Saturday, June 30, 2012
UPDATED! A NEW PRIEST IN THE DIOCESE AND THIS MOST HUMBEL REPORTER AND BLOGGER'S REVIEW OF THE CATHEDRAL'S ORDINATION RITE
A few hours ago I got back from a priestly ordination for Father Jason Adams at our Cathedral, our new bishop's first priestly ordination.
The music ministry was provided by St. John Catholic Church's youth choir in Valdosta and their cantor, choir director and organist.
It was splendid and I will note that the Cathedral has finally dropped the contemporary Litany of the Saints (thank God) and for the first time in a decade used the traditional one. It has been slightly revised and this was the first time I heard the revised English Litany. It was done marvelously by a very well "voiced" cantor and the organist discreetly making some accompanying melodies, but very discreetly.
The youth choir is the parish's elementary school's choir. They are indeed first class. All their motets such as "Ave Verum," "Take and Eat" and "Do You Know Your Shepherd's Voice?" done at Holy Communion were outstanding.
As well for the Investiture with stole and chasuble they sang "the Call" by Toolan--outstanding. I haven't heard that in many years, but they sung it in such a classical way and it was very moving!
Their processional was "God we Praise You" and recessional choice was Te Deum Laudamus (Bedford) with a refrain that was too difficult for the congregation due largely in part because it was unknown.
Now my critique:
First this choir and music ministry was outstanding and blew me away and they could sing at any Cathedral in the world, they were that good!
My biggest complaint or alarm had to do with the Instrumental Processional that was absolutely stunning, but I believe inappropriate for an ordination or really for any Church liturgy. It was "Entrata Festiva" (Flor Peeters) and had all kinds of fanfares, organ, trumpets,tympani and cymbals. It was entirely too triumphalist and coronation like in style. But it was stunning, absolutely stunning, although the cymbals sounded out of place in the Church and way too loud in our Cathedral's acoustics, although I love tympani. Can the cymbals though! Cymbals are thoroughly too loud and have a cheesiness quality during the Sacred Liturgy!
The Gloria was the Mass of Creation as were the Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Agnus Dei. They were sung classically but I think I would have liked a different Gloria sung straight through and without refrain and a choir Agnus Dei.
I would have preferred the English Missal's chant for the Sanctus and perhaps using the Jubilatio Deo Mass in Latin for all Cathedral Liturgies especially bilingual ones although yesterday's ordination was not bilingual. The Gregorian Chant melodies would have brought a more humble and sober note to the quality of the music.
Instead of the coronation fanfare for the first part of the Procession, I would have loved to have heard this choir chant the EF's Introit for Ordinations and then go into "God We Praise You." That would have set a different tone and signaled this was an ordination of a humble transitional deacon and not the triumphal coronation of a king.
Please note this Hollywood Production (which doesn't sound Hollywood at all compared to the Hollywood sound of the "Entrata Festiva" and some of the other music in this production). The processional is like a horse race, but it is the music I would like for you to note especially at the Entrance and other parts and how Hollywood knew how to portray the sacred character of the EF's Ordination Rite, very sober, isn't it?
The other antiphons were lacking too at the Offertory and at Communion. I don't know what is prescribed for the various parts of the ordination but I would always suggest using that first.
But overall, this ordination was marvelous and the music exquisite. I would simply encourage the Cathedral Music Ministry to move in the direction of becoming a model for the rest of the diocese in the recovery of the official Propers of the Mass, the Introit, the Offertory and Communion Antiphons as well as the propers of particular rites during the actual rite such as Ordinations and weddings.