Although today was a normal and ordinary day at the parish, still there was special sense running through it. It was ordinary in that there were the usual two morning Masses. The 7:00 a.m. Mass was in the Sacred Heart Chapel, the 8:45 a.m. Mass at the High Altar. As I've mentioned before, there is a special beauty about the earlier Mass, quiet and fewer in the congregation than at the later Mass. After the Masses I heard the confessions of the forty sixth grade students, and it was during that time that the sense of something special began.
The guest organist had arrived late last night, and this morning he was at the church to begin his preparation for the dedicatory recital this weekend. We will bless the new organ Friday evening at Solemn Choral Evensong, and then on Sunday the glorious recital will take place.
I was still in the confessional when the first sounds of his practice began. He is a wonderful organist, the teacher of our own two organists, and I could hear where their high standards of music came from. James David Christie is himself a very faithful Catholic and he was sensitive to the fact that confessions were being heard, so he kept things quiet until the last student was finished. I'll admit I hung around the church for a while to hear him open up on the Casavant. Throughout the day wonderful music was filling the church, making for a great sense of anticipation of the celebratory events of the weekend to come.
Students from our various school choirs were in and out of the loft to practice their part in the recital. With Mr. Christie at the organ, they will be singing the first American performance of Messe d’Escalquens, Opus 19, by Jean Langlais as part of the program.
What a sound! Pure young voices blending with a magnificent instrument being played by a master organist producing a work by one of the great musicians of the last century. It doesn't get much better than that.
All together it was a normal day, but special nonetheless.