Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where to START...

Today has been approximately a day and a half already, and it ain't over yet.

Yesterday we received official notice that we are to welcome our Primate (think, Presiding Bishop) here at MH & U, to preach and preside at both services on Sunday, May 11th, the Feast of Pentecost (all day long!), Mother's Day in the civic calendar, and -- later in the afternoon -- the consecration of our new Bishop here in Prairie Diocese. (Which is why His Grace will be in town...it ain't just our beaux yeux, alas.)

Much joy, right? A signal honour for a parish. Hasn't happened here in living memory. May not happen again any time soon.

Signal for a collective pulling up of socks and pulling down of vests, shining of shoes, general dusting and buffing, the whole bit.

We shift now into a minor key. Sunday, May 11th, is also, according to our music calendar..."BAND Sunday," which happens once a month between September and June. On BAND Sunday, the music is handled by an aggregation of guitar-players, drummers, maraca-shakers, tambourine-specialists, and the repertoire....is restricted, shall we say. The prevailing style is something between C&W and "Sunday morning at the Folk Music Festival" with occasional infusions from the "Gather" book; or the oeuvre of Steve Bell; now and then something from our own Book of Common Praise, usually originating in the Southern Harmony or other nineteenth-century revival-ish list. Members of the BAND sing, according to the varying gifts that are in them. Meantime the two-manual Casavant pipe-organ stands silent, the seven-foot Yamaha grand, ditto, and the members of the chancel choir, for the most part, are absent altogether...

So. A primatial visit, and the BAND...

Also, possibly, a baptism (I'm incorrigible, you see).

Question. If we have all-the-musicians-we-have, at this very special service, can this be made to work, at all?

Music Director takes up the matter, tentatively, by email, with BAND leader. BAND leader takes umbrage, big time, and sends plangent, embittered email to the Rambler...complaining that he and his gang have been de-spi-sed and re-jec-ted, etc. etc. thereby staking a claim to the lower slopes of Mt. Hurt Feelings.

Brief Machiavellian conference between Music Director and the Rambler, just before previously scheduled face-to-face meeting between MD and BL.

Into which meeting the Rambler erupts, waving printout of BAND Leader's email, and planting her flag firmly on the summit of Mt. Hurt Feelings, emotes as follows: "How COULD you believe that we would do or even contemplate such a thing, first I was concerned and now I am furious, how long have you KNOWN us for pity's sake..." etc., collapse into armchair with wrist to brow.

They want DRAMA, then by the Lord Harry, I'll give them DRAMA till it comes out their noses (cf. quails, Numbers 11:20ff.)

And so the problem was sol-ved, and the organ and choir will make music until Communion, when the BAND will take over with Communion music, anthem, recessional hymn, and postlude.

Returning to her own office in understandable triumph from this confrontation, the Rambler trod heavily on one of her own mouse-traps....

Now all I have left to deal with is the expressed desire of the former Rector of MH&U who retired 25+ years ago (after 22 years in the parish), and has just celebrated the 70th anniversary of his ordination, to return to MH&U in order to be congratulated in person by the flock here. Most of whom, as he does NOT realize, weren't members of the congregation or indeed even BORN when he retired. Thereby not knowing him from Adam's off ox.

And his choice of occasion? Why, May 11th as ever was...

And meantime the building is taken over by film crew...rushing in and out and making strange thumpings and hammerings, as they transform the premises into a facsimile of Our Lady of Perpetual Whatever...no doubt to the outrage of the ancestral spirits, Protestants to a man (and a woman).


oh BTW we did Marriage Prep with eleven couples this weekend, and it ROCKED. A topic for another day!
and tomorrow is also a day.

14 comments:

Jan said...

Whew! I don't know you cope/live through all this. God must be empowering you!

suzanne said...

hmm, eleven marriages..... Doesn't that seem like an awful LOT of weddings, even to the point of DILUTING some of the SPECIALNESS of them?

Oh my, what a day and a half! And what a fine recounting of that day! And what a Day you will have on May 11th!

Perhaps you would like to come and visit Michigan that weekend?

I am sending prayers for a joyful celebration and preparation all 'round. Thank you for the smiles today.

Crimson Rambler said...

One of my more easily loved colleagues told a great story of a parish in rural England where the communion table was STILL placed lengthwise in the chancel, as it had been during the Puritan era, so that the communicants gathered around it to receive the sacrament. The Rector was asked how he ensured there was always enough room for all who wished to partake, and he said, sagely, "I always make sure that the number of confirmations does not exceed the number of funerals........"

Kate Morningstar said...

CR, if I was the Primate, I'd much rather listen to The Band than to the Choir and the Cassavant organ. He probably has to listen to them all the time. Of course, I'm the one who says, if they have organ music in heaven, I'm going to the other place.

Eleven marriages sounds wonderful!! And think of all the baptisms you might get in the next five years.

Rev SS said...

This post made me LOL .. and I'm with Kate Morningstar .. skip the organ music ... in heaven ...and on earth, thank you very much

I'd love to be there on 5/11!

Stealthy Dachshund said...

We're gonna process to band music... ohhhhhh yeeeeahhhhhh

SpookyRach said...

You are hillarious, CR. The Gaithers? Ohhhhh, yeah. What is it with praire people and the dang Gaithers???

You crack me up, impress the heck outta me with your wrist to the forehead confrontation tactics and improve my vocabulary all at once. What a deal!

SpookyRach said...

I don't think I've ever spelled prairie right on the first try ever in my entire life. Geeze.

Sue said...

Sorry, but I'm still chuckling over the term "Primate" - because I'm twelve. Picturing a big ape with a stole...

like I said - sorry.

I don't know how you juggle all of it, really.

Crimson Rambler said...

Some years ago a previous Primate received a mass-mailed questionnaire from a researcher into primatology, who hadn't fully appreciated the ALTERNATE sense of the word. The Primate's Secretary at the time composed a hilarious reply, which went around from hand to hand for a long time and was even -- I think -- published in the "Reader's Digest." "Yes, he does enjoy bananas, but also eats quite a varied diet" -- "I have no information on his mating habits, but as he and his wife have four children, I assume they are satisfactory" and so forth.

Sue said...

Oh my gosh, that's too funny CR. He eats bananas - heehee.

Shalom said...

Oh, I almost spit coffee on my keyboard laughing in complete commiseration with you (in harmony with you, perhaps?). Wars over music are always the most spectacular, no?

I had for years an organist who randomly added and subtracted beats during hymns and who, when asked, would reply simply, "well, that's just how I play it." Ah. The point is that you play it WRONG.

And if there is no organ music in heaven, then I shall reside happily in hell, I guess. Hope it all works out on the 11th.

Choralgirl said...

Hi! My wonderful pastor colleague forwarded this post to me; tears of mirth and recognition are streaming down my face. I'm a Lutheran music director with a definite choral-and-organ bent, having spent my wild-and-wooly adolescence perpetrating the first "Glory and Praise" hymnal upon my church community. Am now in full-throated repentance for same.

Musicians, man. ;-)

Thanks for the hilarity; blessings on your head!

Evelyn said...

Whew!

I just KNOW that May 11 will be a memorable day! I have a strange feeling, though, that you may want to FORGET a few of the days between now and then!

I can't wait to read about May 11!