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Of Soulful Saints and Saintly Souls: a Choral Sampler (Sing Amen! the Podcast, episode 10)

Of Soulful Saints and Saintly Souls: a Choral Sampler (Sing Amen! the Podcast, episode 10)

(**UPDATE**
This episode was completed and recorded before the tragic events at Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday. Thus what brief narration and commentary I give on the episode does not address the tragedy of eleven people who lost their lives nor the countless numbers who grieve them. And even now, it becomes harder and harder to find words to address the senseless violence and hatred that seems to take more and more of our brothers and sisters each time we turn around…which is why, I suppose, we turn to music, to say what words cannot. So for all of those lost, and for all those who grieve…if all we can do is sing, sing their journey and sing their memory and sing the better world we wish we could have made for them, then that is what we must do, and continue to do…)

Somehow, October is nearly over, and November, with its inexorable push to longer nights and shorter days and years ending, is upon us. And it’s the week when, as a church, we turn to thoughts of our own mortality, and of those who have gone before us. This year is particularly poignant for me personally; last autumn at about this time I was traveling back East as often as I could get away in order to spend time with two people who were very dear to me and who were at that time facing big setbacks in their ongoing battles with cancer…we lost them both within a week of each other shortly after the new year. So I am listening to the music of these feasts with different ears than in years past, and finding in it a comfort I had not fully realized I needed…

This is one of those musical samplers that’s not particularly of use to people trying to plan music for parishes, since it’s basically launching mere days before the feasts it connects to (although I know I’m putting a bunch of these into my “hope chest” to maybe use next year)…but it’s also important for us to remember that sometimes we the ministers need ministering to just as much as anyone else. So I hope something in here can touch the hearts of all of us who this year are holding especially close to our hearts the memories of saintly souls and soulful saints we’ve had to let go of here on earth.

Peace!

–Jennifer

p.s. make sure you listen all the way to the end–in a moment of whimsy, I put at the end of this mostly reflective podcast Richard Proulx’s gently humorous account of the “Choirmaster at the Pearly Gates”…it always makes me smile. (Note: please do not take this piece as in any way reflective of thoughtful Catholic theology, or attempting to negate the promise of forgiveness and grace as free gift; it’s church musician humor, nothing more. 😉 )

Music heard on today’s podcast:

For All the Saints G-4540 (arr. John Bell)
As recorded on The Last Journey, CD-381 by the Cathedral Singers and John Bell

Sancti Dei Omnes (All you Saints of Heaven) G-3793 (arr. Richard Proulx)
As recorded on Let All Together Praise, CD-335, by Richard Proulx and the Cathedral Singers

The Cloud’s Veil G-4664 (Liam Lawton)
As recorded on Catholic Irish Classics, CD-915 by Liam Lawton, with Theresa Donohoo

Precious Lord G-7155 (by George N. Allen and Thomas Dorsey, arr. Nathan Carter)
As recorded on Great is thy Faithfulness, CD-999, a Tribute to the Life and Published Choral Works of Dr. Nathan Carter

Come to Me, O Weary Traveler, G-9135 (Sylvia Dunstan and Paul Tate)
As recorded on Life is Changed, Not Ended, CD-1044, by Paul Tate

Gospel Canticle of Simeon G-9721 (Michael Joncas)
as recorded on Deep and Lasting Peace CD-1047, by Michael Joncas

Lord our God, Receive your Servant G-4538 (John Bell)
As recorded on The Last Journey, CD-381 by the Cathedral Singers and John Bell

The Choirmaster at the Pearly Gates, by Richard Proulx
As recorded on Spirit of God Unleashed, CD-405

Full text:

The Choirmaster stood at the pearly gates
His face was worn and old,
He stood before the man of fate
For admission to the fold.
“What have you done,” Saint Peter said
“To gain admission here?”
“I’ve been a Choirmaster, sir,” he said,
“For many and many a year.”
The pearly gates flew open wide
Saint Peter touched the bell.
“Come in,” he said, “and choose your harp
You’ve had your share of hell.”

Anonymous (20th century, quoted from A Guest at Cambridge, 1998)

 

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

 

Conversation with David Haas, Part II: On Self-care and Avoiding Burnout (Podcast, Episode 9)

Conversation with David Haas, Part II: On Self-care and Avoiding Burnout (Podcast, Episode 9)

So out of David’s and my long conversation several months ago we were able to pull not one but two podcast episodes; the first one was two weeks ago (please check it out if you haven’t yet!), and here is part 2.

Here we go a little into what seems like one of the elephants in the room where church musicians are concerned–so many of us who for many years love our work and excel at it find ourselves at some point feeling completely overwhelmed and burned out, either choosing to leave professional ministry entirely or remaining in the work but being unhappy for years on end. This episode is a sort of reflection on the struggles pastoral musicians face; Interspersed with some of his music, here David talks a bit about how we need to take time to care for ourselves and keep our spirits going…

To stay in touch with David, get on his “Daily Living Reminders” mailing list, and see what else he’s doing, check out his website at DavidHaas.us.

Music heard in today’s podcast:

“I Will Live On,” G-8875
As recorded on I Will Live On, CD-970

“Come in our Dark Time,” G-9475 
As recorded on When we are Weak, we are Strong, CD-1011

“Dedicate Yourselves,” G-9488
As recorded on God Never Tires, CD-1010

 

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

Sing Amen! the Podcast, Episode 8: David Haas (Part 1) on How He Got Here

Sing Amen! the Podcast, Episode 8: David Haas (Part 1) on How He Got Here

This past January, GIA released David Haas’s book I Will Bring You Home: Songs of Prayer, Stories of Faith, an amazing volume telling the stories behind more than 130 of his best-loved songs. But looked at all together, this book is not just about the songs—it tells the story of a life, of a vocation and a calling. An autobiography in music, if you will. It also gives the reader a first-hand look at music in the Church after the Second Vatican Council: who the people were, what it was like to live and work and compose in that time, all seen and told through the lens of one person who, almost to his own surprise, found himself on the front lines of the shifting culture. In my capacity as an editor at GIA, I was lucky enough to get to work with David on the book, and it was really fun getting to walk through these stories and get to know David better through them—by the time you finish, you feel like you’re listening to an old friend.

(A little commercial here—please don’t forget to register for GIA’s Fall Institute, taking place in Chicago just next week, October 11-13. David will be there speaking, and he and Lori True and Zach Stachowski will be giving a concert on Thursday night October 11, entitled “God will Delight”—you won’t want to miss it, and you won’t want to miss the other wonderful clinicians we have coming, people like Michael Joncas, James Jordan, Ola Gjeilo—I think we are still taking registrations, so head over to the institute website at institute.giamusic.com and come join us!

End of commercial.:-) )

So–A few months ago David was at GIA on one of his fairly frequent visits here, and he was kind enough to sit down and have a conversation with me, and it was great talking with him—I joked afterwards that I thought we might have two podcasts worth of stuff recorded, and even though at the time it was meant as a joke, it turned out to be true. So this is Part 1 of a two-part podcast with David; we’ll release Part 2 in two weeks. This first part is a more general conversation about David’s life and development as a composer, the paths that led him to doing what he now does, and his overall thoughts and approach to composing. Part 2 delves more deeply into the question of spiritual and mental self-care for musicians—how do we keep going, how do we manage our work-life balance, how do we avoid burnout…Let’s face it, it’s not an easy life, but we continue to believe that what we do is important, and that we are needed in the vineyard. So please tune in in two weeks for that conversation.

So if you’ve ever wondered what the first liturgical song was David Haas ever composed, click “play” above, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher…and then keep listening, to one of the best conversationalists and nicest, funniest human beings I’ve ever gotten to chat with. Enjoy!

Music heard in today’s podcast:
“My Lord and My God,” G-9659 (David Haas)
“We Will Rise Again,” G-3454 (David Haas)
“I Will Walk With You,” G-9618 (David Haas)

The above selections can be found in their entirety on I Will Bring You Home, CD-1041.

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 7: How to Love Wedding Music Ministry (Interview with Mary Prete)

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 7: How to Love Wedding Music Ministry (Interview with Mary Prete)

Complaining about weddings is probably the single favorite pastime of church musicians when they get together. (Okay, even as I read what I just typed, I have to acknowledge that many of my friends and colleagues have a much longer list of things and people we all love to complain about, but let’s just accept that this one is pretty high on the list. 😉 ) I’m honestly not a wedding-complainer, though–I have always really enjoyed sitting down with couples and helping them discover the musical possibilities for their wedding liturgies, and then being there with them to help them realize their vision for the day. And in my experience, they are generally really lovely, cool, smart people. Of course I have my war stories; we all do. But overall–it’s a pretty great thing to be part of. And I’m one of the least romantic people you will ever meet. (Just ask my husband.)

This podcast episode is edited down from a long conversation I had some months ago with my good friend Mary Prete, who was instrumental more than a quarter-century ago for developing one of the first and I suspect longest-running Wedding Fair programs around, at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago’s West Loop. What struck me about her approach to wedding ministry was not just the way she applied her business-brain (she has a really good one) to the challenge of marketing and strategizing to get people to these fairs, but also the deep underlying sense of ministry and outreach with which she approaches the whole process of meeting and working with engaged couples to help them plan for their wedding liturgy.

Have a listen!

 

Music heard in today’s podcast:

Covenant Hymn (Gary Daigle and Rory Cooney) G-4017 
As recorded on Praise the Maker’s Love CD-292

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

 

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 6: A Contemporary Sampler

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 6: A Contemporary Sampler

Greetings all! Here is the contemporary sampler recording I said I would do, since I’ve been leaning more heavily in the choral direction for a while. And it is definitely a sampler; there is no real guiding principle for what is chosen here beyond it being songs I like, in an order that seems to hang together well, by a solid cross-section of composers. (And even with no repeats, there are of course quite a few composers–some of whose omission from this first contemporary music episode have had me waking at two in the morning with anxiety-laden thoughts, and who I hope are still my friends–I have not yet included on this podcast, but I’ll get to them as we go!) The idea here is half an hour or so (okay, closer to 40 minutes) of nice music you can just listen to and enjoy. We’ll get more focused later on as we go. It is still only early September, after all. 🙂

I mention this on the podcast as well, but please do bear in mind that while you will be hearing in this podcast the studio-recorded versions of these songs, this is all music created for use in liturgy (I’ve used most of them myself at one time or another), and they are singable and lovely, so I hope those of you who are responsible for putting songs on the lips of your assemblies give some of them a try.

I don’t have a whole lot I need to say about this–just listen and enjoy! See below for a list of where to find these songs if you’re interested. And have a great week!

–Jennifer

Music heard in today’s podcast:

One in your name (Ian Callanan) G-6956
As recorded on In Beauty We Walk CD-881
Note: This is a pod-only edit of the song, and it is not the one from the CD or the octavo, which contain the prayer for the blessing of water; this one is just for listening purposes and goes straight into the singing for the Rite of Sprinkling. The octavo has the full version.

The Lord is my Shepherd (Gary Daigle) G-8283
As recorded on To You Who Bow CD 998

My Only Desire (David Haas) G-9471
As recorded on I Will Bring You Home CD-1041
Recording artists: Hangad

Turn Around and Believe (Rory Cooney)  G-8755
As recorded on To You Who Bow CD 998

Will the Circle be Unbroken (Tony Alonso) G-6914
As recorded on Songs from Another Room CD-648

Who is the Alien? (Lori True) G-6711
As recorded on There is Room for us All CD-639

New Heaven and Earth (Jeanne Cotter) G-9345
As recorded on Tender Hearted CD-969

Go out to the world (Chris de Silva) G-6930
As recorded on One Love, One Song CD-713

 

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

 

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 5: In Time of Lament

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 5: In Time of Lament

We had a different podcast all set for release today, but with the news out of Pennsylvania last week it doesn’t feel like what we need is information or input — we need time to lament and grieve and process, to deal with our sorrow, our anger, and sense of betrayal, our feelings of helplessness…words don’t get us very far in times like these, but being who we are, when words don’t cut it, we turn to music.

So today’s podcast is intended to be sort of a journey in music, hopefully a quiet time to just be still and let ourselves be ministered to a little. I won’t talk much on this one–in times like these, it’s better to remember that God can do whatever speaking each of us needs to hear in our hearts.

Peace be with you.

 

Music on today’s podcast:

Lament for the Innocent (Solas)
As recorded on Winter Solas CD-511

By the Waters of Babylon (Jewish canon arr. David Buley) G-5941

God Weeps (David Haas/Shirley Erinna Murray) G-6694
As recorded on God is Here CD-631

Kyrie (Marty Haugen) G-5651
As recorded on Gift of God CD-501

Lead me on (Brian Schmidt) G-7457
As recorded on Silence into Light CD-1026

Far Beyond (Liam Lawton) G-6803
As recorded on Sacred Land CD-662

Quietly, Peacefully (Lori True) G-6718
As recorded on There is Room for us All CD-639

Thuma Mina (South African)
As recorded on Honey from the Rock CD-1002

Love, Burn Bright (Chris de Silva) G-8714
As recorded on Love, Burn Bright CD-1014

How Can I Keep from Singing (Robert Lowry, arr. Gerald Custer) G-7227
As recorded on Inscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer CD-754

I Will Lift up My Eyes (Tony Alonso) G-8675
As recorded on Pilgrim CD-929

 

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

 

 

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 4: Dr. James Jordan, On Trust, Honesty, and Breathing in Front of Other People

Sing Amen! The Podcast, Episode 4: Dr. James Jordan, On Trust, Honesty, and Breathing in Front of Other People

As promised, this episode of our podcast features a conversation with conductor, teacher, and author Dr. James Jordan–He is basically one of the giants in choral music and education right now, a professor at Westminster Choir College and conductor of the critically acclaimed Westminster Williamson Voices, the editor of GIA’s Evoking Sound choral music series, which we heard a small sampling of in our last podcast episode (so go back and check that out if you missed it!), author of a continually expanding collection of books and resources about music-making and conducting, and just a generally amazing human being. (Check out his author page at GIA to get a look at all the things he’s up to.) He is also conductor of The Same Stream, a fairly new choir of former Westminster singers whose first full length recording has just released, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I first encountered his work through The Musician’s Soul, a lovely small volume that feels like a musician’s retreat in print form, and it completely changed the way I think about myself as a musician, a conductor, and a human being. (And the books just keep coming–The Musician’s Spirit, The Musician’s Walk, Evoking Sound, The Musician’s Breath, The Conductor as Prism, and now The Moral Acoustic of Sound…and those are just the ones I can see from my desk as I’m typing this; there are plenty more!)

Dr. Jordan obviously approaches his art, and the whole premise that honesty and authenticity and love and trust are crucial components to music making, from the perspective of a choral conductor, which is of course his world. But these ideas go way beyond choral singing and music direction, and I hope musicians of all stripes will find something to take away—because a lot of what Dr. Jordan talks about here in the context of choral singing applies to the work we do in our churches not just with our music ministers but also with our assemblies, to help them find their voices and their place in the shared music-making.

If you find any of this intriguing, you won’t want to miss Dr. Jordan’s conducting workshops at the GIA Fall Institute this October 11-13 at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago–please see the link to the right for more information. (Seriously, so much great stuff at this institute, I hope to see you there!)

Enjoy!
–Jennifer

Music heard in today’s podcast:

As I Walk the Silent Earth, G-8613
Text and music by Thomas LaVoy 
Series: Evoking Sound
Recorded on: Hole in the Sky, by the Westminster Williamson Voices, James Jordan conducting
Note: please do follow the link above and see the composer’s notes on this gorgeous work, which he composed in tribute to this stunning chorus that he had sung with during his time at Westminster. 

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

Sing Amen!: The Podcast, Episode 3: A Sacred Choral Sampler from Evoking Sound Choral Series

Sing Amen!: The Podcast, Episode 3: A Sacred Choral Sampler from Evoking Sound Choral Series

Greetings, everyone!

With the NPM conference behind us and the various publisher reading sessions still to come, I’m guessing a lot of listeners are in the process right now of choosing new music for their choirs over the coming year. And I’m here today to just compound further the eternal dilemma of “there’s so much great music, how can we possibly sing it all!?” (You’re welcome.)

My job here at GIA is to be the “Editor for Music Formation Resources.” Part of that is generating new materials—print materials like books and articles as well as this SingAmen! online media project. But another part is exploring the “Music Education” side of what GIA is already doing, something a lot of our church music friends may not be very familiar with, and see if there are materials there that can serve us in our churches.  (Anyone who came to the GIA Fall Institute last year, and got to learn from Dr. James Jordan from Westminster Choir College, got a taste of that—he is amazing, and I’m thrilled that people on the pastoral music side of things got to hear some of what he has to say. And by the way, he will be back for the institute THIS fall, so if you missed him last October you have another chance—and our next podcast will feature an interview with him, so you’ll get to hear a little more then too.)

One of Dr. Jordan’s projects with GIA has been the “Evoking Sound” choral series, part of a whole series of educational materials he has created and curated over the course of many years. There are a huge number of gorgeous choral works in this series—if you sat down with a pile of them and just went through it, you’d discover that many of them are set to secular texts and very many of them composed at a pretty challenging level—a lot of double choir and divisi kind of writing, the sort of thing that many parish choirs would find a little too challenging.  However, a bunch of us went through the entire stack of music and pulled out a subset of pieces that are within the reach of various levels of parish choirs, and I’m going to share a few of those with you today. A lot of this music was recorded by Dr. Jordan with either the Anam Cara chamber choir or his own Westminster Williamson Voices, and it’s just lovely—please see the SingAmen website or GIA publications for more information about the specific works. (And by the way—even though most of this is solid organ-based choral music, I promise I’ll hit some great contemporary resources in a future sampler!)

(Also by the way–if you’ve read this far, you can pretty much skip to about 2:50 in the podcast, because I pretty much say there what I just said here. :-))

So please have a listen! Once the introduction is done, I tried on the podcast to talk as little as possible—only enough to tell you what you’re hearing—and just to let you have half an hour or so of gorgeous choral music. Enjoy!

Music Credits:

Lead me on G-7457
by Brian A. Schmidt
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATB
Recorded on: Silence into Light, by James Jordan and the Westminster Williamson Voices, CD-1026

Come down O love divine G-7032
by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Text Author: Bianco da Siena
Arranged by: Gerald Custer
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATB
Accompaniment: Keyboard
Recorded on: Inscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer, by James Jordan and the voices of Anam Cara, CD-754

Jerusalem My Happy Home G-7031
Arranged by: Gerald Custer
Series: Evoking Sound
Music Source: Early American melody
Vocal Forces: SAB
Accompaniment: Piano
Recorded on: Inscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer, by James Jordan and the voices of Anam Cara, CD-754

When Jesus Wept G-7033
by William Billings
Text Author: William Billings
Arranged by: Gerald Custer
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SAB
Accompaniment: Piano
Recorded on: Inscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer, by James Jordan and the voices of Anam Cara, CD-754

Lord Jesus Think on Me G-6237
by Richard Kenneth Fitzgerald
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SAB

O God of Light G-5931
by Richard Kenneth Fitzgerald
Text Author: Sarah Taylor
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATB
Accompaniment: Organ

Winter’s Cold G-7024
by Gerald Custer
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATBSoprano Solo
Separate Instruments: 3 octaves Handchimes
Accompaniment: Piano
Recorded on: Inscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer, by James Jordan and the voices of Anam Cara, CD-754

Come, O Christ G-6235
by Roger Ames
Text Author: Rembert Herbert
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATB
Accompaniment: Organ

Pange Lingua Bruckner G-6481
by Anton Bruckner
Text Author: Thomas Aquinas
Edited By: James Jordan
Series: Evoking Sound
Vocal Forces: SATB
Accompaniment: Reduction

The Lord Bless You G-8192
by Peter C. Lutkin
Edited By: Joe Miller
Series: Westminster Choir
Vocal Forces: SATB
Accompaniment: Reduction

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

 

 

 

SingAmen! The Podcast: Episode 2—Diana Kodner Gökçe, on Cantoring, Children’s voices, and the Fourth Wall

SingAmen! The Podcast: Episode 2—Diana Kodner Gökçe, on Cantoring, Children’s voices, and the Fourth Wall

For more than thirty years now, Diana Kodner Gökçe’s Handbook for Cantors has been “the” book on the ministry of the cantor, used for countless workshops and classes around the country, and by many of the ministers who lead the sung prayer of the community every week. Literally as I write this, Handbook for Cantors, Third Edition has just come off the presses, and it’s absolutely wonderful.

So is Diana, by the way. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago for First Communion and Confirmation liturgies, and in addition to being an authority on cantoring she is also a tremendous flutist and just an all-around stellar musician. And working with her on this book was a great journey—we fell into writer-editor work together as easily as we did making music the first time, and it was a pleasure. In addition to reworking and updating the material from the previous edition, Diana also added extensive supplemental material for the singing priest and deacon, to help them become more comfortable with their own singing and chanting in the liturgy–so this book isn’t just for your cantors, it’s also for your priest who is a little nervous about chanting or your new deacon who’s looking at the Exsultet with a small amount of terror. (And let’s face it, didn’t we all greet the Exsultet the first time with a little trepidation?)

In this podcast episode, Diana and I sat down together, and when we started we intended to have a conversation about the book itself–but as is often the case when we start talking, we went pretty far afield and talked about vocal technique, educational theories, The Voice and other reality-music shows, the changing male voice, and various other topics in addition to the ministry of the cantor. The flow makes sense in context, don’t worry.

So check out the book, and enjoy the podcast!

–Jennifer

 

Handbook for Cantors, Third Edition, by Diana Kodner Gökçe, G-9561.

Magnificat, by Lori True, G-6714, Recorded on As Morning Breaks and Evening Sets, CD-609

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)

SingAmen! The Podcast: Episode 1—J. Michael Joncas, on Composing

SingAmen! The Podcast: Episode 1—J. Michael Joncas, on Composing

One of the cool things about working at GIA, besides the warehouse full of music that makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop (“look! I need this! And I need this too! And I wonder if my choir could do this? And I didn’t know he had another book!”…that’s my internal dialogue whenever I head into the warehouse with a post-it in my hand. It’s like going grocery shopping—I had two little item numbers written down, but I come back with a big pile…)…

(…one of the things about blogging, is I tend to digress a little from time to time. You’ll get used to it. Or start skimming…) (I am also unapologetically addicted to parentheticals, ellipses, and em dashes—I drive editors crazy, which is ironic, considering I now am one…)

Okay, back to it—one of the cool things about working at GIA is that how frequently these really impressive and even famous people come into the office, working on new books or collections or projects. And one of the cool things about this podcast is that now I have an excuse to sit down with them and ask every question I ever had about how they do what they do, and what they feel about their work, and what they feel is important, and what they love, and what the challenges are…it’s a lovely thing.

For this first full-length SingAmen! podcast episode, we are featuring a recording of a wonderful conversation I had with Fr. Michael Joncas I had last April. When I listen back to it now I think, “Wow, Jenn, you sound like a complete fan-girl,” which isn’t too off-base; this is Michael Joncas, after all. Whatever room he’s in, he’s probably the smartest one in it, and liturgical music today owes him a huge debt for the way he has aided and shaped our song since the Second Vatican Council—and at the same time, he is incredibly humble and gentle, and very easy to talk to. As a composer myself, I learned a lot from this conversation, and I hope it will bring some insight and enjoyment to listeners as well.

–Jennifer

Credits:
You Have Searched Me (Psalm 139), by J. Michael Joncas. ©1989, GIA Publications, Inc. G-3241

SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)