for gay marriage.

Continue reading

This year’s concert piece: David German’s “Festive Trumpet Tune”

One of my parishes has an annual (for, um, two years now) concert, that I took part in. Here was my contribution:

I really love the Festive Trumpet Tune, which is a baby in the world of organ music (the copyright on it says 1990). It switches from one flat to six sharps toward the end, which makes it tricky (and I missed a bit on a couple notes in that section), but overall, it sounded great. My recording sounds pretty good, considering I had forgotten to turn on the overhead speakers for the digital organ. Enjoy!

This discount definitely sold me

I’ve come down with a cold (argh — more about organisting with that here), so last night, I trudged over to Jewel to buy some cold meds. Wherein I found this:

Oh, good. That totally has me sold.