Showing posts with label church music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label church music. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How great this is

If you're a Southerner of a certain age (say mine and up) there are a few things that hit you where you live. And it doesn't matter whether you're Catholic, Protestant, heathen . . . whatever.

One of them is "How Great Thou Art." Every person not born a sociopath has -- somewhere -- a button that can be pressed, one that bypasses the brain and everything else and makes a direct connection to the soul.

"How Great Thou Art" presses that button for those of us born and raised in the South. Well, let's just say it does for me, and I'd wager that I'm a pretty typical specimen of the species.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD nails the church classic above, but if you're like me -- 50ish and born Southern -- this is the version you hear in your mind's ear:

AND LET ME say this while I'm at it:

A million Marty Haugens sitting at a million keyboards and scribbling on a million notation sheets couldn't come up with one "How Great Thou Art."
Not in a million years.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

It's oy veh, oy veh. . . .

Kill me now. No . . . wait. No need to. Just let this here video play out, and that should do the trick.

Is it just me, or did Christianity start to lose its savor (if not its Savior) when it stopped leading the culture -- embracing and creating art for beauty's sake, because beauty itself is a manifestation of the divine in this world -- and started following a false gospel of crass utilitarianism?

I wonder what went first, the church's mind or its heart?

You remember how, in "American Pie," Don McLean sang "the Father, Son and Holy Ghost caught the last train for the coast"? I now know why the Holy Trinity might have done that.

Sorry, guys, there's no escaping sanctified diarrhea like "Sunday," which merely rebrands the secular diarrhea of Rebecca Black's "Friday." And sadly, the fact remains that crap like this is about the best American Christianity can muster anymore.

crap-evangetastic mush such as this liturgical lounge lizardry if the mere association weren't totally unfair to Nick the Lounge Singer.

It ain't
rocket science, brothers and sisters.

If you spend four or five decades bombarding the wretched masses with superficial garbage and calling it Christian, don't be shocked that the world isn't beating a path to the church house door. Even heathens (well, some of them, at least) have standards.

And eventually, they come to think that God is as full of crap as His people.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mrs. Beamish be with you

The Twitters helped me find this video. Well, the Interwebs are good for something, then, ain't they?

For, you see, I am Mrs. Beamish. In church, the "sign of peace" gives me the willies, particularly when some snot-nosed kid has been sniffling and hacking his way through Mass.

And I hate tambourines. That goes double for rain sticks (if you have to ask, don't).

Frankly, as put by the heroine of Thomas Day's excellent book
Why Catholics Can't Sing, "I don't believe in that s***."

I BELIEVE in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

I also believe that Marty Haugen is a liturgical lounge lizard, and David Haas, too. And I don't believe in heavy drinking before Mass, but don't think I haven't been tempted.

Mrs. Beamish, wherever you are, I'll escort you to the local, and we'll lift a pint or three.

HAT TIP: The Chant Café

Monday, January 10, 2011

Simply '70s: The sounds of '75

Nineteen seventy-five.

That was the year the final results were tallied . . . and we didn't Whip Inflation Now. This despite getting nifty little orange-and-white buttons at the supermarket the year before.

The first full year of the Ford Administration, though, was one that saw us glued to the radio, even though the price of both glue and radios was up.

On the other hand, after the initial audio-visual investment, hanging on every funky note played by folks like Billy Preston -- once known as "The Fifth Beatle" -- was free.

1975 ALSO was the year the Bee Gees were back. Big. With a new upbeat, funkier sound. Little did we know they'd end up being royalty in this new music people were calling "disco."

THERE WAS the lovely Yvonne Elliman, too. Wasn't she the gal who did "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on the "Jesus Christ Superstar" soundtrack?

Anyway, she was on
Soundstage with the Bee Gees. Here. she's doing her killer cover of Blind Faith's "I Can't Find My Way Home."

MEANWHILE, over on "Loose Radio" (or KQ-98 . . . or WRNO . . . or WNEW . . . or . . . well, you get the picture) there was this little thing by Lynyrd Skynyrd that, soon enough, would be a battle cry -- and the song we bugged the crud out of disc jockeys requesting late at night.

This performance was from the
BBC series, The Old Grey Whistle Test.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Glory bound

In the beginning (OK . . . 1983), there was the "Who Dat" song.

Now, the creators of dat have brought you dis Saints anthem -- "Glory Bound," featuring a couple of true New Orleans musical treasures, Theresa Andersson and Aaron Neville.

AREN'T YOU happy the Saints won the Super Bowl? After all, what could Indianapolis come up with for the Colts?

Anyone? Anyone?

I guess Indianapolis could have brought in Johnny Cougar John Cougar Mellencamp John Mellencamp to do "I Fight the Saints and the Saints Always Win," but what the hell fun would that have been? No, you're really glad the Saints won, and that you have New Orleans folk providing the Super Bowl soundtrack.

And if you buy the single, part of the proceeds go to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. Dat's cool, bra!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Context is everything

From that magnificent Year of Our Lord 1961, this is sublime.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet (he's on piano) performing "Take Five" -- written by alto-sax man Paul Desmond -- in glorious black and white . . . and monophonic sound. (And why isn't there more good jazz on TV nowadays?):

FROM THE Year of Our Inner Barbarian 2007, Ernest Sands' "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" is not only highly derivative, to say the least, but in the context of the sacrifice of the Mass certainly brings home the concept of "pick up your cross and follow me."

Preferably to a church where there's a music-free Mass.

And this video represents this song sung as well as it ever will be:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pass me that sticky roller, Tex

OK, I see this posted on Mark Shea's blog. "Looks interesting," think I, "don't have time to look at it."

So, a while ago, I see it on the Boar's Head Tavern blog. I decide maybe it's worth a look if the viral video has become this infectious.

As one of the cats at church might say, "That's totally sick!" I think that means good. Because it is. Hilariously so.

And so, so true. Metaphysically, of course.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reason 23,498,211 why Haugen ditties
have no place before the altar of God

Young people are spiritually and culturally impoverished today because they don't know hymn singin' like this from squat. They have been cheated because this is not part of their patrimony.

They lack intangible but sweet knowledge of the reality of God because they do not hear -- in their heads and in their DNA -- Odetta and Tennessee Ernie Ford singing praises to Jesus, and they do not know how even the hardest hearts can crumble before the power of beautiful voices singing old hymns.

MY PARENTS never darkened the doors of a church unless there was a coffin in the center aisle. But they had a copy of Tennessee Ernie's "Hymns," and his voice echoes in the head of this son of the South, and he is singing "Softly and Tenderly" and "The Old Rugged Cross."

God works in mysterious ways, and you didn't have to spend much time in church to know there was majesty and truth in the grooves of that old LP.

Today, I worship in the modern-day Catholic Church in modern-day America. More or less, that church in this country has s***canned 2,000 years of culture, art and musical majesty in favor of liturgical lounge lizardry by hack composers with disproportionate egos.

NEVERTHELESS, at the altar, the bread and wine still become Jesus Christ's Body and Blood. And in my head and in my heart, I still hear Tennessee Ernie singing to a God Who is still greater than ourselves.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Big Show's Xmas song list

Here's the lineup for this year's Christmas extravaganza on the Revolution 21 podcast.

The holidays: They're, uh, different here. Enjoy.

Bing Crosby & Judy Garland
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
1950 radio program

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters
Jingle Bells

Bing Crosby
Adeste Fideles

Aaron Neville
O Holy Night

Alison Moyet
The Coventry Carol

Campbell Brothers
Silent Night

Dodie Stevens
Merry Merry Christmas Baby

Lou Rawls
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Elvis Presley
Blue Christmas

Joss Stone
All I Want for Christmas

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Stan Freberg
Christmas Dragnet

Jackson 5
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

Bruce Springsteen
Merry Christmas Baby

Ohio Players
Happy Holidays Pt. 1

Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Harry Connick, Jr.
I Pray on Christmas

Joan Baez
Oh Happy Day

John Lennon
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Robert Earl Keen
Merry Christmas From the Family

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas. Here's the show.

Here's the Christmas 2007 episode of the Revolution 21 podcast. Just when you think you know where this show is going, it's going to humble you bad.

Just my Christmas gift to you.
Tee hee hee!

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, a blessed Christmas season to you all . . .
may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

Thanks, Mr. Berlin.

Oh, and here's something to hold close this Christmas. It's probably the most beautiful and profound carol ever written -- O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam, to the French poem, Minuit, chrétiens by Placide Cappeau:

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angels' voices!
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;
Oh night divine, Oh night, Oh night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Behold your King.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Au revoir, pas adieu

Our young friend, Chris Rudloff, lost his fight last night, about the time I was uploading that last post.

Chris was a special young man with a gleaming future ahead of him . . . ahead of them, Chris and the love of his life, Abby. It was just in May that we attended their wedding, then partied through the night in celebration of their future together.

WE JUST DIDN'T KNOW -- couldn't have even believed -- that future would be this damned short. It's not right, and it's not fair. Of course, not a damned thing about life is fair. Death, either.

I write this through my tears this cruel Christmastime, and nothing breaks my heart more than to think that, at such a young age, Abby is living the worst nightmare of any woman who looks upon her husband and sees the love of her life.
And of any man who desperately loves his wife and knows -- absolutely knows -- that it's all true when he calls her his "better half."

Likewise, it goes without saying how devastatingly wrong it is for any parent to bury a child.

This week before Christmas, I don't feel like decorating the tree. I don't want to do a Christmas edition of the Revolution 21 podcast. Particularly for us in Omaha, this season of good tidings and joy has brought in a harvest of death.

And now this for those of us who knew Chris and loved him.

WE WILL, however, decorate the tree. I will now get to work on putting together a Christmas podcast, though it may be a little late. It is necessary to celebrate the baby who came into the world to conquer death.

It is because of that first Christmas, that joyous day so long ago when God became man, that we now tell our friend Chris au revoir. Not adieu.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's not supposed to be this way

In all of my wife's and my years of helping out with youth group at our Catholic parish here in Omaha, there was one band of brothers who were absolute stalwarts in "Connections."

That would be Justin, Chris and Joel. Teen-agers aren't supposed to be that dependable . . . or universally good-natured . . . or selfless . . . or faith-filled, for that matter. It gets your attention when you run across the likes of Justin, Chris and Joel.

Mrs. Favog and I had the pleasure of watching this trio of eventual Eagle Scouts come into the high-school group as 14-year-old kids -- first Justin, then Chris a couple of years later, then Joel a couple of years after that. More than anything, you remember two things. First, that they were always there, and you could always count on them. Each of the three even worked in the church office.

Second, you remember knowing from the first time you saw them that they were going to grow up to be good men. God knows that's not nothing, not today. It's a lot.

OVER THE YEARS, amid the teen-age hustling mob, we watched Justin fall in love with Annie, then stand beside her right after graduation as she fought cancer. We always knew they'd get married, and they did -- we rushed to make it to a hurried ceremony at church, hours before Justin shipped off to Iraq.

He came back in one piece, finished his hitch, and then we watched as yesterday's high-school kids became parents of a dear little girl.

Likewise, we watched Chris grow into a fine young man and fall in love with Abby. I think "Connections," in some mystical Catholic way, must be some kind of institutional Yenta.

And this summer, after Chris' graduation from college, we all gathered for Chris and Abby's wedding. Of course, Joel -- the youngest sibling, now a newly minted paramedic -- was the life of the party.

A couple of us old farts reminded Joel that we
would blackmail him, just as soon as his future children were old enough to hear stories about their old man.

And after the honeymoon, Chris was off to optometry school in Philadelphia, where his bride would join him this winter after her graduation.

NOW CHRIS lies in grave condition in a Philly hospital, having fallen victim to something they call Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Today, the updates have gone from
so-so to catastrophic.

It's not supposed to be this way: Chris and Abby have their whole lives together before them.
Bright futures, successful careers, perfect children.

Grave illness is for middle-aged fat men like me. It's for those of us who have the luxury of thanking God for the grace of a life well lived, or mourning over roads not taken and opportunities squandered.

It's not fair that hopes and dreams, future years of marital love and generations to come should teeter upon some existential precipice, shakily tethered to this world by IV drips and a ventilator. There's something horribly and frighteningly wrong with this picture.

It's one of those mysteries we Catholics keep talking about. I've faced them before, real close to home. Now we face another.

And I hate it.

Please, if you have a moment, say a prayer for Chris and Abby. They need them so much, and life is so unfair.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Revolution will not be in Gather.

The Revolution will not be in your Gather hymnal.

The Revolution will not have a soundtrack written by Marty Haugen or warbled by the St. Louis Jesuits.

THE REVOLUTION will not be proclaimed on felt banners, nor will how it makes me feel be discussed in small groups.

The Revolution will have no liturgical dancers.

The Revolution will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized.

The Revolution will help you figure out just who the hell we are.

Saturday's Washington Post proclaims The Revolution -- started this year by Pope Benedict XVI:

Parts of it are 1,500 years old, it's difficult to understand, and it's even more challenging to watch. And it's catching on among young Catholics.

It's the traditional Latin Mass, a formal worship service that is making a comeback after more than 40 years of moldering in the Vatican basement.

In September, Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on celebrating Latin Mass, frequently called the Tridentine Mass, citing "a new and renewed" interest in the ancient Latin liturgy, especially among younger Catholics.

Spoken or sung entirely in sometimes inaudible Latin by priests who face the altar instead of the congregation, it is a radical departure for most Catholics, who grew up attending a more informal Mass celebrated in their native tongue.

"It's the opposite of the cacophony that comes with the [modern] Mass," said Ken Wolfe, 34, a federal government worker who goes to up to four Latin Masses a week in the Washington area. "There's no guitars and handshaking and breaks in the Mass where people talk to each other. It's a very serious liturgy."

And it is a hit with younger priests and their parishioners.

Attendance at the Sunday noon Mass at St. John the Beloved in McLean has doubled to 400 people since it began celebrating in Latin. Most of the worshipers are under 40, said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee.

Younger parishioners "are more reflective," McAfee said. "They want something uplifting when they go to church. They don't want something they can get outside."


Priests, musicians and laypeople are snapping up how-to videos and books, signing up for workshops and viewing online tutorials with step-by-step instructions on the elaborately choreographed liturgy. For example, the rubrics dictate that a priest must hold together the thumb and index finger of each hand for much of the Canon of the Mass, the central part of the liturgy that culminates with the consecration of bread and wine.

"I knew there would be some interest, but I didn't know how quickly it would spread and how really deep the interest was," said the Rev. Scott Haynes, a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who started a Web site in August offering instructions in celebrating the Mass.

So far, the Web site,, has received 1 million hits, Haynes said, adding that he receives several hundred e-mails a day from fans of the service. "I was surprised by how many people have latched on to this," he said.

Portions of the Tridentine Mass date back to the sixth century, but it was standardized at the Council of Trent in 1570 -- hence the name Tridentine. It was largely supplanted by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which modernized the Mass liturgy and translated it into modern languages.

The modern Mass, or Novus Ordo, can be said in Latin, but it is a radically different service from the Tridentine Mass. Until September, when the pope issued his Motu Proprio allowing greater freedom in celebrating the Tridentine Mass, priests who wanted to celebrate it needed special permission from their bishop, and it was celebrated at only a few churches in the Washington area.

In the Diocese of Arlington, where the bishop and priests are considered more conservative than in Washington, the number of churches where the service is celebrated has increased from two to seven since the Motu Proprio. The Arlington diocese, which stretches from Northern Virginia south to Lancaster and west to the Shenandoah, has sent six priests to a training center in Nebraska, at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter seminary, for an intensive seminar.