The week before the NYC trip has arrived and it’s a race to the gate! (#racetothegate) The boys are being taken care of, Wicked tickets have been procured and the rest of the weekend is totally up in the air. Trying to keep expenses down, etc and looking for bargains for other shows and the way it’s looking, the only show I may be able to get is Phantom…. but seriously, it could be worse. I’m looking forward to the icy cold streets of NYC for the weekend. The week is going well. At school, we are preparing for our little performance on Grandparents day in 2 weeks, highlighting the music of the 1940’s and the kids are doing well and having a good time. Most importantly, “Chickens Ball” rehearsals are going well. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and that makes it fun. Such great people! In the meantime, trying to get the apartment in order for Aya who will be watching the boys during the day while Auntie Rae Rae will come see them during the day for a walk and to feed them. They love their Aya and Auntie Rae Rae and Papa is in debt to both of them for their care of the boys.
Let’s see, what else is there? OH! 42nd Street at Tri-School. We’ve started rehearsals, and it’s been going great. Personally, it’s fun to play this music. It really is a classic piece of musical theatre that’s just FUN, and I think the kids are having fun as well. Probably should think about getting the band together soon.
So, let’s continue our story…..
I need to go back to the spring of 1991. Some friends (mostly the singers from the IHM 5:00pm mass) and I decided to put a vocal group together, and we put on a concert. We sang some great songs, and Judy and I played some 2-piano duets. It was called “A Vocalistic Evening”. It was a great success and a lot of fun.
Fast forward to Fall of 1991 and the beginning of the time of Sr. Dee at St. Matthias. Sr. Dee was quite progressive. She didn’t wear a habit, or a veil, she was definitely an “undercover” nun. She and I hit it off at once! Judy and Sr. Dee… I’m not sure they ever got along well. Both were a strong, liberal, female presence. We were really taking off at St. Matthias. The choir was growing and getting better. We were able to attack some more classical pieces of music like John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth” which was a favorite of both mine and Judy’s – even before we met! We lived for choir and we had a great time. In the fall of 1992, Fr. Meyer retired and we were blessed with Monsignor Jim Flynn. It was an easy transition. Msgr Flynn was a great guy, he and I hit it off right away. It was the beginning of a beautiful working relationship. However, I can’t imagine what he thought of Judy and I when we told him that Fr. Meyer had approved a trip to Nassau, Bahamas to attend the NPM (National association of Pastoral Musicians) music conference. But he had to make good on Fr Meyer’s approval, so Judy and I were off the Bahamas.
It was my first flight across country, and technically my first time out of the country. We stayed at the Merv Griffin owned Paradise Island Hotel/Casino. Where we swam in the ocean, touristed in Nassau, snorkeled in the warm ocean, played the slot machines all while being educated in music ministry by our composer pals. I remember all of this so very well. It was a time I will never forget. On this trip, Judy taught me how to play “Pounce” – very much like double solitaire. We would go to our workshops during the day and drank rum and played pounce in the evening. It truly was Paradise. I can remember befriending a nun and her friend from Chicago. We taught them how to play Pounce as well. It just so happened, they were on our flight back to the mainland, and our plane was delayed leaving Nassau, so we played Pounce in the airport. I believe Judy kept in touch with one of them for a while after the trip. Whether or not we gleaned anything from this trip, we came back energized and ready to take on the world. We were definitely a team now. We did everything together. My family even thought we were dating as she would be my “date” during family get togethers. Heck, I just felt she was part of the family.
And that, for now, is all I’m saying about THAT
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.
The beginning of why
The only news I have to comment on today was the report that Fran Drescher is creating a musical based on “The Nanny”. Of course, I should be ecstatic because I love “The Nanny”, but I’m reserving judgement until I see the first public incarnation of the musical. You can bet that I will be there wherever that may be. Then again, things like this are announced all the time and they never see the light of day. I’m not holding my breath.
Today, I tried to buy tickets to Wicked in NYC and most of the time, the Ticketmaster site was not working right. I’ve been trying to book my hotel and flight for the Religious Ed Congress in February, but I can’t seem to get the right flight and hotel combination that I need. It’s been a lousy tech day. Tonight, the dog camp people brought the boys home when I wasn’t home and didn’t latched the pen right so Leo got out and went straight to the garbage under the sink. He can open the cabinet door now, which is why they are in a pen when I am not home. Luckily, there was only paper and stuff in the garbage so the mess was minimal. Old habits die hard, I guess. I knew he had done this as I looked in on them on the webcam before I went into rehearsal. I was mad… I told Shannah and Karen that if he ate anything that made him sick, that’s just too bad. We’ll miss him. (and as I just typed that, I choked on my diet coke… karma I’m sure)
I have a story to tell. I don’t know how long it will be, but it’s going to cover a good part of 30 years. I’ll tell you now, it’s auto-biographical and is about myself and my friendship with my bff, Judy. But it’s one of those stories as when I write about this friendship, I’m writing about my life as well. So let’s see how this goes, shall we.
Spring, 1988 – College of San Mateo. A 19 year old college student, not knowing what the hell he is doing with his life, signs up for choir because the teacher happened to be the same person who student taught at St. Matthew’s Catholic when he was in second grade. Little did he know, that signing up for choir would change his life forever. The sign ups for the choir had been low but the class went anyway. The second week of class, a group of people from St. Charles Church in San Carlos joined the class, so our attendance was better. Among the people from St Charles was a middle-aged woman named Judy. A piano player, a killer alto, and a woman with a dry sense of humor and strong personality. They hit it off immediately.
When the semester ended, so did the class, he was then asked to join the choir at St. Charles Church, which he did. Being a Catholic all his life, he had played the organ at his parish in Angels Camp since he was in 8th grade. No formal training, of course, he just did it. What a change this was from the traditional hymns of St Patricks Church in Angels Camp to more contemporary songs in Liturgy and a piano in church! He had never seen anything like it before. He quickly learned the routine of the choir and met some great people. Some who he’s still friends with today. During his 2 years with St. Charles Choir, he was a pianist, organist, choir member, and cantor, as well as learning all he could about Liturgy and liturgy planning. He grew up a lot among the people of St. Charles Choir and later on with the Belmont Community Players and San Carlos Chickens Ball folks. Along with all of this, his friendship with Judy grew. Judy, hanging on for dear life to her position of accompanist for fear she’d lose it to this new kid, was always very generous with providing him with music and such. He even wrote some piano/organ duets for them to play together. It was an interesting friendship. He became friendly with other choir members and they would sometimes get together outside of church and hang out. One New Years Eve, they had a party at Judy’s house. A tradition that would continue for many years to follow, even after the brexit of 1990 of the St. Charles music ministry.
In 1990, the then choir director at St Charles told him that he should give St. Matthias Church as call as they were looking for a Music Minister. Evidently, someone thought that he had what it would take to be a Music Minister. This pattern of people tell him that they thought he had what it took to do a job would happen several times in his career! So, he went for an interview, and a second interview and was hired. (later to find out he was the third choice!)
And that, dear friends, is all I have to say about THAT…so far.
I quit! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that in the last 3 months. It wasn’t until recently, I realized that quitting will solve nothing. In fact, while it may feel good to walk away from a situation that’s frustrating, the main thing is that if you quit, there’s goes your income right away – and that is never a good thing. So, always thinking about your livelihood should come first. I tried quitting on Christmas Eve and Fr. Michael said “no you’re not” and that was the end of that. I say that at school and Amy says “Again?” I’m beginning to realize that I’m in charge of my situation and how I handle the things that make me want to quit. Man, fantasizing about what it would be like with a new job, new area to live etc is really cool. But is it realistic? I’m finding each time that I come back from wanting to quit, I have renewed vigor to jump back into the situation that made me want to quit and make things right. I constantly remind myself that it ALWAYS works out. When you’re good at you do, and you are a necessary cog on the wheel where you work, and your superiors constantly let you know this, you don’t need to quit, you just need to get in there and fix it whatever is bugging you. It’s so hard to do, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s the best option – where quitting is not.
Today was a day off. Wednesdays are always my day off. However, I found myself back at OLA for a Parish Staff meeting. It was a good meeting. They are always quite humorous in my opinion. I gave my report and no one tried to walk on my grass this time, which is always a good thing. We did re-schedule our staff Christmas dinner which was cancelled due to a lot of illness in the rectory, or so they said. So now, I’ll need to cook on a SCHOOL DAY! I may recruit students to help peel potatoes! Afterward I went to Trader Joes, which was busy on a Wednesday afternoon, but not crazy like Sunday. I came home, did some work on the Ball, made a steak wrap and I was on my way to my first Chicken’s Ball rehearsal.
The Ball is a lot of work on my end. Doing all the musical arrangements for all the numbers as well as the skits, but it’s the people that I love working with. I’ve been working with some of them since 1990!!! We are all a little older and a lot wiser, but the main goal is to have a great time, and we did this evening.
A new season of Kid’s Baking Championship began this week on the Food Network. It’s one of my favorite shows. I always like to see where the kids come from. One thing that I found fascinating was when a kid was describing what he liked to do, he said “I enjoy fish keeping”…. which is exactly what you think it is. I think how we worded it was fascinating! Their first “Big Bake” was a 70’s theme, which was really cool.
ABC dropped some advertising today about another “LIVE” musical. This time it’s Young Frankenstein. I have so many questions about this, and many many issues with the choice of musical. I think back to The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood from a few years back. Yes, it wasn’t perfect, she sang well etc. etc… everybody has their issues with it. My biggest issue I had was the public reaction to the show itself “They changed the movie” was “Joe-blow-not a theatre goer’s” reaction to the broadcast. I fear this will be the same with Young Frankenstein – this time it will be “Where did all those other songs come from?” – that will be “Joe-blow-not a theatre goer’s” question. So, be ready for that. I’m personally curious whether or not the version they do will be the new revised version that was a hit in London a few years back or the original Broadway version which did need work. It was suppose to be the follow-up to The Producers – same writers and production team, but lightning did not strike twice. It’s basically the movie with songs, nothing more, nothing less – and the songs are not as exciting as the score for The Producers. So, we’ll have to see how it pans out. So far, for me, the best LIVE TV musical was Jesus Christ Superstar with Hairspray a close second. But you can all agree there have been some bad ones as well…. very bad (I’m talking to YOU “Peter Pan LIVE”)
I have the idea to begin a story using this blog. It will be autobiographical but in story form, if that makes sense. I may start tomorrow.
But now, that’s all I’m saying about THAT.
Saying all of THAT here on WordPress
I decided to move to Word Press, mostly for easier access and the ability to subscribe instead of having to check back all the time on Blogger as the “subscribe” option wasn’t working. Blogger is like the forgotten middle child in the Goggle world, it needs an update badly as well as a decent app, but hasn’t been touched in years. I think WordPress will work out fine. You’ll be able to subscribe and I’ll be able to post pictures, audio, video and stuff like that – so everybody wins!!
If you’re just joining for the first time and have missed the first 3 blog posts, you can look them up here on blogger. (just click on the word HERE)
School today was fun. We did a movie update in 5-8, and I gave my speech about the critics and “Cats” and while I don’t normally take a stand on things like this, I feel like critics went into the movie instantly hating the material mostly because of the trailers and such. When you go to a movie or a show and already have feelings about it without even seeing it, especially if you hate it, you will hate it and you will tell the world it’s a piece of crap. They said that about the musical as well, and look how well that has done in almost 40 years. Lots of opinions on “Star Wars” as well, mostly they thought the end happened too quickly. Lots of kids said that. I didn’t see it that way. They obviously haven’t seen a Lifetime movie before where everything is tied up in a little bow in the last 5 minutes.
Tonight was a Tuesday night, choir rehearsal night. We had a decent turn out and we had a lot of fun. It was a good night for me as well. There’s a story here about one of my very best friends that I’m not quite ready to write just yet. But let’s just say that we had a great time going from her house to rehearsal and back. And for now, that’s all I’m saying about THAT.
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Fr. Michael went and saw Aunt Dea in the hospital today and he mentioned it to me. The conversation went something like this:
Fr Michael: i saw your aunt today
Me: oh, thanks for stopping in. She thinks you’re a miracle worker
Fr. Michael: she’s right
I thought I had something else to blog about, but whatever it was, it has escaped me. I must remember to write these things down when they pop into my head. Lord knows I can’t remember anything anymore.
So, I’ll call it a day, and we’ll see about this new space, shall we?
And that is all I’m saying about THAT.