Holy Week is the busiest time for any liturgical musician. When I was at the cathedral in Sheffield I always tried to get all the printing completed 2 weeks before the event so that I could have the energy to do the week. This year I managed to get it all done about 10 days beforehand which given my increased activity was something of a success!
Palm Sunday saw each Mass starting with the celebration outside the church. I was amazed at how the various congregations responded to my sung antiphon setting. Then I dashed inside to start the entrance song ‘All glory laud and honour’. We are lucky that our church has a sound system which projects outside as well as inside so the radio microphones were as effective inside as out. Unfortunately our Pastor was silent as he had lost his voice completely.
On Monday, a day off, I relaxed until I had to leave for the Chrism Mass rehearsal at the cathedral. The rehearsal went well and I had a good chat with the organist Adam Brakel and the Director Chris Berke. The following day we were back again for the celebration itself.
This was the first Chrism Mass with our new bishop, the 6ft 8in Gregory Parkes. Also in attendance were retired bishops from South Africa and elsewhere and the Bishop of St Leo and St Augustine. The procession of priests and deacons took an age but the processional song was timed to perfection and included a choral setting by Stadler of Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! This might have been frowned at by bishops in UK but here it was the norm. He certainly is a tall priest!
After the Mass the musicians were treated to a fine meal which gave us the chance to chat a while. Then I drove back across the Bay to Tampa where I worked a few hours before the final choir practice which went well.
Wednesday was a free day witha funeral thrown in for good measure. Thursday marked the start of Triduum and musicians met at 6pm for a brief rehearsal followed by Mass at 7pm. this went really well and 30 minutes afterwards I led sung Night Prayer.
On Friday we reconvened for the Passion service and a prior rehearsal at 2pm. On Saturday one of my cantors and I did the music for a funeral at the Garden of Memories. The eulogies went on for ever but I got out after 80 minutes. In the evening I returned to church to do final prep for the Easter Vigil. we rehearsed an hour beforehand and then started the vigil at 8.30pm finishing at 11.40pm. Some 25 people were received into the church. After the celebrations the deacon approached me to ask me if I wanted to play for a wedding! One of the received, who had been married for over 20 years , wanted to get married in the church so a brief liturgy later her wishes were fulfilled. there was a bit of a party in the hall and after a nibble I returned home for a long-awaited single malt.
I was up again at 5am in order to get to the 6am Sunrise Mass. It was very well attended and the sun rose just as I was singing ‘as morning breaks’ by Joncas! It was the most tired I had been for a while but several people brought me food to keep my energy levels up. The usual sequence of Masses followed (7.30, 9.30, 11am and 12.45pm) and then I returned home to watch Chelsea get beaten by Man Utd (ugh). I managed to get a couple of hours sleep before heading back to church again for the 7pm Mass. Once the liturgical aspects were completed I headed for a local bar for a couple of pints and then some home poured rum and cokes.
Monday was a relaxing day at the beach followed by bar time and the watching of the final Star Wars movie (no 6). I had expected to receive pre-approval for a mortgage but this was delayed for some reason. I suspect that my viewings would also be delayed a day until Wednesday. I have seen several properties advertised in which I am interested but you can never tell until you have seen it in the brick and mortar!
It was a pleasant end to such a busy period to collect from my post box a tax rebate of almost $1000!