What I’m doing on my summer vacation

Last time, it was what I thought I might be doing for my summer vacation. Well, I’m doing what I thought I might be doing, which means in a few weeks, I will have done what I thought I might be doing, which may confuzzle everyone enough.

I’m off to the Church Music Association of America’s summer colloquium in Indianapolis. I will be staying with terribly overly indulgent friends whom I cannot even begin to repay, as they easily saved me $1,000 in hotel bills. And I will spend a week fully engaged with church music, which is going to be important, because if one day I’m going to go full-time as a church musician (something I’d like to figure out how to do), I need to be able to hold my own out here. So let’s discuss what I’m hoping for over my week in Indy.

Fun with chant and polyphony

I have no problem with hymns. But a major, major part of the colloquium is working within the Church’s longer-standing traditions of music, and so I will get some extra experience with chant, which we do at my main parish, and polyphony, which we don’t. I don’t have the people to do polyphony now, but it would be nice to get some experience in case I’m in a position to do it one day.

Here’s my card

Hobnobbing is important, of course. I have no idea who I will meet or whether they will be able to help me with something (or vice versa) one day. Luckily, I have a few hundred business cards sitting around. With any luck, I can meet some church musicians around my age, as, uh, there aren’t too many around here.

Listening to the unfamiliar idea

A chunk of the CMAA folk are big on singing the propers at Mass (I’ll oversimplify a little, but it’s basically chants at entrance, psalm, offertory, and communion). I’m going to go to a presentation on why to do this, because I want to understand this argument better. I will not be convinced by it, but that’s another story for another day. Now, I will be going to a week of Masses where this is what they will be doing. I’m sure it will be beautiful, and I will join in wholeheartedly, because it’s still the Mass. But I can’t see a scenario in which I would, as a Guy in Charge of Music, intentionally schedule the propers at Mass. (That having been said, if a parish will pay me to do the propers at Mass, I will do it, because, you know, professional.)

Learning about the Extraordinary Form

I need to, as it’s a major hole in my musician game. There will be two EF Masses during the colloquium. A parish near me has the EF, and I’d like the chance to play for it. Do I have any particular attraction to the Extraordinary Form (better known to laymen as the Latin Mass)? Nope. I have no problem with it, but I much prefer the vernacular and having two readings before the Gospel (plus, the propers pop up again). But if someone will pay me to be there, will I nail it to the best of my ability? You bet. Because, you know, professional.

Sit back and relax

I have no real responsibilities this week other than to sit, sing, and learn. I don’t have to think about anything going on at home or at any of my parishes. I can’t take any funerals, because I’m not around. I am off from the day job. I have some time during the week to hang out with my friends.

It should be a great week. I’m looking forward to it.


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