Today I sang. Today I conducted. Tonight I am exhausted. Tonight I am proud.
As mentioned in previous posts on this blog and via Twitter, I was to sing and conduct choir for the Annual Commissioning Mass for Pastoral Councils at St Stephen’s Cathedral. The Mass was presided over by Archbishop John Bathersby. Months of planning and practice have gone into this Mass. The singers in my choir worked very hard to learn their parts and my two musicians (organist and oboist) worked tirelessly not only to learn the music but also to arrange it. I, for my part, had many late nights and early mornings working on the planning and preparation for the Mass. I did my best to ensure that everything would run like clockwork today.
Then came the big day. I had planned an early night but that was stymied by my late night blog post! However, I did get a restful sleep and I robbed my alarm the opportunity of waking me. I actually had a very odd (and mildly unpleasant) dream which roused me from my slumber. Then it was up and at ’em! I got myself ready and we were off.
Prior to heading into town I had learned that two of my best and strongest singers would be unable to join us (for very good reasons) and I was even more nervous about our ability to pull this off. However, I ended up with 12 singers plus an organist, an oboist and me (conductor and cantor).
We had a little practice prior to Mass and four of the choir (who were off singing at a concert in another choir) ran in the door with just a couple of minutes to spare. Then we began.
The organ was majestic. The oboe was beautiful. And the choir sang like angels bathed in a heavenly light from a window above. My nervousness didn’t completely melt away but it was joined by a sense of pride in what these 14 people in front of me where able to achieve.
Then in was my turn to stand out from the crowd and cantor the psalm…
…bow to the Archbishop and begin. I was calm as I surveyed the faces of the congregation before me. I beg your indulgence for a moment to say that it was as though the Holy Spirit came and rested on me, giving me courage and peace. It is not often that I speak in those terms publicly, despite thinking that way almost constantly. Maybe I should put my faith forward more often but I prefer to live my life as I believe I am called to do. I give witness to my beliefs in the way I live rather than the things I say.
Anyway, back to the topic… The Mass had its hiccups (or hiccoughs if you prefer) as Masses do. Life is not perfect and things rarely go completely to plan but the trick is to minimise the variables or try to control them as best you can. That we did. I was quite happy with the outcome of our efforts…
…but I sure am glad it’s behind me now!
Now it’s time for a foot-rub and bed. (I’ll probably only get the second of those!)