Saturday, May 02, 2009

Round Robin: A Joyful Noise - Photographed

As recently as 7 PM Friday, I had little idea what I was going to do for this weekend's Round Robin Photo Challenge, "See the Music," despite the fact that the topic was my idea in the first place! I had vague thoughts about maybe adding some kind of FX to a photo to invoke the experience of music, although I had no clue how; or pulling unused archive photos of the church organ or past musical performances, or showing you some of our leftover rock posters from our Rockarama days. I even thought of photographing Cayenne through my car window, with the musical caption, "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window," a song few if any of you are old enough to remember.

So there I was, dusk at the dog park, pondering my problem, exacerbated by the fact that I'd put things off until the last minute again, mostly due to computer problems this time. That's when I heard a man's voice saying something over a public address system somewhere nearby. I could not make out a word he was saying, but it didn't matter. If someone was speaking into a microphone at 7 PM on a Friday evening at Reid Park, chances were excellent that music was to follow. Perfect!

From the Picasa album Round Robin Photo Challenges

I collected the dogs' two leashes from a post, and led Cayee and Pepper through the north gate out of Miko's Corner Playground. Sure enough, the music was starting, old fashioned singalong spirituals, from the sound of things. It was coming from one of the ramadas (covered picnic areas, in this case) across the parking lot. It was like a tent revival meeting, without the tent! At least, I assume to, never having attended such a thing.

I stepped forward just enough to take a few pictures, trying to hover inconspicuously on the periphery of the event. I was quickly approached by three people, one at a time, who all invited me to pull up a chair and stay. I explained to each one that I needed to rush home, that my husband was expecting me to stop at Carl's Jr. for a low carb burger before he starved to death. One nice woman identified the group as Seventh Day Adventists, and insisted on giving me a booklet, even after I explained that I was heavily involved with St. Michael and All Angels Church. One nice man petted Cayenne, and tried to pet Pepper as she sort of hid under Cayenne! Meanwhile, the people under the Ramada moved on to the next song: "If You're Happy and You Know It." I sang, briefly, but did not clap.

The event was called Worship in the Park. The lady with the booklet explained that they wanted to hold a few such meetings before the summer heat came along. The weather for this one was overcast but dry - balmy, really, with a temperature that could not have been more perfect for the purpose, around 80 degrees at dusk.

Now, fun as that all was, it's not typical of the music I generally encounter in my own religious life. St. Michael's will occasionally slip in a spiritual, but with a full choral arrangement, probably accompanied by pipe organ. We get a lot of Bach and Handel and Mozart and other classical composers. For Easter morning, as seen above, the usual choir and organ were supplemented by a brass quintet, and also a drummer or two on tympani.

This is not to say that the music at St. Michael's is never participatory. Much of it is at least as much so as the Worship in the Park music. Most of the hymns are sung by the congregation as well as the choir. And partway through the Easter Vigil mass each year, the evening before Easter Sunday, parishioners play percussion - sort of. There's a fanfare, and everyone who chose and remembered to bring a bell gets to ring it in celebration.

And those who didn't remember can do what Father Smith did, and jingle their keys!

In trying to help you "see" the sacred music I've encountered recently, I realize I'm settling for photos of less than sterling quality. It's not easy to take good pictures from a distance after dark, even with my new, semi-decent camera. It's doubly difficult to photograph an ill-lit church while serving as acolyte in the sanctuary during High Mass.

But way back, for one of the earliest Round Robin Photo Challenges, I did my best to capture some hidden music visually for you. In my entry for Mysterious Doors, I photographed many of the pipes of the church's Aeolian-Skinner organ, which are usually hidden behind doors and drapes. But as I sit with the other acolytes to the left of the altar, I'm right next to this hole-in-the-wall, beyond which some of the pipes can be seen - and definitely heard.

Now let's go find out where everyone else saw the music!

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Monica said...

That certainly looks joyful and must have sounded heavenly. :-)

Carly said...

Hi Karen

What great timing, or was someone watching over you? :) Now I have a host of hymns in my head. As a matter of fact I have had "Oh Happy Day" in my brain for about a week now. Is God calling? LOL

Carl's Jr. makes Low Carb burgers now?


ellen b. said...

You really found lots of music! I didn't think to snap a photo in church. Love the look of St. Michaels. Have a great weekend...

Far Side of Fifty said...

You did good! I was a procrastinator I made do with a hubby and a dog! Love the idea of everyone ringing bells in church..if not the bells ..their keys! LOL:)

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the last time I worshiped out in the open and not at a church. (Virtually impossible in Hong Kong with 7 million people.)

Thank you for showing me the wonder of praising the Lord at Reid Park. Well done....

Do visit my blog and comment as well.

Have a good weekend.

Suzanne R said...

Very interesting pictures. I, too, think ringing the keys instead of bells when without the latter is very inventive.

Nancy said...

Over the speaker? What a sign! Glad you followed it and found your music! Great job!
(loved the suggestion topic)