Where do I go from here?

Wow, it’s Sunday and there hasn’t been a blog since Thursday night. That should never happen again. I’ll work on that. Friday was a great day at school and I stayed home on Friday night and hung out with Ben and Leo. They are always happy when they get Papa to themselves. Speaking of Ben and Leo, I spent part of Saturday making sure they would be taken care of while I’m gone next weekend. The process sent me in a downward spiral for many different reasons and I was in a funk for the rest of the day – maybe even still. My situation is getting to me. Not the job, because that is fine, but everything else is starting to bug me. I’m working on solutions, and that will take time. Patience is the key word here, but I’ve about run out of patience. Church was fine today. I only had a total of 3 masses this weekend, and all without the choir. A very light weekend. This coming week is the “race to the gate” as I leave for NYC on Friday night… just gotta get there first.

So, I started to write a personal story in the last blog, and I believe I’m going about the story telling in the wrong way. It’s very hard to write a story with the story being told in a third person POV without giving a name to one of the characters, instead of using pronouns and such, so today, the characters name is Matt. That makes it easier. Or maybe I should just write in the first person, which makes it really easy. So, I think from now on, I’ll tell the story.

It was September, 1990 and I (Matt) showed up at St. Matthias Church for my first choir rehearsal. Sister Pat had made sure the group would be there and organized a meet and greet to follow our first rehearsal. With the “Brexit” that happened at St. Charles, I was was able to convince a few members to join me at St. Matthias. Judy was one of them. I was sure that would be the best way to go. There was a young girl that had played some piano before I got there, but I was reluctant to give that task to someone that I didn’t know and I knew Judy and I would work well together. Well, best laid plans…. the people from St. Charles didn’t show up again after the first rehearsal and Judy had taken a job with the Methodists. So, I was on my own. I was supported from the very beginning from the choir, and the pastor, Fr. Meyer, and of course the Assoc. Pastor, Sister Pat – who would continue to be a presence in my life even though she left St. Matthias a year after I started there. She eventually ended up at St. Charles and then to Our Lady of Angels where I worked with her there for 4 years. ANYWAY – we charged forward and the choir and parish and I developed a great relationship. Everybody was very nice, and the parish was so small that everyone knew each other and socialized together as well.

My transition into St. Matthias was a slow one. I still played at the 5:00pm Mass at St. Charles and only had the 10:15am Mass and the 12 Noon Mass at St. Matthias. I had been trained at St Charles that you should always have a cantor with an accompanist. So I had trained choir members at St Matthias to be cantors, one of my first success’ at St. Matthias. At the time, I was playing piano, and I had a guitar player who sometimes played piano as well. We slowly transitioned from the music of the Glory and Praise collection to that of the more recent collection in the Oregon Catholic Press’ Music Issue. I remember how happy I was when I convinced Sister Pat that we needed to do that. It’s funny, but recently, I’ve been going back to the music of the Glory and Praise “era” – but I digress….. The choir sang at the 10:15am Mass, and I had the 12:00noon Mass to do as well. So, trying to keep with the cantor/accompanist format, I asked Judy to come play at the 12:00noon mass. She agreed. So this began our relationship of choir director and accompanist. This lasted until Easter of 1991, when Judy’s “contract” was up with the Methodists and she became the accompanist at St Matthias for the choir and the 12:00noon mass with me. We developed quite the partnership. We began hanging out after rehearsal, going on hikes after work in Edgewood Park and really enjoying each others company. The two of us were planning on taking the St. Matthias Community by storm. And we did.

This was also the beginning of our mutual love of all things “Jeanne Cotter” Jeanne, once married to David Haas – composer of such songs as “We Will Rise Again” and “You Are Mine” to name a few in the 1000’s…. was a pianist and published a collection of piano pieces called “After the Rain” Judy and I would fight over who got to play which song in each other’s presence. This sort of thing would continue throughout the next few years. Who got to play what, as my sight reading skills and improvisational skills were better than hers, and I do believe that was an issue. Judy would always get on my case when I would change a chord, add notes, or not play what was on the page. I think she acted that way because she couldn’t do that!

I can remember in the fall of 1991, Judy and I went to a Liturgy conference in San Francisco and it was like Hollywood for me. I got to meet these people who wrote these songs that we’ve been singing at St. Matthias. It was the first time I got to meet Christoper Walker, that was a big deal. That fall, I was dating Marisa. This is important because I remember Judy, Marisa and I were going to go to the Concord Pavilion to see Manhattan Transfer and for some reason, Judy couldn’t go and she thought it would be nice if Marisa and I went by ourselves. We did, it was nice. That’s all. It was the fall when Judy and I began singing with some friends of ours at IHM at the 5:00pm Mass – Marisa sang there as well. We had a great time, it was more social, I think, than anything else. That went on until Fr, Meyer asked that we provide music at the 5:00pm Mass at St. Matthias, and we did.

September, 1991 – enter Sr. Dee Meyers – the new pastoral associate at St Matthias. It was weird, after a year, I was now in a position of knowing more than the incoming associate. Sr. Dee and I hit it off well and it was the beginning of a fabulous working relationship and friendship.

And that, dear friends, for today, is all I’m saying about THAT.


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