Well, the hallowed halls of Catholic University of America have survived my musical stylings, such as they are. After a very pleasant meal with enjoyable conversation, we retired to a music room and set to work.
A thick package of music with a frightening number of notes was passed out to us, one of which has an even more frightening title: Anima mea liquefacta est -- that sounds like a Latin version of what the Wicked Witch of West said in her final scene; but then, I goofed off in Latin.
Well, we didn't start with that ominous piece, but with something simple, O Sacram Conviviam. And I was all ready for us to practice each part--oh no! We started right in, all four parts! Everyone is singing beautifully, and there I am, "humuna-humuna-humuna." A congenial Dominican sidles up to me, and whispers, "I'll follow you!" Poor man! I'm trying to follow the other basses, and enunciate the Latin, and keep the time (did I mention I'm lousy at keeping time?). So I sang really low; and the Dominican kept scooting closer, and closer. Poor man! Well, he got wise after awhile, and leaned over to the fellow on his right! Well, it's true what they say about Dominicans; they are smart!
Anyway, I wasn't the only one who was in over his head; but I am proud to say I aced the warm-up exercises! Woohoo!
The main thing, for me, is the chant, which we'll begin tomorrow. God willing, I won't embarrass myself too badly then. But everyone is very congenial, and there is a lot of talent here; but I do feel like the country bumpkin when someone asks me about the fourth movement of Stravinsky's Requiem -- I just respond, "Oh, that Stravinsky--the pain in his life really gave depth to his music!" That's really safe in almost any discussion of music you don't know beans about; and then you can shut up as the other person expands on that.
Well, I have to be careful what I say, because at least six people here -- out of, I dunno, 40-50 attendees?--have already told me they read my blog. So I really have to watch it.
No, there's no need; everyone here is very talented, and very passionate about the sacred liturgy, and that is enjoyable. As predicted earlier, I do have any number of bad habits of breathing and intonation, that will be the devil to break, but then, I'm a parish priest -- this is what we do.