Wednesday 9 December

Saturday started earlier than usual with office work in preparation for a forthcoming recording of a mass for SpiritFM. I sometimes feel that those who sign up for such activities have no idea of the impact on musicians! I had liturgically appropriate song choices to make, decisions about who should sing/play and instrumental arrangements to complete. Fortunately my friend Bernadette Farrell was able to supply an instrumental arrangement for one song used on a recording.

Then at 3pm began the usual cycle of rehearsals and Masses which characterised the weekend. Normally on the Sunday afternoon I would have returned home for 4 hours but on this occasion I retired to a nearby Cuban restaurant and then returned to work.

Following a generous gift to the Music department I had been able to purchase dedicated microphones, cables and stands for use in the church. They were used for the first time this weekend and what a difference they made!

I had decided to work on Monday so there I was at 9am working on something or other prior to attending a funeral in the church later in the morning. It was a wonderful celebration in the grieving family who may have had poor experiences of church in the past were made to feel welcome through a skilful and sensitive priest and through my own attention to their requirements. When people are on the edge of church they sometimes lose contact with which songs are appropriate for liturgy. They had requested ‘When Irish eyes are smiling’ and ‘Silver Bells’. There was a clear family association which prompted these songs so I transferred them to the visitation hour immediately before the funeral Mass. The priest stole the show by giving everyone present a silver bell at the end of Mass!

On Monday evening we celebrated the Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception. This was followed on Tuesday by further Masses at 8.30 (with school), 12.15pm and 7pm. It was a very ‘bitty’ day with periods of work broken up by masses and the usual music practice with the school.

A trip to Goodwill found me buying 5 shirts! They were extraordinarily vibrantly coloured shirts by the designer Jhane Barnes. These would normally retail at over $100 (!) but were a steal at $5 each.

Wednesday began with the usual school Mass, then in the following hour I completed the instrumental arrangements for SpiritFM before attending a Liturgy Meeting. We have been working on establishing priorities both short-term and long-term and the results showed a remarkable convergence of opinion. After the meeting we had our bi-monthly staff lunch in which we celebrate staff birthdays.

I had worked so many hours this week that I decided to go home on afternoon for a few hours. Just before 5pm I received an email about a forthcoming funeral which had been scheduled for the same time as my extraordinary Christmas Choir rehearsal. We re-jigged things a bit and both events should now continue. But this meant I had to return early to create everything I needed for that rehearsal. Later that evening I led the weekly choir practice which was well attended and good fun. I finished the evening over a few drinks with my friend Marty Purtell. He is a local doyen of musicians but has recently retired from his prestigious post and has chosen to sing with us whenever he can. It is so useful to have him around and to be able to bounce ideas off him.



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