HE WONDERFUL spiritual classic, The Imitation of Christ, says (bk.1, ch.9): “It is a very great thing to be under obedience, to live under a superior and not to be at our own disposal; for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. […] Trust not too much to thine own thoughts: but be willing also to hear the sentiments of others. Although thine opinion be good, yet if for God’s sake thou leavest it—to follow that of another—it will be more profitable to thee.” Wise words, to be sure! At the same time, we remember that OUR BLESSED SAVIOR HIMSELF was condemned by Annas and Caiaphas, who were (basically) the highest church leaders at that time.
Focus on the Good • Here at Corpus Christi Watershed, we don’t subscribe to Pollyannaism. With sadness, we see high-ranking clerics who allow (or even embrace) scandalous behavior, give evil commands, and even publicly blaspheme. And yet we believe it’s better to emphasize the positive. And there is so much good in the world! A few days ago, I watched a video showing policemen rushing into an elementary school to save innocent children (just 9 years old) being slaughtered by an active shooter. These men were brave and unselfish. There is good in the world.
Each day, I speak to musicians and priests all over the world. Believe it or not, tons of “pockets” do exist out there, in which faithful Catholics are promoting authentic sacred music. Today, I would like to share three cheerful examples.
Dr. Calabrese • I was sent an iPhone clip of Dr. Alfred Calabrese conducting a choral piece by composer Daniel Knaggs. I know something about how difficult it is for a microphone to accurately reproduce the rich sound of a choir. It’s almost impossible, because sound waves produced by an ensemble of voices is something physical, and it’s extremely complex. Robert Shaw was correct to call Dr. Calabrese “one of the most talented conductors.” The sound he gets from his singers is amazing. We are so blessed that Dr. Calabrese will be coming to Los Angeles this summer to conduct the sublime Salve Regina by Luca Marenzio at Sacred Music Symposium 2023.
Below is a small excerpt. I don’t know whether the full concert will be released online:
Corrinne May • Not long ago, Corrinne May was featured in Harper’s Bazaar, a famous American magazine. She was described by the magazine as “one of Singapore’s multi-platinum singer-songwriters.” Recently, Corrinne has been doing excellent work with choirs in Singapore. Her most recent project is adapting CANTUS GREGORIANUS from Latin into English. Here is a clip of her conducting an “Agnus Dei” adaptation I did based on the Miserére of Father Gregorio Allegri (d. 1652).
This clip was filmed recently in Singapore:
M To download the PDF score free of charge, go to #7554.
Volunteer Singers in Los Angeles • Working with the volunteer singers at my church is such a bright spot in my life. These are not professional musicians; they all come from the parish. Seeing these Catholics so dedicated to sacred music is truly inspirational. They make huge sacrifices to learn this music. Here’s a recording, taken from our rehearsal last night.
M To access this hymn’s media in the Brébeuf Portal, click here.
Strange But True • That hymn—which is very famous—was actually written by a Protestant named Charles Wesley. His poetry was praised by Father Leslie Rumble, of RADIO REPLIES. For years, I have been saying that if you look hard enough through the Brébeuf Hymnal, you’ll find a few hymns that are not Catholic. Another example would be “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which was included by the Brébeuf editorial team even though it was written by a Protestant.