Remembering My Father

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

Immediately it struck a chord with me of my beloved father…

In memory of my Dad… He knew how to communicate all over the world with so many languages. I will never forget when we were transferred to Sicily and he spoke Italian – all of us, including Mom, were surprised and impressed.

As we approach my Dad’s birthday, I feel his presence in both heart and mind:

1. Dad’s sense of first seeing the good in others

2. To be forgiving of someone’s bigotry and prejudice with extraordinary kindness and prayer for changed hearts

3. His hard work ethic that provided us with a great Catholic education and dance/piano lessons

4. His creativity in the kitchen that made our family meals fit for admirals and heads of state – and he would extend that same gift to his kitchen staff with delicious treats/meals

5. His pride of becoming an American citizen and earning his GED by the age of 22 – leaving his family at age 17 and 96 lbs. to honorably serve the USA Navy as a way of giving back for the American commitment and sacrifice in the Philippines during WWII

6. His deep and passionate love for Mom and his unconditional love for his children

7. His incredible faith witnessed by him “walking the walk”

On his one day off per week (never on Sunday after he retired from the military and was a chef at a restaurant), it was more important to him to spend time with the family in the summer on the beach with fantastic BBQs. On Sunday, Dad was also one of those people who sat in the back pew of church so he could quietly rush to a 12-hour workday after communion. When my younger brothers and sisters were at Christ the King School, this amazing chef would humbly volunteer weekly for lunch duty (before going to work)…

In looking back, Dad took time to be grateful in faith, family/friends and country. His resiliency and gratitude stemmed from being a child in war-torn Philippines and all that implies (which I still have not been fully able to grasp or understand). He was and IS my hero.

Advertisements

Musings and Memories of Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ visit to the USA brings back incredible memories of my student Madrigals singing at the first New Year’s Eve vespers and New Year’s Day Mass Pope Francis presided at St. Peter’s.

image

image

image

The zucchetto (cap) worn by Pope Francis in the second photo was a gift from one of my student’s family. In the third photo, you will see the maroon robes of the Madrigals… This is where we sat at Vespers. On New Years Day, we were directly behind the altar.

image

image

Favorite songs sung on New Year’s Day were Biebl’s Ave Maria and Putoni’s Cantate Domino. It was surreal to see some of the members of the Sistine Chapel Choir take pictures as the students sang the Ave Maria.

image

The Madrigals were also the principal choir at a Sunday liturgy presided by Cardinal Comastri, the vicar general for the Vatican state.  I will never forget the incredible singing of the students as well as the international crowd’s favorites:  Gesu Bambino (featuring two student instrumentalists Marisa and Victoria) and once again, the Biebl Ave Maria.

When I see the live coverage of Pope Francis, I think how my students experienced Pope Francis in quite a different way – through music as they prayed with him and for him.  Truly a blest moment…

REFLECTION AND SONG: Here With Us by Jason Liles

HERE WITH US, by Jason Liles

Link:  Here With Us

Link:  Here With Us (SATB)

Sung by Immaculate Conception Church Choir, Hampton, VA

Director:  Teresa Cobarrubia Yoder

Pianist:  Mark Smeland

Soloists:  John Brady and Lynetta Bove

Flutist:  Alex Quihuyen

Last evening, our church choir launched their new season by learning two new songs.  This week’s showcase is Jason Liles’ ever beautiful liturgical song, “Here With Us.”   I will be featuring two links to this piece… You will hear mostly melody (although a few altos “snuck” in their vocal part).  At a later time, I will post the song in four-part harmony.

Methodology with “Here With Us”
The choir learned the melody today to prayerfully sing it so the notes ebbed and flowed- focusing on the powerful lyrics.  This gave the choir time to reflect on the song more in terms with it’s meaning and it’s musicality without being encumbered with singing in parts until they were ready both spiritually and musically.  In promoting full and active participation, the first two verses were sung by soloists with the textured impact of the refrain in full chorus as well as women singing verse 3 and men singing verse 4.

The congregation will do the same this weekend… With them coming in on the refrain and singing with their gender on third and fourth verses.  The promotion of full and active participation is noted with the assembly having a good model to be empowered to sing and sense the “sharing” of the story through the verses- the acts of participation and praying through the art of listening and singing (think “good” conversation and dialog).

Next Wednesday, the choir will have had a week to prayerfully reflect on the text and melody and many will begin the process to teach themselves the harmonies.  I find that when the choir is fully engaged with both the text and the melody, they will naturally want to expand the exquisite nature of the song with their harmonic or polyphonic vocal parts.  Depending on the assembly, the choir will be pastorally patient so the assembly’s voice is dominant on the refrain. Therein, is where the mystery of the assembly’s one-ness in prayer is expressed and felt.

Postlude:  Considering this was a live recording using my iPad, the first time the choir seeing the music, and the soloists being spontaneously selected, I only wished you could have seen their immediate expressions – priceless as they were fully engaged in their prayer. They knew the Holy Spirit was present in every note they sang.  And that witnesses well of putting heart and soul in the sung prayers of God’s people…

Peace…

Link:  Composer and Pastoral Musician Jason Liles’ Website
Link:  Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Remembering My Father

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Immediately it struck a chord with me of my beloved father…

In memory of my Dad… He knew how to communicate all over the world with so many languages. I will never forget when we were transferred to Sicily and he spoke Italian – all of us, including Mom, were surprised and impressed.

As we approach my Dad’s birthday, I feel his presence in both heart and mind:

1. Dad’s sense of first seeing the good in others
2. To be forgiving of someone’s bigotry and prejudice with extraordinary kindness and prayer for changed hearts
3. His hard work ethic that provided us with a great Catholic education and dance/piano lessons
4. His creativity in the kitchen that made our family meals fit for admirals and heads of state – and he would extend that same gift to his kitchen staff with delicious treats/meals
5. His pride of becoming an American citizen and earning his GED by the age of 22 – leaving his family at age 17 and 96 lbs. to honorably serve the USA Navy as a way of giving back for the American commitment and sacrifice in the Philippines during WWII
6. His deep and passionate love for Mom and his unconditional love for his children
7. His incredible faith witnessed by him “walking the walk”

On his one day off per week (never on Sunday after he retired from the military and was a chef at a restaurant), it was more important to him to spend time with the family in the summer on the beach with fantastic BBQs. On Sunday, Dad was also one of those people who sat in the back pew of church so he could quietly rush to a 12-hour workday after communion. When my younger brothers and sisters were at Christ the King School, this amazing chef would humbly volunteer weekly for lunch duty (before going to work)…

In looking back, Dad took time to be grateful in faith, family/friends and country. His resiliency and gratitude stemmed from being a child in war-torn Philippines and all that implies (which I still have not been fully able to grasp or understand). He was and IS my hero.

 

Whirlwind of activity…

Pending projects…

The notes continue to leap off the page…

  1. Working on a psalm
  2. Fine-tuning previous compositions for iTunes launch
  3. Birthday tunes for both of my granddaughters continue
  4. Chrism mass setting started, includes assembly, cantor, organ, brass and timpani
  5. Hymn lyrics selected for a new sacred piece
  6. String quartet – a little every day
  7. A possible commission for a company’s PR video

I am ever grateful for this time of creativity and composing.

Music thoughts as compositions are posted on Sound Cloud

Creative expressions through music…

So… I must say that reconnecting to composing is like relearning how to ride a bike. Although I have used my composing skills in arranging music for school and church, getting back to my roots has been both exhilarating and frustrating – depending on what I am working.

Even though there are a great many music notation apps for the computer, I still love my pencil and paper. I am discovering as the projects become more challenging, I plan additional time for dealing with a significant learning curve in some of the apps. Currently, I am in the market for a used Apple computer – if you hear of anyone updating theirs, please give them my address. When I left WA, I returned my cherished MacBook (well, technically it was not mine, but I sure did “baby” it as if it was).

Here is part of the classical suite I have been working on – the church seasons. (I believe you may have heard my Advent piece, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.) This is a reflection of an Easter favorite. Written for solo cello, violin, piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, and double bass, it was great fun to pull this together.

Easter Refection on “O filii and filiae”. 

PS… Okay, I don’t want to give too much away on this, but you will definitely notice that I used the song in snippets with other material interspersed. Spiritual creativity for the heart and soul…

Pending projects:
1. composing the Chrism Mass entrance antiphon and hymn for assembly, cantor, choir, brass, timpani, organ. (Yeah, a bit high church, but hopefully singable so priests processing in will want to sing with the singing assembly). Why? There are days I have asked myself this – but there are not a lot of versions out there for cathedral musicians to use (so relayed to me by a few cathedral musician friends)
2. Working with publisher on Laudato si (fingers crossed)
3. Getting all my duckies in a row for Mass of the Chesapeake
4. Podcast for ICC
5. A collection of children’s for my grand daughters ( these should be up and running on iTunes in the next couple of months)

Texts, texts, texts… Mass parts are easy… But trying to find meaningful lyrics that works with music has been a challenge for me. I am neither poet or theologian…

(Excerpts of a note I wrote to some friends)