This morning was the first choir practice and mass in my new parish. I had spoken with the choir director a couple of weeks ago, and the senior choir started up this morning. They rehearse during the hour and a half before the mass, in one of the meeting rooms in the basement of the church.There were somewhere between 15 and 20 of us this morning. We picked up our music for the next few Sundays and a copy of the choir version of the hymnal. After warming up, we ran through the mass parts that we are using from the hymnal that, as it turns out, were written by the late husband of one of my fellow altos. This morning’s music included the very familiar setting of “God So Loved the World” by John Stainer, and a beautiful (but unfamiliar to me) “If Ye Love Me” by Thomas Tallis. The opening hymn was a sadly emasculated “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven”. It has been stripped of all masculine gender words in the hymnbook. Now, I’m not particularly for or against inclusive language, but this hymn is a classic and it just felt wrong to have to constantly keep my eye on the words. It felt fantastic to be singing again, and I’m looking forward to a great season. We have some terrific singers in the choir, one who sings with the COC and at least one who is with St. Michael’s Choir School.