After taking July off, our music blog is going to return here on a monthly basis, at least for a while.
As we know, during the liturgical season of Covidtide, everything changes about every 2-4 weeks. And this summer has been no different.
Truth be told, after the initial mid-March surprise of Covidtide, we scrambled a bit as a parish staff. Decisions had to be quickly made, which would then be affected by the next steps or guidelines released by the state, city, or diocese.
Holy Week and Easter came and went in mid-April, and by May we had a few weeks of experience under our belts. Our annual parish staff calendar planning day, the annual April retreat day where we plan out the program calendar for at least 18 months, was tabled because everything was still changing about every 2-4 weeks.
But by June 1, we had in-hand enough experience to draft a good parish plan for worship and programming, a professional grand reveal video of the new nave interior, and movement toward partial re-entry of physically distanced worshippers. This summer plan was charted for June 1 through Labor Day, and we have done quite well, I must say.
The September issue of The Communicator will be itself a grand reveal of Covidtide fall programming in every area of ministry, everything from soccer to small groups to Bible studies, all properly physically distanced, of course.
While we are not having a traditional Rally Day this year, this September issue will essentially be our Rally Day in print. It feels very good to have exciting plans and programs in place as we confidently move forward, even in the midst Covidtide.
Catching up this afternoon with archiving this blog (archiving is a new term in my world, like livestreaming or superspreading), I have laughed at myself by reading my own blog titles since March. In some way they document Covidtide history in this parish, though I can imagine that none of us want to relive any of the recent months.
Blog dates and titles, followed by their true translations or hidden meanings:
March 9, 2020: The Old Days
(“We have to figure out how to have Morning Prayer again because we are not allowed to celebrate the Holy Eucharist”)
March 24, 2020: Interesting times
(“We still cannot celebrate Communion, which means that we still have to have Morning Prayer”)
March 31, 2020: The organ is ready to be played, but the organist is not there
(“Worship is now being livestreamed from the Children’s Chapel, and the organist has to play the piano just as he has for the past year for worship in Cheney Parish Hall”)
April 22, 2020: Musical gems or musical chestnuts
(“During Covidtide, I believe our parishioners will appreciate hearing some familiar tunes”)
May 6, 2020: Virtual Bread of Heaven
(“We still cannot serve Communion”)
May 13, 2020: These virtual times
(“Everything has changed, and I mean everything” was the opening line. Enough said.)
May 27, 2020: Parish organists and pianists
(“The parish organist finally gets to play the organ for worship again”)
June 16, 2020: We’re back!
(“Livestream worship is moving back into the nave, and the organist no longer has to play the piano”)
Personally, I am very grateful for the musicians with whom I work, all of whom have answered “yes” first whenever asked to sing or play. We are still bound by very specific guidelines when using solo singers or instrumentalists, but we hope to begin carefully expanding our online Sunday morning musical offerings after Labor Day.
Our Saturday Morning online musical offerings will also expand this fall beyond only organ music to some guest instrumentalists. Our children’s choirs will piggy-back onto the Sunday Children’s Chapel online offerings, and the Parish Choir will continue to put together occasional virtual choir offerings.
So, as we say in showbiz, “stay tuned.” (also the exact final line of my May 13 blog)
Photo credit: 9:00 AM Sunday liturgy during the First Reading, physically distanced worshippers in pews, view from behind the organ console, July 2020. Photo by David Ouzts.