Archive for April 23rd, 2008

I hope I don’t wear out “Father Count’s” welcome on this blog, but last night’s experience was a first for me, and I told him I was going to plaster it all over the internet. (He grinned and said, “Uh-oh.”)

Last night, our parish choir was singing the Hymn of Kassiane. Now, this choir consists of six or seven old bats, including yours truly — 3-4 sopranos, 3 altos, and one bass, normally, plus a woman who is trying to figure out the tenor part, having spent the past couple of years trying to sing alto, which turned out to be too high for her range. The Kassiane arrangement by Nicholas Roubanis is not the easiest piece of music on the face of this earth, and when I taught it to the same choir, umpty-scrunch years ago, it took us eight weeks to learn five pages. So last night, we were a bit “trepidatious,” if that’s a word (spell check says it isn’t), hoping we could pull this thing off with just one bass, who hadn’t been able to attend rehearsals for the past month.

Father’s down on the altar, doing his thing along with the retired priest of the parish. Father Count would do a section, Father A. would do another section, and they would alternate like that. Then the choir director tells us to stand up — it’s getting to be time for our choral offering — and suddenly there’s a familiar voice behind me: “Good evening!”

That son-of-a-gun had de-vested in the sacristy, slipped out a side door, down an outside corridor (so no one would see him leaving), and sneaked up to the choir loft!! And we had the benefit of his wonderful bass voice for this piece! The relief was palpable.

Afterwards, one of the ladies, who had been a great fan of the departed priest, nodded and said (of Father Count), “He’s a good egg.” High praise indeed. I have never seen a priest do this before, and when I thanked him, later, he said that he used to do this all the time in his old parish, where he was an assistant priest — he’d sit in at the organ if the organist needed to slip out, or provide a tenor or bass for a difficult piece.

My jaw is still hanging open. If this priest leaves us, I don’t think the parish will ever recover. I know I won’t.

A post scriptum: Thank you to everyone who has offered prayers and good wishes for the next round of horror. I hope it won’t be, but experience suggests otherwise, and I feel I would be foolish to expect anything but the worst. Thanks, too, for putting up with my negativity on the subject.

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