Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Reflections on the NPM Convention in Grand Rapids

Tuesday greetings from the beautifully sunny and warm Midwest.

These past few weeks have been filled with so much joy and memory-making in my own life.

The Fourth of July this year marked my mother's 80th birthday. Our family and extended family of friends gathered in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for a three-day "Festival of Yvette." It was a wonderful celebration for my mom and my presence there was a surprise for her. Spending time with family always makes me miss being closer to them, but I was so grateful to be there for the celebration.

On Sunday morning of that weekend, before I left the coast of Maine, I purchased two lobsters and had them steamed and packed; I had promised two of my WLP colleagues, Mary Beth Kunde-Anderson and Keith Kalemba, that I would provide a picnic dinner for them on Sunday night as we traveled to the NPM convention on Amtrak from Union Station here in Chicago. I had very little time once my plane from Portland, Maine landed at O'Hare mid-afternoon on Sunday. But I got all the ingredients together and was able to serve a nice white wine with some crackers as an appetizer. Then came the "Maine" course;" a picnic of lobster rolls, fruit, vegetables, and Cape Cod potato chips. Lots of fun on our four-hour journey to Grand Rapids.

There is so much to say about the NPM convention. First of all, I wish that many more people had attended; attendance has been waning in the last few years. Lots of reasons have been posited for this reality and, of course, we are all hoping for greater numbers in Houston next summer. That being said, I do believe that we at WLP provided some great learning, praying, and singing opportunities for those gathered in Grand Rapids. I have already spoken about the marvelous evening with the Notre Dame Folk Choir at Saint Andrew's Cathedral in a previous post. A few more photos of that wonderful event.

This year in our exhibit space, we had live acoustic music, drawn from our various instrumental collections. It was a delight to hear our music come alive.

Our music showcase was on Thursday afternoon, late into the convention. The folks in the room were obviously growing weary from the various activities that had filled their week, but they were engaged and sang our pieces so well. Here's a photo of WLP's Worship Resources Editor, Mary Kiefer, and me on the stage just before the showcase (we were part of the WLP choir for the event.)

You can see that Mary and I are wearing our WLP "One in Faith" shirts; it was at NPM that our new hardbound hymnal One in Faith was officially launched. It was so satisfying to look out and see over a thousand musicians singing joyfully from the hymnal that was five exciting years in the making!

And here is most of our WLP staff during our booth tear down in the early evening of Thursday.

It made me so happy and proud to see all of our team members, brand new and "seasoned" being so helpful to those who serve the Church in liturgical and musical ministries.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Nice beard.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you, Anonymous! And thanks for following the blog. Jerry

adrian s smith said...

I sadly have stopped going to the conventions for one main reason. The conventions used to be uplifting and inspiring. They would offer options to so many liturgies and rituals. Now it follow the book, no creative, the music is all the same, no more earth shattering pieces like in the past. I still love what I do at parish lever, but I will use my imagination and that of the Liturgy Team to do what is best for our parish. NPW will always be a part of my life, but not so with the conventions. I do miss them, but they were are no longer faith inspiring, at least to me.

Ken Macek said...

I second a lot of what Adrian says above re: much-reduced appeal of conventions. We subscribe to WLP, OCP, and GIA quarterly mailings, so virtually nothing new ever surfaces at showcases. Our own liturgy programming is based on a vision largely at odds with the conformist/generic programming (and I truly don't intend that as a derogatory barb, just an explanatory statement of my own perceptions) featured in most convention showcases/breakouts (though a quick review of the Grand Rapids pdf liturgy programs gives me the impression that Nick Palmer may be touching on some areas of interest with imaginative, contemporary settings/uses of proper antiphons, for instance). "Right" or "wrong", I've gotten a same-old, same-old feeling out of the last several conventions I've attended; when coupled with the combination of having to attend the last few on my own dime, with having limited vacation time/options from my (non-church) 9-to-5 job, with the fact that there is now at least Facebook contact with people I used to need to rely on conventions to retain in my orbit...it adds up. I do offer this sincerely as information, because I do understand there is individual and organizational desire out there to identify causes of shrinking attendance. Wish I could offer more solid proactively positive suggestions at this time.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you Adrian and Ken. I hope that you have expressed these sentiments directly to the leadership of NPM; I think they would sincerely find them helpful. And thanks for following the blog.

Ken Macek said...

I should also express, Jerry, that I do think that all of the publishers do great work in support of the conventions. Another big factor in our own lessened interest in conventions is that the sheer humger for new music and novelty just isn't there once you've labored long enough to have a very established and stable repertoire that works with your demographic. What a start-up director or parish may eagerly embrace as new and fresh very often doesn't impress highly enough to warrant replacing good existing choices....so our appetite for the new is already severely reduced, and we have already vetted the subscription packages for best new candidates. It's not as if we never order anything new - we certainly do, from all 'big' 3 publishers - but showcases were long ago a convention highlight for us, and really couldn't be any more under current convention m.o. So - that's a substantial factor, too, re: attendance. We've already committed by then to anything new that's appealing to us.