Director of Music - Who will it be?

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St. Stanislaus Parish is looking to hire a Music Director. I would be interested in the job myself except they want someone who will be full time and also direct the band at the youth Mass. Neither of those things suits me so the job is for someone else. I am curious about who we will get. Will it be a traditionalist who thinks that nothing suitable has been written since the death of Palestrina? Or perhaps a modernist who believes that all the music for Mass should be as current as the songs on the radio? More likely than either of these, the person will fall somewhere in between. But where?

I have a friend that would make an excellent candidate except for the fact that he is living and pursing a lifestyle that is totally incompatible with serving in a leadership capacity in the Church. There are some in the parish that would overlook my friend’s public and well-known indiscretions because he is talented. This guy is my friend but if he gets the job, I will have to stop doing music and may have to leave the parish. I will not help him to mock what the Church believes, professes, and teaches.

What I want is a musician who believes, as I do, that good liturgical music from all eras should be represented. From compositions by Bach, to hymns of the 1800s, to the music that was used in the 50s, to Glory and Praise selections, the music of Haugen, Haas, Farrell, Hurd, on through the music that is being written today. The Church gives us three judgments with regard to the music that is selected. 1) It must be good music. We musicians will disagree when it comes to this but a director is, by the nature of his position, in charge. 2) It must be liturgical. This is the biggest problem I have with so much of the music that is done at LIFE TEEN Masses. Also why I won’t do Marian hymns on most Sundays of the year. 3) It must be pastoral. In other words, is it right for these people at this time? This third point seems to be what youth Mass types hang their hats on. But we cannot ignore any of the three judgments. If a song only meets two of them, it should not be used.

Well, I look forward to working with whoever is selected. Or at least making the attempt.

On opining

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For at least the last 20 years, I can see that I have been pretty opinionated. In my late teens and early twenties, every opinion and point of view that I had was of equal value and equal importance. What validated these opinions? Little more than my own sense of righteousness and how smart I thought I was.

Over time, I think I have softened. Not that I don’t think I’m smart or righteous, but I understand now that not every opinion I have is equally important and valuable. These days, I can refrain from expressing my point of view on some things. Who cares if ranch dip tastes better than French onion? (It does.) Or which game is better, World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings: Online? (LOTRO for the win!) Or who’s hotter, Jessica Alba or Jessica Biel? (Alba of course.)

In some cases, it’s because I realize that this is some of that small stuff that we shouldn’t sweat. Sometimes it’s because I really don’t care. And occasionally, it’s because it’s just not worth getting into the debate with the other person. “Believe what you want! Have fun being wrong!” is what I think at those times. And yes, it is satisfying to be right. But I am coming to know that often, there is no right and wrong, just different. This is a hard lesson for me. My overdue thanks go out to all who have helped me to learn it and my apologies to all who have to continue to assist in my education.

But there are things that are important; things that go to the core of what makes me the person whom I perceive myself to be. On these matters, it is perhaps more imperative to express my opinion, to engage in debate. Those are the times that I want desperately to change the mind of the other person. More often than not, I can’t. Blast!

So, from time to time you might catch me staking out a pretty inflexible position on some issue or another. Just be patient, try to understand what I'm trying to say, and above all, know that I am right.

Lord of the Rings Online : Book 10 Release Date Announced

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I'm always up for more content!

Turbine has announced that the release date for Book 10: The City of the Kings, the next free expansion for Lord of the Rings Online will be August 20th. The new expansion will feature a number of changes to monster play, as well as over 100 new quests, and the new reputation and barter systems.

read more | digg story

Weekend recap

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This weekend was the penultimate 3-day weekend of the summer before MJC returns to a 5-day, 8-hour schedule. While it’s nice to have Fridays to do whatever, I look forward to getting back to regular hours. With Fridays off, it feels like too much time elapses between the last day of work for a week and the first day of work for the next. Yeah, weird, I know.

So here’s what happened over the weekend.

Thursday night, I went down to the community center to observe the dress rehearsal for a friend’s dance recital. I had been asked to video record the performance and I wanted to get a sense of how it would look through the camera.

Friday, I got up late, played on the computer for most of the day and attended the dance recital in the evening. The dances were good and I enjoyed the show. The performance did suffer from poor lighting and there was an unnecessary intermission and WAY too much talking between dances, but these problems, rather than suggest to me that it was a failure, made me hope that these things can be fixed and improved. That can be a subtle difference but a significant one.

On Saturday, I hosted a Community Education trip to the Giants game. On my way to the school in the morning, I was rear-ended. Very little damage but it delayed me and even if it hadn’t, who enjoys being in an accident? Anyway, the weather over in San Francisco was pleasantly cool, maybe too cool, and everyone on the trip enjoyed the day despite the Giants' loss. It did eat up the entire day and I was able to spend only a few hours in the evening playing LotRO and watching tv.

I got up early on Sunday to go do music at the morning Masses. Jody’s daughter, Hilary, and Hilary’s new husband, Christoph sang with us. With the addition of Don, we had a crowded little space up there. Then I sang with the choir for the 10:00 Mass. It wasn’t bad, actually. I think if they discontinued using the microphones, they’d sound better, so I’ll work on making that happen. Kyle asked if he could come play bassoon with me at the 11:30 Mass next Sunday so that will be pretty cool. Then there was the 11:30 Mass which went fine. It was Mike, Christy, and me. The rest of the day was spent online with Danny and Suzanne.

Some of the tv I watched this weekend: Scrubs, Eureka, Flash Gordon, Psych (I love this show! It has all these obscure 70s and 80s pop culture references that the characters acknowledge are obscure references. Just my kind of thing!), Dead Zone, and Burn Notice. You might think this is a lot of tv, and you may be right. But I tivo everything and skip the commercials so that cuts viewing time by 20% or so. Yeah, yeah. Excuses, excuses. I like tv. Sue me.

I also found time to mow and water my lawns this week.

Busy times ahead! Proceed with caution.

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We are in the last throes of summer before the fall semester starts. Just 3 weeks to go! I’m looking forward to being fairly busy for a few months.

I will continue to take the water aerobics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I haven’t exactly seen results but it can’t hurt.

Immediately following class on Tuesdays, I will rush over to Community Orchestra. I’ll be playing percussion again and maybe viola as well. We’ll see if the stuff is easy enough to fake it.

I am also enrolled in the String Orchestra. This is the class that has music that I might actually be able to play. Class meets on Wednesdays and Fridays during the day. I’ll be taking a long lunch to attend.

On Monday nights I will be taking a beginning photography class. I plan on purchasing a camera in a couple of months so I thought it would be a good idea to start to learn about depth of field and composition and shutter speed and the like.

I am switching church music practice to Wednesday evenings and I will be attending choir practice on Thursdays on the weeks I am not attending a Knights of Columbus meeting.


All of this barely leaves time for online gaming and television, which as I’ve said before, really kicks into gear in the fall. Perhaps I need a class on time management…

Gems I've found

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Recently, I’ve spent way too much time looking for interesting blogs. I’ve spent even more time reading the ones I find. I say way too much because it can be so engaging that I end up doing little else. In the course of my meanderings, I have found a couple of posts that I want to share.

The first is from Twenty Sided, a blog that appeals to the role-playing gamer in me. There are two series of posts that I have really enjoyed reading here, DM of the Rings and a narrative of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. You should check them out. But I love this post. It makes me wish I spent more time thinking about these kinds of things. (Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd.) If only I were so creative!

The next blog is called AdSense Tracker. It is “for the purpose of testing Google Adsense ads to see if they actually work and if they actually pay off”. The blogress is friendly and helpful and she is WAY more Web 2.0 savvy than me. She references many sites and services and a poor newbie blogger like me has trouble keeping up. But, I enjoy reading what she posts, and like I said, she’s so helpful and friendly. She recently posted a list of guidelines for good blog networking. If you are new to blogging, I suggest you read through her archives to benefit from her experience.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.


The illusion of security

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Well, good news. I will not have to change departments for at least the next several months. I had a talk with my boss, the VP of Instruction, and she was totally ok with making no changes at this time. She was pretty cool and very easy to talk to about the whole thing.

So. For today and for this weekend, I feel pretty secure with my job. But as experience has shown me, that can be fleeting. I will enjoy it while it lasts and try to hold onto it as long as I can.