Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Keeping going

Things have been a little surprising and perplexing recently.

Twitter is ablaze.

Strife is everywhere.

Time to hunker down.

I'm off to St Cecilia's this weekend, the following weekend is the Rosary Rally and the LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford - simultaneously and then for me it's half term and a trip to St. Eugène and the Schola Sante Cécile on a Sunday and the rue du Bac.

Because some things don't let you down. :-)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dressing the part

LMS Chairman yesterday makes reference, in a sage article, about a recent episcopal resignation of what happens to teachers if they involve themselves in relationships with pupils.

The law has been tightened and it is now illegal for a teacher to have a relationship with any pupil. That includes sixth formers. It seems that there has been a recognition that the pupil-teacher relationship is always a power relationship and that it is up to the one with the power not to exploit the one without.

Although being checked out for convictions/ cautions etc is a drag every three years, teachers are party to a huge amount of confidential information as well as access to hundreds of children and teenagers, so it is as well to be careful.

I am not allowed to give my mobile number or private email address to pupils. Any email that I write referring to a pupil can be requested by parents under the Data Protection Act.

We have a dress code at work. On Prize Day, I must wear a suit and academic dress. For concerts, I wear black.

When an exceptionally casual parent addresses me by my Christian name in an email, the reply is signed Miss Initial Initial Surname.

All these things create and maintain the correct environment in which pupils can safely learn and I can safely teach.

There are occasions where pupils need to be able to say and do things that place them in a vulnerable position and they need to be confident that they are not going to come to any harm. Their parents have a right to the same level of confidence.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Dominus est

I have been lent copies of Bishop Athanasius Schnieder's two books by a friend.

It's a slim volume, so I am reading it slowly.

It seems that Bishops who have been tested in the fire make for better and truer teachers.

Yesterday I went to the Juventutem Mass in London.

The Celebrant, at the High Mass, was a nearly ordained priest, so the congregation was able to receive a first blessing.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Blessed be GAAAAD

Cardinal Burke @ Vespers and Benediction at Brompton Oratory, whenever that was.

Then he swept past in a Cappa Magna on the way to the Altar dedicated to St Philip Neri.

Catholicism.

I expect the best of everything.

From human charity, to sacrificial love to beautiful music.

:-)


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

La Rentrée

Taught everyone now, so no more lessons that start with giving out books. :-)

We have a great app that uploads our timetables and class lists to our iPads. random pupil selector seems to be a hit with the boys, or at least a novelty.

This week our ensembles restart and each year, rather as with sports teams we have to get them to work together and turn them into orchestras, choirs and jazz bands.

Over the summer I did orchestral conducting bootcamp and so am looking forward to using what I learned. It was hard core, but a great week. The other 35 or so participants were all very interesting and there was plenty of camaraderie and funny stories, mixed in with standing on a rostrum and being publicly humiliated each day, by three tutors. And I got to play the horn a lot in the class orchestra, which was 20 of us plus two professional pianists.

Tomorrow I do the first full orchestra rehearsal which is always a bit crazy, trying to get 45 boys sat down ASAP, tuned and playing and I set out the chairs, stands and music in advance. Fortunately, the routine with any orchestra is identical, so once they can do it at school, they can do it anywhere in the world. I do feel I am the equivalent of an infant teacher, passing on those crucial skills like how to hold a pen and form letters. It's just I deal in making sure your bowing matches your section principal. How to follow a conductor, especially if you sit at the back and play something loud. And never playing an open E string unless the conductor explicitly asks for it. Which I don't as a rule. :-)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

August holidays and review of the year 2013-4

This was 2012-3.

We sang 60 EF Masses (Several big Feasts fell on a Sunday this year - Immaculate Conception, Candlemas & SS P&P, for example, which explains the lower total.)
2 OF
The Carol Service

We learnt:
Stabat Mater Sequence
Te laudamus
Anima Christi
Inviolata ave Maria
Lots more of the Propers for Candlemas
Audi benigne conditor
The office hymn for the Sacred Heart

In the Autumn, lots of Marian Feasts fell on a Sunday, so lots of Mass IX.
In the Summer, we sang lots of Mass IV.

We were paid a visit by some seminarians from L'Instituit de Bon Pasteur, who sang beautifully and came to our practice. We we also visited by our friends from Spanish Place on All Saints and paid them a return visit on Christ the King (OF).

We spent quite a lot of rehearsal time revising music from previous years and singing it better.

Thank you to everyone who sang.

The last Sunday we sing is 27th July, followed by our traditional August break.

There are sung Masses on Sat 2nd August and Friday 15th August.

We then bid Fr Finigan farewell with Mass on Wednesday 27th August at 7.30pm.

Sunday 31st August, Father's final Sunday in Blackfen, will also be a Missa Cantata.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Gregorian Chant Hymns - initial responses

Gregorian Chant Hymns

Counter Cultural Father A brave soul, not averse to straying into the dangerous territory of the quilisma.

A detailed review from The Chant Café by Dr Jennifer Donelson.

CMAA Musica sacra forum

Schola Sanctae Scholasticae, incidentally, consists of the four of us who all run choirs in parishes and then sing together sometimes.

We spent two days in the summer of 2012 at St Cecilia's Abbey recording with various of the sisters under their choir mistress, with whom we have been studying for several years, and then did some more recordings in London that autumn.

Since then, one of us (not me) has knitted it all together into a website and done all the hard work, making sure everything that needs to be attributed is.

The idea is that all that basic basic stuff that you want everyone to know and have access to in every ordinary parish everywhere is here in a form that is accessible. All free.

Notation

Recordings

Translations

PDFs

JPEGs

MP3s

It fills a gap and compliments my favourite chant resources.

Propers
Corpus Christi Watershed I like the fact that they print the Gloria Patri complete for every Introit.

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest<\a> - lovely edition of the Requiem Mass, for example.

GABC A wonderful tool if you want Propers, maybe even with some psalm tones. The advantage over the Rossini Propers is that it uses four line notation and you can choose the tone.

Office Hymns in nice editions
Society of St Bede.

Ordinaries and most other things
The Parish Book of Chant CMAA

The CMAA also have the Liber Usualis 1961, The Gregorian Missal Solesmes 1990 and an enormous amount of other stuff available as free PDF downloads.

There is a huge amount out there.

Our new website is ideal for people wanting to make their first steps in chant.

Gregorian Chant Hymns