As a contributor to Sacred Music journal, I am always honored by the company I keep and the current issue (Spring 2011) is no exception.
I cannot recommend highly enough Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby's "The Psalmody of the Divine Office: A Path to Holiness for the Apostolic Religious." In my varied careers, I have found myself around flourishing and floundering women's congregations. And choral recitation of the Office is often one of the crucial differences.
At the same time, what Fr. Mark says is valuable to all of us. Because we take the Psalms for granted. Because we often only like the ones that fit our mood (or personal problems). Because we think they're too difficult. (Add your personal excuse here in silence.)
Give this essay a read if you're a subscriber. If you're not, why not join the Church Music Association of America. A modest $48/year will bring you a terrific journal and make you a part of a community of musicians and others who look for high ideals (and practical applications thereof) in liturgical music.
And if you don't know Fr. Mark's blog, Vultus Christi, you're missing something.
Do you live in a fashion-starved part of the world? Surrounded by practicality, t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops? Forests of polar fleece?
The Sartorialist is the answer to a prayer. (Well, a fashionista's prayer anyway.) Shots from the streets of Paris, New York, Milan, Buenos Aires, London that are high-style out for a walk. Put him on your fast favorites and take a look every day to refresh your spirit.
If you're a serious person wearing flip-flops and fleece while reading this, I promise something more thoughtful or artistic later.
"Magnificat"is a digital book that features the chapter house paintings of the old Stanbrook Abbey. Both the paintings and the text are exquisite. No – you'll have to go to the site to see the book. Besides, I don't want to "preview" its beauty.
I know you will enjoy "paging" through it now – and you'll certainly want to come back during Mary's month of May to treat yourself again.
My thanks to Dame Catherine Wybourne. You might want to pay a visit to the Benedictine nuns at East Hendred and learn more about them.
I'm always on the lookout for something new – and I'm also not averse to rediscovering what I've forgotten. Here's one of the latter – Chantblog - a positive festival of lovely videos of sacred music featuring chant and polyphonic settings of chant texts.
Why not pay them a visit and a listen or two? And go check out your old bookmarked sites as well.