My Three Sopranos

One of the unexpected benefits of my Fed-funded sabbatical was learning to sing.  I discovered that one of the other guys  taking a break from real life was a classically trained baritone singer.   I thought that singing occasionally might be a great way to escape, so to speak, from the routines of the day and asked him if he’d be willing to spend some time working on it with me.  He was thrilled, and with some ideas from “Singing for Dummies”, we began a journey that would last about 18 months and change my life.

I had always sung in church, or at least, did what I thought was singing, but Scott helped me to overcome that disability.  Twice a week we met in the music room and worked on posture, breathing, expanding the chest, utilizing head voice…all the other things every novice studies on the path to singing (better).  I learned that singing was not just speaking more loudly and slurring words together, but an entirely different function of the body.  Eventually I was able to lead with some confidence our fledgling Catholic group in singing a few well-known hymns and chants at our weekly meetings.

But the real payoff came when I got home, and it wasn’t my conscription into the choir; one night I heard one of my boys singing Tantum Ergo or some other chant he’d heard at Church and stopped in my tracks while he effortlessly sung the notes an octave or two above how … Read the rest

About the Singing

A few people noticed that I was tapped to do some singing for Holy Week and the Triduum.  It is a long and ugly story but the short version is that Father assigned it to me as penance.  That may sound bad, but it’s actually an improvement for me.  My normal penance is to watch Son #9 so the rest of the family can participate in the liturgy.  He and I wrestle in the narthax and engage in other forms of physical and mental challenge of one another.  Sometimes I win.

Anyway, a couple of people expressed an interest in hearing some samples of the singing, no doubt hoping it would be bad enough to go viral with their mockery penned high on the comment list.  The Wife assures me that my singing is “not THAT bad” and that I manage to “blend” well with others.  (Certainly that cannot be said of me in other contexts!)  If you hear the tenor, you know that’s not me, that is The Organist responsible for the execution of my penance.  If you hear a baritone singing well, that is me.  If you hear a baritone singing poorly, that is someone who should never be allowed to sing in public again, penance or not.

Here are a few samples from Holy Thursday.  I’ll load some samples from Friday and Saturday as Son #1 can fit in editing time between dates.

If you want to skip ahead:

Ubi Caritas 3:54
Gloria 8:10
Tantum Ergo 10:43… Read the rest