Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going Paperless, Chapter 4


This past week things again got better. We took out that extra phrase in "Return to God," and we were much stronger singing the refrain together. I'm thinking about how to get a drone going, but I think it's going to stem from having some ringers that drone around the people. We might be condensing our seating, maybe which would help people hear the ringers. I think this week again I'll do all the petitions, but starting next week my have a few other students prepared to offer petitions to model it so that the next week more people will have seen people other than me offer biddings, thus when I open it up, they might be comfortable opening them.

We sang the second phrase of "Come Light of Lights" a whole lot this week. Slight malfunction that was no big problem, but we sang it over and over again. I could've taught the whole song, but I've been trying to keep it simple. Maybe this week we'll add the first phrase in. I've been going with just the second because it fits better with right before the gospel, especially if you're teaching a song very, very quickly as someone walks five feet to the altar to get the gospel book and comes back with it. That's thus far been teaching it and then us singing once or twice. Not enough time for the entire song.

I'm still trying to figure out how to teach a second phrase that has different music but the same words; when I start the second phrase the people often join in, even if I'm indicating to listen or that I'm singing. This isn't just a chapel thing, though, I've seen it other places. I think our space contributes to that, though. I think our space and what we do with it is going to get more and more important in both the paperless music we're doing and just what we're doing with the service. This dialogue about a second phrase with the same text is because we sang "What We Need is Here" as we went up to the table.

Four weeks in and I'm really starting to appreciate the way the presiders can sing as they set up the table and get things ready. I've watched Mo. Sandi and Fr. Mark do this lately. It's nice to see them pouring things or getting them just ready and still being in the community. I think that they probably appreciate it, too. I know that I get frustrated when I have to do stuff with my hands which means I can't hold a hymnal to sing whatever we're singing. We did Mark Miller's Sanctus et Benedictus again, and the hosannahs at the end are the same as the second phrase in "What We Need." Requires some thought.

In Chapter 3 I told you about introducing "Whoever Eats This Bread" as a round as a breakthrough moment. The first part starting singing stronger when the second part was introduced. This week, someone started the second part (or started to start it) before I did. When I did they joined me. Then someone started a third. I think that when we got fully going we were singing it in five parts. There may've only been 2-4 voices singing on each part, but they were singing and could be heard. As I signaled to end we all finished our parts, and the last part was a tiny voice singing with her mother. She got nervous when she realized she was really the only one singing, but I nodded to her and sang with her.

I had to think on the fly for our song after the dismissal Sunday night. We're doing "Jesus is With Us, Let Us...." during Lent, but I'd only heard it with "Go in peace to love and service the Lord" and "Let us bless the Lord." Fr. Mark used, "Let us go forth in the name of Christ," which didn't fit either of my settings, so we sang "Let us go with Christ." I think, since we've done that two weeks now and are rather robust at it I'm going to introduce the layer either this week or next. I feel like seeing that this can be more complex encourages the people, but that could be a false perception.

Apparently one of the girls was leading with her hands during the song. She has experience at home with her mom doing musical stuff with hand signals, so the idea of up and down with the hand is not new to her. After I gathered my stuff together to head out to St. Lydia's I came into the chapel to go through and out. As I walked in three girls and a mother (two of the girls belonged to her) were singing "Whoever Eats This Bread" in three part round. The tune and text stuck. A student's wife said to me (with some enthusiasm), "We liked the round! It was good!"

So, we're getting it. Little things like tiny voices singing on their own at the end of the round or people singing the songs outside the service are nice. I left bubbling and was quite pleased, which Emily noticed. I also got a really encouraging e-mail last week, which helped. Lots of good affirmation about this coming around. Easier to keep going when there's encouragement. I have some broader ideas, too, but those will have to wait awhile.

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