Friday, July 20, 2012

NPM: So Much to Offer

Happy Friday.

Well, it feels like the proverbial "calm before the storm" here at WLP as we spend the final day here in the office before leaving for the NPM convention this weekend, which will be held in Pittsburgh

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I have been attending NPM conventions since at least the late 1970's. I remember my first regional convention. I think I was a sophomore in the seminary college in Boston. A fellow seminarian (now a priest in the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts) and I drove to Providence, Rhode Island for the convention. We came back with a new collection, entitled On Eagle's Wings by some unknown compsoer named Fr. Michael Joncas. The day we returned, at that day's evening daily Mass, I was at the piano following communion and my seminary colleague sang On Eagle's Wings for the first time at the liturgy. I remember feeling haunted by the beauty of the music and thrilled to be playing something that seemed so harmonically interesting to me, and so different than the music I had been playing for Mass. This was one little piece of  turning point in the development of Catholic church music in the United States, bemoaned still by some, and still celebrated by others.

This is what NPM conventions are all about. The convention provides provides opportunities of all kinds for today's parish musician. Check out the offerings here. A few examples from the various time slots: "Introducing Chant Repertoire: The Roman Missal" with Charles Thatcher, "Electronic Keyboard and Integrating Technologies, Part 1" with Keith Kalemba, "Gregorian Chant for Cantors and Choir Members: with Anthony Ruff, OSB, "Liturgical Guitar Techniques" with Bobby Fisher, Steve Petrunak, "Conducting An Effective Rehearsal" with Paul French, and "Organ Repertoire for the Liturgical Year" with John J. Miller, among so many others. I believe this program represents a true snapshot of the state of liturgical music in the United States today.

We are so looking forward to seeing so many of you next week in Pittsburgh. Just another reminder. Please come and meet me in the WLP booth in the exhibit hall and simply say "Gotta sing. Gotta pray." and claim your little gift.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend out there.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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