We are blessed with a terrific parish choir, comprised of a combination of professional singers, musicians, and keen amateurs. Our rehearsals are the hour and a quarter before mass, where we spend our time preparing the days hymns, choir-only pieces, and work on music for upcoming weeks with remaining time. We rehearse in a room in the lower level of the church building, and then in the quarter hour before mass, we have a break, robe, and head up to the loft at the rear of the nave during the organ prelude.
Today’s rehearsal went quite well. We prepared Francis Poulenc’s Salve Regina for the Offertory and Jesu, Dulcis Memoria (Tomás Luis de Victoria) for Communion. I wasn’t completely firm on some of the difficult intervals in the Poulenc, but it was 98% good.
Singing from the loft is such a pleasure. The difference in the sound between our enclosed rehearsal room and the soaring space in the church is huge. We also stand in a semi-circle around the organ console when we sing and the acoustics are quite different. As a result, our efforts typically sound much better when we actually “perform”. (I realise that’s not the correct word to use during mass….) It was no exception this morning. I joked to one of my colleagues that I got intervals in the Poulenc during mass that I hadn’t managed to get during the rehearsal. It’s always a pleasure to finally hear ourselves singing from the loft.
The presider spoke about the Church’s newest saint, the first male saint born on Canadian soil, Brother André Bessette, now Saint André of Montreal. Father quoted Saint Augustine’s recommendation to “Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.” I think that will be my maxim for the upcoming week. I have a lot of catching up to do.