Interview…

The Catholic Writers Guild monthly newsletter features a Member Profile. In the May issue I was the member they profiled. You may read the interview here.

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5 thoughts on “Interview…

  1. Congratulations, Peli. I liked the article and enjoyed your insights.

    My professional curiosity was piqued by one comment: how do you lead song at your church? Are you a Cantor?

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    1. Columbkille, that I am in music ministry at all is either an outright miracle or God’s idea of a joke. I spent most of my life convinced I could not sing. Then suddenly I was “recruited” and am now in the regular rotation of leaders of song for Sunday Mass. This includes cantoring, sometimes without the aid of a musician since the “remnant” in my small parish is pitifully deficient in musicians–or at least musicians who will serve in ministry.

      So, either I could sing all along and just didn’t know it, or God equipped me after he called me, which is certainly within the scope of possibility. It could even be the fruit of the prayer I pray after Communion, “Lord I accept every gift and grace it pleases you to give me, and all those being rejected by others, for your glory, that your will may be accomplished in the world.” All that being said, I know that as an untrained musician, I am deficient in many ways. But God has seen fit to seat me in the choir loft, so I do what I can and if he wants it better, he’ll have to give me more. 🙂

      All this reminds me…if I may inject some levity into an otherwise serious discussion…of a little poem I wrote a long time ago in my pre-singing days. I felt, as I wrote it, that I was the “Mom” in the poem. Enjoy! I’ll remove it in a day or two if I remember.

      Mom loves to sing.
      When Mom sings,
      birds hurl themselves
      against the windows
      trying to stop the noise,
      or die.
      And babies cry.
      And Murdog howls.
      Mom says he’s harmonizing.
      I say he’s in pain.

      Mom loves to sing
      in church.
      No one there
      Has told her not to
      — yet.
      But people don’t sit
      in front of her twice
      if they can help it.

      Mom loves to sing in church.
      Loud.
      She has to sing loud.
      She says it’s because,
      with a voice like hers,
      God probably has His hands
      over His ears.

      I once heard a priest say, “God gave you that voice. He deserves to hear it!” So, maybe that’s why God gave me a better voice after all! 🙂

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  2. LOL on your poem, Peli!

    You made me think of two things: one was a young girl sneaking into the garage and trying to try sounding like Julie Andrews (fortunately it was a detached garage – what howls!) and praying to be a soprano. She thought she was an alto because, being a keyboard player and music reader, every choir director stuck her into the alto section.

    One day in college she was told, bluntly, ‘Of course you’re a soprano. It’s clear by the way your voice is made and that’s how we’ll train you.’ And they did. All the way up to high ‘C’.

    For many years now I’ve trained amateurs to use their voices, those brave remnant types who show up and dare to open their mouths. When you think about how personal one’s voice is there’s a lot of courage in that! It’s not like hiding behind an instrument, it’s you being exposed to the ridicule of man and dog alike.

    I delight in watching people do things they thought they couldn’t do, become confident…and so often I hear, ‘No one ever taught me to sing. I never knew there were things I could do to sound better.’ There’s no incentive in training an ‘ordinary’ voice, you see. Vocal coaches look for the extraordinary voice. If you have God for your vocal coach there isn’t anything you can’t do, so if you get a brief idea that maybe you should stand differently, or open your mouth more, or smile when singing, it could be your Vocal Coach at work; such things actually influence the mechanism that makes your voice function best.

    Before a major degree recital years ago, my professor went on vacation. The recital was very near and I knew I needed coaching, so I took the program to the Lord and asked for His help. He was very thorough. I found notes I’d been playing wrong, got interpretive ideas, etc. When the professor came back he spent most of the lesson jumping out of the chair saying, ‘What was that? Oh, I see, I guess, um…’ He’d been out-coached by the ‘Expert’ and was a little put out that he’d let things slip by.

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