Did it! Part 2
Well, yes, we did it.
Last night we sang Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How did we do it? About a year ago The Curate and I agreed that the way to put the Benedictine reforms into practice would be to start a schola (bossy, middle-class pushy layman that I am). We planned the Mass three times but for one reason or another the timing wasn't right.
Five weeks ago we decided to go ahead. Not a major feast day - an extra Mass put on for the event in the evening. We put a notice in the bulletin and waited. For the first practice about 12 people turned up and it went fine. I have no musical skills at all but had to lead it as no-one else would. I have been singing along to plainchant CDs for about 20 years, so that had to do. Most knew the Missa de Angelis and we got through that fine. We adopted a kind of karaoke plainchant technique of hearing the mp3's played through and following, going back to them if it sounded wrong. The mp3s can be downloaded for most Sundays and major feasts from the Christus Rex website You can also find midi files for ordinary chants and a few propers at Roma Aeterna. I burned CDs with propers and ordinary chants and they took them away to sing along at home.
I dreaded going to the second practice - would anyone come back? To my surprise MORE people turned up for the second practice! We got through the ordinary chants and responses in about 2 and a half hour-long practices and we had to have a mix of propers and well-known Marian antiphons for the Mass. In all it took 4 hour-long practices.
It was with some trepidation that we went up to the choir loft for the Mass itself. In all there were about 20 people in the schola. Pastoral sensitivity and a desire to not take the parish too far too fast meant that most of Mass was in English and facing the people. In time it will be in Latin and ad orientem, I hope, but that's Father's call.
The response: about 100 people aged 6 to 80 turned out on a wet Monday evening. The schola ranged from 14 to 76 years in age and promise to come back for the next outing, the Immaculate Conception.
So, if a musical illiterate like me can put together a karoake schola, I'm sure you can do better. How To Start A Garage Schola is a good guide.
Now - what are you waiting for? You know you want to.....