Behind the quiet, introverted, melancholic countenance of this young man dwells a lion -
Here are some highlights from the annual CSOTFA championships in Oroville last month:
Here are two versions of an old folk song, known as both “The Cruel Mother” and “Down by the Greenwood Side”. The lyrics are chillingly appropriate for the commemoration of Roe vs. Wade on January 22.
As mentioned previously, my two oldest participated in a student-led choir while at the high school summer program of Thomas Aquinas College. Someone was thoughtful enough to make a couple of recordings for the families back home.
There is something about the Old World – a secret – that gives its people a peace about life. We Americans are about new beginnings, forgetting the past, starting over. That’s not all bad: it’s a very Franciscan quality. Heaven knows I depend on it daily. But the Old World is drenched in blood, it’s civilization founded on murder, every square inch of land the site of some unfathomable atrocity. And yet, there is no peace like an Old World peace. I don’t know what to make of this peace, but I need it. America needs it.
Last week our fair city of Chico hosted the annual Summer Music Academy sponsored by the Music Teacher’s Association of California – Butte County Branch. The event was held in the classrooms and sanctuary of Chico’s historic Bidwell Presbyterian Church. Dozens of rising young musicians received specialized instruction from master teachers in violin, viola, cello, piano, and harpsichord. In return, they performed three concerts for the community on Friday and Saturday featuring the works of Bach, Mozart, Hayden, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and other renowned composers.
We had the great pleasure of hosting Dr. Ljubomir Velickovic and his son, along with another music student, which made for some lively musical gatherings in our living room!
I have to tell you, as a non-musician, the joy and enthusiasm that real music brings into the lives of these young people is something to envy. One of my favorite pastimes has become simply watching musicians when they get together. It doesn’t take long before the small talk is out of the way and they start making music somehow. What a gift it must be to have that instant musical bond with strangers! This is our third year of participation, and it’s been nice turning strangers into friends as we get to know some of the other families.
As for the music itself, we are fortunate in that MTAC-Butte has thus far been committed to the great “canon” of the western tradition. Now and then, sure, the teachers introduce something different just for fun, but there is no egotistical thirst for radical experimentation among the teachers here, no chasing after showtunes and pop culture. The students learn the highest and best music that our civilization has produced, and they learn it well. First things first.
The Catholic News Service has a good article on last month’s Sacred Music Colloquium in Salt Lake City:
The event opened June 25 and ran through July 1. More than 200 attendees enjoyed six full days of activities, which culminated with a Mass at the cathedral, bringing together parishioners and colloquium participants to hear music from association members.
“They sing like angels,” said Mary Cohchran, a cathedral parishioner who was attending the Mass with her family. “We are all stunned by all this magic.”
“I didn’t know today we would hear this beautiful music, I am glad that we are here,” fellow parishioner Michael Leal told the Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of the Salt Lake City Diocese.
During the week, the colloquium participants gathered in rehearsals and classes to further their knowledge and enrich their parish music ministries.
“This colloquium has enriched me in all three senses: musically, spiritually and intellectually. Everything was perfect,” said Frank Merhart, who came from Virginia.
The colloquium’s primary focus was instruction in chant and the Catholic sacred music tradition. Activities included participation in chant choirs, daily and nightly lectures and performances, and daily celebrations of liturgies in both English and Latin.
Here’s a small taste of what the participants experienced:
I think my favorite verse of Ca C’est Bon (“it is good”) - near as I can make out the words – is this:
Our children played in the storm
We gave them life
They gave us heaven
Laughter in the rain.
I gave you my heart
And you gave me yourself
“Ca c’est bon, ca c’est bon” -
Cried the hurricane.
That about sums it up.
How do our children give us heaven? Three ways: 1. By their joy and innocence, a foretaste of heaven; 2. By the many trials of parenthood, our sanctification; 3. By their prayers for us.