With two days to go, I have been busy, but have little to show.

The main train of thought had been to adopt Pope Paul VI’s booklet Jubilate Deo as a guide for this year. See Adoremus Society’s page on Jubilate Deo. Minimum repertoire is just what I’m looking for.

Wonderfully, the amazing Andrew Hinkley from The Caecilia Project has already typed up all the Jubilate Deo booklet. Fantastic! Now a chance to polish it off, rearrange it to fit A4 pages with a generous margin for an English translation. Only several hitches there – possible but fiddly.

Also, the Adoremus Society has a collection of mp3s to go with the chant contained in Jubilate Deo. These tracks come from their CD of samples of their own Adoremus Hymnal. They don’t have the whole song, just enough to give you an idea. That’s okay, just flesh it out with other free mp3s, from Musica Sacra (CMAA) and The Monks of Sao Paolo, Brazil. Great plan! Make CDs for enthusiastic students to play at home, get them all learning even if they miss a class or two.

Of course getting the recordings to line up with the minimum repertoire is a little tricky. Easier to rewrite Jubilate Deo to suit the recordings – but then, what’s the use of having Jubilate Deo if I’m just going to rewrite the thing!

So I’m feeling that familiar sense of facing a new class still wondering what this year will look like.

Last year I did all my favourite, easy rounds. Thoughts for this year include Dona Nobis Pacem, Non Nobis Domine or Laudate Nomen Domini. My favourite is Non Nobis, but may be difficult with the second part being sung in a different key – maybe something for the parents to learn?

Second bright idea is to have Christus Vincit as a the new roof raising regular piece. But Which One? There’s a Solesmes version, a Sarum version from the Christus Rex pilgrimage book, a damped down version from the Pius X Hymnbook which I’m not very familiar with, and a Franciscan one which is much like Solesmes’ except Different.

So, in conclusion, I thought I wanted minimum repertoire, but really I want the fun of showing the most fantastic music treasure that so many generations of Catholics worked at and were lifted along heavenwards. I want to show the real stuff, to show why we don’t do rock Masses because this is the real deal. There’s more to Catholic music than Rev F W Faber’s sentimental verses. All the best hymns were written centuries ago In Latin (okay, some in Greek too, and maybe other languages too…). English is a mongrel late comer to the scene.

I’m thinking maybe here’s a good spot to plug James McAuley and Richard Connelly – at least let it be known that I thought of them and love their music too. Except maybe the PlaySchool theme, but everyone’s gotta make a living?

And another note, that I am Not An Expert on gregorian chant. I’m an amateur who got into this via the geeky computer technical ability to wrangle TeX and his relatives. And even that was being thrown in the deep end with no formal instruction (a Maths teacher recommended it for typing up a thesis). Okay, and my mother is a singing teacher and choir member.

So thus concludes my evening’s rant.

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