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Inconsequentials & Trivialities » 2007

Music at St. Stanislaus revisited

A few weeks ago, I told the powers that be at St. Stanislaus that I wanted to stop doing the music at the Saturday evening Mass. I said that I’d continue through the end of the year but as of the latter part of December, someone else needed to step up. I suggested that perhaps I could alternate weeks with someone. So Cathy spoke to Kyle and Kyle agreed to alternate weeks with me. But, rather than wait for the end of the year, he was ready to start this next weekend. So, effective immediately, I only do the music every other week.

The Bad: This will mean slightly less income for the next couple of months. Sharing a Mass means that there is much greater chance for inconsistency to develop in the repertoire and so forth.

The Good: Some of my Saturdays will no longer be interrupted midway through the day. Maybe this will lead to greater cooperation amongst the musicians at the various Masses. I won’t burn out so soon.

Now if only Mike comes back to resume playing at the 8:30 on Sunday mornings, I can go down to one Mass per weekend again.

Lori’s party photos

As promised, here are some photos from my friend Lori’s party.

Weekend recap

So I had a really good weekend. On Friday night, I went out with about 20 coworkers to celebrate Lori’s birthday. People started to gather at Lori’s house at 7:00 and we had some drinks, appetizers, makeup checks, etc. At 8:00, the limo arrived and we took some final group photos and left for dinner. We arrived at Fuzio’s and met more of our party that were there waiting for us. Dinner was good and we made sure that everyone who walked by our group knew that we’d arrived in a limo.

After dinner (and more drinks) we piled back into our sweet, sweet ride and cruised around town for a bit. We hit several clubs that night and a good time was had by all.

On Saturday, I overslept and missed a meeting of the Parish Coordinators for the Catholic Legislative Network from our diocese. Oh well. I am happy to report that I was productive that morning, nonetheless. I straightened up my place, putting away boxes, thoroughly vacuuming the entire house, and putting a slip cover back on the couch. I even did some dishes. Mary came over in the afternoon to watch a couple episodes of Survivor (so now we’re only 1 behind!) and I showed her Pushing Daisies, which she liked.

I played for Mass, as usual and afterwards, went out to P. Wexford’s to enjoy the Irish Sessuin that occurs on the first Saturday of each month. My friend, Tawny and her sister met me there and we had a fun time talking and sharing stories.

Sunday, I woke up late and had to rush to get to church for the 8:30 Mass. I was on time but my voice was not ready for the day. I played/sang for 2 Masses but I had the 11:30 off because the Philipino group plays on the first Sunday of every month. I stopped at the taco trucks to get a burrito on the way home and bought lunch for a homeless guy, Mark. For the rest of the day, I played LOTRO with Danny, Lance, and Suzanne. Finally, in the evening I watched a little TV and stayed up too late playing Alpha Centauri on the computer.

Good times.

Lori’s birthday

My friend and coworker, Lori, turned 40 yesterday. You’d never know it to look at her. She looks no older than 30. The other girls in her office had a surprise breakfast for her in the morning. The office was decorated quite nicely and there were pastries, bagels, fruit, linguisa, pancakes, an egg bake casserole, muffins, and orange juice. There were also many visitors present and it was a really nice thing for Lori.

Tomorrow night, a bunch of us are going out to dinner downtown. We’re going to pile into a limo and party it up into the wee hours of the morning. This is a White Party so all the ladies will be dressed in white while the men get to wear slacks or jeans with white shirts. I expect that everyone will look great and it should be a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll have pictures to share afterwards.

The fall season

One of the first things I do every morning when I get into work is to check my email. This includes my work email, MySpace email, and my gmail account; sometimes Yahoo email but almost never my SBC Global account. With MySpace, there’re not only messages to read, but bulletins from friends, new friend requests (from girls who are wondering why MySpace won’t let them post their sexy pictures) to mark as spam, and blog postings.

So I read a blog posting this morning from my friend Tawny. She was writing about her reaction to the fall TV series premier week. This made me realize that I need to let you all know about what I am watching these days. So here goes.

A very busy night for the ole tivo. I have Chuck, Heroes, Journeyman, and Prison Break. There’s also a dumb sitcom called The Big Bang Theory that is pretty lame but the theme song is by the Barenaked Ladies. So I’m giving the show a shot in case it gets better.


Bionic Woman, Life, and a quirky little show called Pushing Daisies

Another busy night. Survivor: China, Smallville, My Name Is Earl, The Office, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. I’m going to check out Big Shots as well to see if it’s any good.

Stargate: Atlantis

I don’t think I’m recording anything on these nights right now.

I’m not sure what night it comes on but I am recording Survivorman too. It’s more for something to have on in the background while I’m on the computer than a show I need to sit and watch.

Starting in the near to medium future, I will be recording Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica. And as I’ve posted about before, when they come back I’ll record Psych, Monk, Eureka, and Burn Notice.

Thanks to my friend, Tawny, for the inspiration to post this!

The next big thing (to buy)

I am planning on purchasing a digital slr camera. Right now I’m trying to decide between a Nikon D40 and a D40X. The difference is about 4 megapixels and a couple hundred dollars. I plan on making this purchase the first week of December.
I’m kind of hoping that there will be some price cuts or sales happening at the time.

A coworker recently bought a D40X package from Costco. She got the camera body, a couple of lenses and a flash, I think. The price for this was $999.99 plus tax with an instant $50 rebate. I’ve placed both cameras on my Amazon wishlist. Compare and let me know what you think of the difference. And feel free to buy me something from the list. Items start at $.01.

LotR movie making inspires medical scanner.

Pretty cool story about new technology.

read more | digg story

Letter to Fr. Arouje

Fr. Arouje,

I wanted to express some of my ideas for music ministry here at St. Stanislaus. I have been involved with music ministry for over 20 years, serving at a number of parishes throughout the diocese, including 5 years as Music Director at St. Anthony’s in Hughson.

Ideally, I would like to see the following:

• One person overseeing the music for all Masses and celebrations of Sacraments (including weekends, weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmation, etc.).

• A commitment to a common repertoire for the entire parish. I do not think it is a healthy thing that the various Masses can be so distinct and even different. We are one parish and people should be able to participate in the singing no matter which Mass they attend on any given week. There is some room for options but 85% of the music we sing at the parish should be from a common repertoire.

• We should be selecting music that reflects the seasonal nature of the Church calendar.

• In selecting music, we must adhere to the principles the Church gives us. Music must pass the Musical Judgment, the Liturgical Judgment, and the Pastoral Judgment. One or even two of the three of these is not sufficient. It must pass all three. And appropriate music from all times in the Church should be used. The best of what was composed hundreds of years ago, to what’s being written now, and everything in between, so far as it passes the three judgments.

• Music that is selected should be done so with the intention that there will be congregational singing. Occasional choir anthems or songs that are to be listened to but not sung by the congregation may at times be ok, but they are not the norm.

• Recruiting of musicians should be not for any one group, but for the parish.

• (I could go on, but these are enough.)

If for whatever reason we cannot, at this time, find an appropriate person to be the Music Director, I think that the current set of musicians should work as a committee to select music and plan for the seasons. We need to start planning for the time when we will have fewer Masses each weekend which in turn will mean, perhaps, fewer musicians will be needed. As we anticipate people from the six English Masses we have now being mixed together in as few as three or four English Masses after the new church is built, it is important that we be able to ‘hit the ground running’ once we make the move to the new building.

I am willing and eager to serve God, the Church, the ministry of music, and the people of God as we move forward over the next several months and years and I look forward to working with whomever is hired.


Seán Fornelli

Director of Music – Who will it be?

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

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.

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