Monthly Archives: March 2014

Pick your poison

It’s Lent. You need a Lamb of God. Here are your two choices.


Or this (click on the photo to get to the audio):

Now, let’s think for a second here. Which one of these is going to be better for Lent, a season of repentance? Correct! The chant.

This is for you!

See? Sometimes your choices aren’t really that difficult. And one day, if I ever meet Jesse Manibusan, I will ask him what happened, because he writes generally solid stuff (“Give Us Your Peace,” “Open My Eyes”), but the Misa del Mundo is all kinds of awful.



Communication breakdown

OK, so the song’s lyrics are not really related to the post, per se; I just wanted to use some Led Zeppelin on the blog.

After I finished my first Mass of three on a recent Sunday, the drummer for the “contemporary” group started setting up his drums for the third Mass. He does so then so that everything is in place well before the Mass he’s actually playing at. There was just one problem: I was scheduled for that Mass, and the “contemporary” group was not.

“Hey, I think you’re off this week,” I said.

“Naw, I’m here with the youth group,” he said.


He was right. They were scheduled by the youth minister, who … whoops, forgot to remind the music director, who then would have had to tell me, except she didn’t know. Grrrrrrrr.

The youth minister came over, apologized, and hugged me. I forgave her … this time, I said in a mock threatening voice, then added fake dramatic music. She laughed. It was a miscommunication. It’s annoying, but it happens. Can’t let it bug me too much. And she apologized immediately when she figured out what happened, which is harder to do than you might think.

Well, there we go. Problem solved. I get out of work early, in a sense. Then I remembered one more important issue. I had forgotten to ask: Do I still get paid?

What I might be doing on my summer vacation

This, the Church Music Association of America’s annual weeklong colloquium. Maybe. Not decided yet. And I am thinking out loud, so let’s list out some pros and cons.

Embed from Getty Images

Continue reading

The value of 6 years off

I’ve mentioned several times before that I took several years off from organisting. I played very little from summer 2003 until late 2009, owing to college, work, and a desire to, for at least a little while, have an identity that didn’t include being an organist, because I feared this set me apart from others in a bad way. Even though I rarely played Masses, it has ended up being a formative period in my organist career, one that I wouldn’t trade. Here’s why:
Continue reading

An interesting request: wedding chants

I don’t play for a ton of weddings, as my main parish that doesn’t have a ton of weddings, and even then I’m not the first option for those weddings. But I do them from time to time, so it wasn’t a big deal when a couple approached me after one of my Ash Wednesday services and asked me to play for their wedding.
Of course, I said. Then they had a request.

Continue reading

Lessons from homeownership, Vol. 2

Heating an old house isn’t cheap. I mean, really. And my house only goes back to the ’50s, so it’s not that old, but it is kind of drafty. And I made the mistake of setting up auto-pay for my natural gas bills, so at some point each month, it hurts … until we get back to around May or so, when it gets to cheap again.

Don’t buy a house with a big tree in the backyard. Because this could happen:

We had had a couple of very windy days in the area. My tree had gotten through the worse first day without too much trouble, but the second day, I wasn’t so lucky. I got home from work and noticed a few branches sitting in my driveway. That’s not a big deal; it had been windy, after all. I got out of my car and picked up the branches, going to throw them into my yard over the fence. Then I actually looked over the fence and saw the downed branch. It was a pretty big sucker — 15 to 20 feet, off the main trunk, with a whole bunch of branches coming off it.

But I got very, very lucky. It missed the nearby wires. It didn’t damage the roof. And it could fairly easily be taken apart, which my dad and I did the day after:

The next step was to call the tree doctor, as there are many broken branches left on my tree. I also asked, since the tree is probably on its last legs, how much it would cost to get rid of the tree.


Eep. I, um, don’t really have that.

So. Much. Shoveling. We have had an insanely snowy winter. In fact, it’s snowing right now as I write this, and I don’t want to go out for at least the 20th time and shovel. The good news is that I’ve become very good at shoveling. The bad news is that I don’t. Want. To. Do. It. Anymore. Even if the driveway looks nice when I’m done:

But despite all the hassles and problems, I still like being a homeowner. I like having people over. I like having all this space to myself and no landlord to put up with. I like the freedom I have. I don’t mind the responsibility.

So if I had it to do all over again, you bet I would. It may be a lot of work, but c’est la vie. It’s something I take pride in every day.