Well I'm back in Jacksonville. I ended up skipping the morning session today in the interest of getting the drive home underway while alert. Overall the convention was great. I got to personally meet and talk to David Haas, Fr. John Foley, SJ, Fr. Roc O'Connor, SJ, Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ, Steve Angrisano, and Tom Booth! Totally awesome to get to discuss liturgy and music with the guys that are composing our church's music. The St. Louis Jesuits gave a concert which was awesome, it's amazing how much energy they all have considering the youngest is right around 60. Fr. Roc O'Connor is like a kid at times. When he gets excited he just starts hopping with a grin and his tongue sticking out. Yes I know... I am Ben Story and I'm a Catholic music junkie. Come on of course I am, who else would have bought David Haas, Marty Haugen and Bob Hurd CDs in high school instead of say Greenday?
Speaking of CDs, I splurged a bit at the booths and bought a few CDs and even got one given to me. The free one is a CD/book set from Good for the Soul Music. It's part of their Companions on the Journey (COJO) series. They're geared as guided reflections either for personal use or in a small group situation. I was getting ready to buy the one they have entitled Love Letters and the guy at the booth gave it to me for free in exchange for me giving him a review when I was done listening to it. I've listened to the first few tracks and it really is quite good. This set's goal is to explore love in the context of our relationship with God, ourselves and others. Really powerful songs accompany each reflection. They also have COJO's for Music Ministry, Lent, Christmas and Grief. They're working on more to come. I really think I'll try to get a young adult faith sharing group setup this fall and use the Love Letters one to start.
I also bought a new Steve Angrisano CD called Welcome Home and a new Matt Maher one called Overflow both from OCP. The Matt Maher one is going to need to grow on me a bit. The first listening caught me off guard when compared with the other CD of his I have. Steve Angrisano's was really good. I also bought a CD entitled Defining Beauty by a lady by the name of Danielle Rose that I talked about in a previous entry. She is currently an artist with WLP. That CD is really really awesome.
As for the sessions themselves, they were generally good although most of mine turned into marketing seminars of sorts for the artists involved. I was a little bit surprised with the seemingly uniform push to go to songs with antiphons that the congregation sings and then having either the choir or cantor only singing the verses. This seems like a step backwards to me in terms of Vatican II's push for "full, active and conscious participation" in the Mass by the congregation. The other big push seemed to be Spanish music. I'm a little bit perplexed at this because I'm trying to figure out when the US went from being a melting pot to a compartmentalized society. I'm fourth generation Italian American, but I don't go around wanting things in Italian to support my heritage. I'm an American first and foremost as were my ancestors once they arrived here. My Grandparents both spoke English as a point of pride in being American. While I look forward to the Mexican influences in our music, I think it can be done while still using English which more of the congregation knows. You should have seen the blank stares when they had the 2nd Reading at Mass completely proclaimed in Spanish. I'm sure it was a wonderful reading, but until I look it up in my Bible I will have no idea.
Well that's enough for now, time to go to the parental units and go see Harry Potter. :-)