Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Make a Joyful Noise!

This post will be somewhat brief, as I'll be getting my family ready to go to choir practice in a little while.

We just recently joined our parish choir, and I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it. I love to sing, and haven't sung like this in years. But the fact that our choir was welcoming and encouraging our whole family to join was the icing on the cake.

This is the kind of thing that I love about homeschooling. I can tailor our Wednesdays to be a little less intensive so that we can eat dinner early and be ready to go with no last-minute racing out the door; the girls get the experience of learning about sight-reading, counting measures, and other music topics that despite my enthusiasm for classical music I'm not qualified to teach them; and my husband, who has a very nice singing voice, can join in an activity with us that we can all appreciate and enjoy.

I must confess; I've been a little snobby about choirs in the past. I love Latin and Gregorian chant; I loathe Haugen/Haas music and all the more modern stuff. But I'm reminded by our brief experience as choir members how difficult it is to get an all-volunteer choir organized and capable of learning music at all, and with an hour and a half of practice each week there are lots of complex pieces that will never make it into the repertoire. Still, I think many choir directors would love to be doing more challenging music; I've found out that ours loves Bach choral pieces, so tonight we'll be singing at least one piece in German.

I'd love to hear, in the comments section below, from people who are involved in their parishes at any level. What do you do? What do you like to do? What would you like to see done differently?


Adolfo Rodriguez said...

Hello! Sorry this is off toopic, but I didn't see a way to send you an email. I just wanted to thank you for the word of encouragement you gave my wife and I on Mark's blog. Honestly, we are quite frightened and anxious, though I suppose that's the proper response at the beginning of any big adventure. :)
If there is any advice you can offer Cashel and I it would be most appreciated, as would an occasional rememberance during a Rosary or twelve.

Be God's,

4andcounting said...

It is great that your family can be in the choir together. I was in the choir at my home parish as a teenager and really enjoyed it.
My husband led the LifeTeen band at our current parish for a couple of years and still plays when needed. We both are active in the ACTS retreat ministry in our parish as well. I lead a playgroup. I volunteer with VBS. We are part of a group of families in the Apostolate for Family Consecration. And we do other things when asked and our schedule allows.
It sounds like a lot of stuff, but really it is not. I could not imagine not being plugged into our parish family. It makes going to Mass that much more meaningful, as we get the actualy Body of Christ and worship as the spiritual Body of Christ in community.
I hope your family enjoys this unique time in your lives.

Red Cardigan said...

4andcounting, thanks! I appreciate hearing how this kind of thing has worked out for your family. In the short time we've been involved, I do feel more focused on the Mass, even though we have to pay attention to our music list too.

Adolfo Rodriguez, welcome! The best advice I can give you as soon-to-be starting homeschoolers is: relax. Take your time looking around at different programs/books/curricula, and don't be afraid to add or drop materials based on your children's skills or interests.

One thing my mom, a veteran homeschooler herself, likes to tell beginning homeschoolers is to have confidence in your abilities, and remember all the things you've already taught your children, from walking and talking to basic hygiene and social skills. It may be a little different to teach them their alphabets and numbers, but it isn't really any harder than all the other things you've taught them so far.

I'm going to put my e-mail address on the blog, but I'll put it here, too. If there are any questions I can answer (or point you toward someone else who can) I'd be delighted to help.