HEY SAY Dom Mocquereau never had a good singing voice. He had been a musician, but (according to Justine Ward) his musical studies “were interrupted by the war of 1870 when the young officer was mobilized. Wounded while fighting in Belgium, Mocquereau lay on a pile of straw near the door of a barn. There he was noticed by two charitable Belgian ladies, who took pity upon him and nursed him back to health in their home.” Speaking of war, DOM PIERRE COMBE famously had a special affinity for Justine Ward, and this may be because Justine rescued him in June of 1939 from the advancing Nazi armies.
Don Bosco • Dom Mocquereau had a damaged throat. According to Dom Combe, “when passing through Paris in 1883, Mocquereau visited Don Bosco to seek healing from him [for his throat].” According to page 76 of the Bulletin Salésien, March 1930, Don Bosco told Mocquereau: “You will never have much of a voice, but you will have enough for the work that Providence expects of you.” Readers will be interested to know that it was Dom Mocquereau who “composed” (based on formulas) the Gregorian melodies for the Mass of Saint John Bosco. In the opinion of Dom Combe: “These melodies are well balanced and tuneful.”
Professor Weaver • One of the world’s leading exponents on the rhythmic theories is Charles Weaver of Julliard. Professor Weaver has been brought in as a specialist to assist the Boston Early Music Festival, but (in spite of that arduous commitment) he took time to record the plainsong pieces—according to the Dom Mocquereau method—in preparation for the upcoming Sacred Music Symposium:
* Rehearsal Video • INTROIT “Sacerdotes tui, Domine”
* Rehearsal Video • GRADUAL “Ecce sacerdos magnus”
* Rehearsal Video • ALLELUIA “Tu es sacerdos in æternum”
* Rehearsal Video • OFFERTORY “Inveni David”
* Rehearsal Video • COMMUNION “Fidelis servus”
Ronald Reagan • Speaking of Boston, years ago we had a priest who hailed from that city. His Bostonian accent was enormously thick; we could barely understand him. Below is a clip of Boston’s representative, Thomas Phillip O’Neill (former Speaker of the House) talking about an encounter with president Ronald Reagan:
Here’s the direct URL link.
PLEASE NOTE: For the record, I am not encouraging singers to gargle boiling water! That seems dangerous. But I thought readers might be interested in what Frank Sinatra said.