FROM THE RECTOR: NEW SOUNDS
The new sound system was installed in the church this past week. As I write on Friday morning, May 17, it’s looking and sounding really good. It is not inappropriate that the new system is ready for this Sunday, the Day of Pentecost, on which we recall, among other things, the gift of speaking in tongues recounted in the New Testament. The new system cost $21,618 and has been paid for by the special gifts of the parish community at Easter. Every worshiper in this church will be thankful for these gifts for years to come.
Earlier this year Richard Kilduff, who worked for many years behind the stage in theater, took me around the church to show me why we were having so many problems with the system that had been here for many years. It occurred to me to ask John Basil and Elizabeth Keefe, directors of our resident theater company, the American Globe Theatre, if they could recommend someone to help us—and they did.
Scott O’Brien has composed, designed and engineered theatre, dance and concerts since 1981. He is the resident composer and sound designer for American Globe and has lectured on sound design and theatre at various universities over the past 20 years. He brought in Brett Jarvis and Tad Townes have been working together for 25 years. Their careers include work on Broadway, with classical dance and with industrial sound and lighting design—and many church installations. Scott and his associates fell in love with our church building—and made a particular point with me and with Business Manager Aaron Koch of how helpful they found our household staff.
Our church home is an extraordinary space, with an extraordinary acoustic. The parish’s musical tradition has been strong since its beginning; but by far, the spoken word is heard more in this building than chant or song. Even a single singer can make himself or herself heard throughout the church by using the acoustic; but it’s much harder for one who is reading or speaking to make himself or herself heard.
The new system has been designed to be very user friendly. The old on/off toggle switches will be removed this week. The new sequence for turning on the system will become normative very quickly—turning on the now wireless lectern mic before turning on the system itself. There is a new style of headset for Father Smith and me—and the traditional clip-on for others. (Jay and I can go back to the old style, but it seemed to me that we should give the newer one a chance.)
One big change: the clergy with headsets will no longer be able to whisper in the church to each other in the chancel without the sound picking us up. (I’m not looking forward to my learning curve for that one.) Another change: unless the celebrant is not the preacher, no pulpit mic will be needed. (I can foresee a learning curve here too.)
I have joked for many years about our sound system being the place where Satan lives at Saint Mary’s. That said, I know Jesus’ warning, found in Matthew (12:43-45) and in Luke (11:24-26) that an unclean spirit, when he has gone out from a person, wanders around. Finding no home, he returns to his former place. Because it is in good order, he not only moves back in, but brings seven more evil spirits with him. I expect there to be a few bumps in the road, as it were. But I also expect that the gifts that have been given will be put to a righteous use and be blessed by God in this place. I think this is a happy way for us to end this wonderful Eastertide. Thank you all for your support for this project, your understanding and your gifts. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Peter, Mary, Penny, Charles, Ethelyn, Casey, Jack, Richard, Trevor, John, Kelli, Nancy, Ruth, Eloise, Sharon, Linda, Cheryl, Wayne, Christopher, Jane, Diana, Dolores, Eileen, Arpene, Lura Grace, religious, Rowan, priest, Paulette, priest, and John, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Marc, John, Elizabeth, and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 19: 1881 Percival Courtenay Colley; 1886 Henry A. Sundermeyer; 1910 Harry Murrell, Jr.; 1936 Joseph John Gordon.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Holy Baptism will be celebrated at the Solemn Mass on the Day of Pentecost for Daniel Philip Ferguson Lee, son of Felipe Lee and Daylene Hunte. . . .The board of trustees will meet on Monday, May 20.
FRIDAY ABSTINENCE . . . The Fridays of the Easter Season, which concludes on the Day of Pentecost, are not days of abstinence. But the ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Friday abstinence returns on May 24.
CLERGY NOTE . . . Congratulations to Mother Mary Jett who graduated from the General Theological Seminary on May 15. She completed a Masters of Divinity degree with honors and a Masters of Sacred Theology degree with honors. Mary will continue graduate work in the fall at Union Theological Seminary. She will be in residence with us this summer and continue her ministry here as an assisting priest in the new academic year. Please join me in congratulating her on her academic work and in welcoming her priestly ministry among us. S.G.
PINKSTER CELEBRATION . . . Pinkster is derived from the Dutch word “Pinksteren” which means Pentecost—remember New York, before it was New York, was New Amsterdam. In the nineteenth century, Pinkster became a holiday associated with the African-American community in the New York area. A Pinkster Celebration will be held at the African Burial Ground National Monument on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, from Noon to 2:00 PM. The African Burial Ground National Monument is located just north of City hall at 290 Broadway. The Pinkster Celebration will take place at the outdoor memorial located at the corner of Duane Street and Elk Street. All are invited.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The final NYRO concert of the season is Saturday, May 18, at 8:00 PM. Admission is free . . . Many thanks to Bishop Geralyn Wolf for being with us to celebrate and preach at the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day . . . The exhibition Devoción, works and photographs by Máximo Cólon continues in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Wednesday, May 22, through Friday, May 24 . . . Attendance: Ascension Day 246; Last Sunday 249.
AIDS WALK 2013 . . . The AIDS Walk is this Sunday, May 19, and Saint Mary’s team is walking along behind the crowd of more than 40,000 walkers after Solemn Mass. Our walk is one of Saint Mary’s major outreach efforts. In 2012, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team ranked 23rd among the 3,410 teams that walked. We are slow walkers and determined fundraisers. Our 2013 goal was to raise $20,000. We have passed it now and are shooting for $23,000. The money we raise is used by Gay Men’s Health Crisis in the fight against AIDS and to provide education, treatment, and care for people who are at risk of infection, are HIV-positive, or have AIDS. Fifty percent of last year’s Maundy Thursday offering was contributed to our AIDS Walk. Won’t you make a contribution to our team? A link to our team’s web page is here. We can still accept and count contributions until the middle of June. If you have questions, contact Father Jay Smith or MaryJane Boland, the team coordinator. Thank you so much to the many people who have supported the team this year. We’ll keep you posted on how we do!
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude this Sunday is the Fantasia super ‘Komm, Heiliger Geist’, BWV 651 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). At the sequence, we sing the hymn appointed for Pentecost, Veni sancte spiritus. Known as the “Golden Sequence”, it acquired its epithet during the medieval period due to the extraordinary beauty and balance of the Latin verse. The Mass ordinary is Frences Mass by John Sheppard (c. 1515–1559/60). Sheppard, along with such composers as Thomas Tallis and Christopher Tye, was among the English musicians whose careers spanned the Reformation and the resulting changes in liturgical practice. His sacred output includes Latin and English music. The choir also sings the motet Loquebantur variis linguis by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585). The composer’s extraordinary skill is particularly evident in the musical depiction of the effect of the various languages. Most notable is the use of “false relations”—that is, pointed dissonance produced by the various voice parts clashing as part of the counterpoint . . . At 4:40 PM on Sunday, I will play the organ recital before Evensong. Music will be by Buxtehude and Franck. James Kennerley
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Electronic versions of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger’s Guide to Free Food and Assistance are available here . . . We continue to gather non-perishable food items for Saint Clement’s Pantry. Please contact Sister Deborah Francis for more information about the Pantry’s work.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . May 26, Trinity Sunday, Solemn Mass and Te Deum, 11:00 AM and the final service of Solemn Evensong & Benediction until October (Evening Prayer is read on Sundays at 5:00 PM in the summertime) . . . Monday, May 27, Memorial Day. Federal Holiday schedule . . . Friday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . June 2, The Body & Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi, Solemn Mass, Procession to Times Square, and Eucharistic Benediction, 11:00 AM.