- Try to soften your volume a bit at the ends of phrases so you leave the impression that you are not really trying to holler.
- Soften the high notes a bit, so you don’t hammer them.
- You can start a phrase a bit softer and then increase your force during the middle part of the phrases, but rein yourself in at the ends.
- Don’t race and don’t plod. It is hard to describe the right rate. Each genre of chant has its own purpose. Remember that all chants are actual texts. They are language. Too slow and you lose the sense of the language. Too fast and you don’t respect the content. Keep it moving. Psalms are quicker than other chants, but don’t race. There is no prize for the first to finish.
- Don’t sing in different octaves. Get everyone on the same pitch… no really. You can do it.
- I don’t like mixed chant, that is male and female voices singing together. I just don’t. I think there should be a schola for men and a schola for women. I love chant sung by women! When it is good, it has an ethereal quality that men can’t accomplish. Segregation, I say. Separate but equal.
- Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. At the same time, if someone can’t hit the pitch… really can’t… is really tone deaf… be diplomatic, but find them some candle to carry even as you remove the book from their hands. If you know you aren’t singing well… can’t get those notes, perhaps there is another way in which you can help. There are lots of cool things to do during Vespers and Mass. Necessary things.
- When you are singing in a group, for the love of God, LISTEN TO EACH OTHER! Look UP once in a while to be sure you know what is going on!
- Be careful when singing psalms not to drift flat. This is pretty common when people AREN’T LISTENING or paying attention to each other or to the cantor(s), who will usually have a good sense of pitch. LISTEN. Going flat is excruciating to people who have to listen.
- You are not Caruso. You are not Renee Fleming. You are not Jussi Bjorling. Sing with everyone else, for PITY’S SAKE! You (WE) don’t want to hear YOU. We want to hear you merged with, singing with, every one else, singing exactly the same thing, at the same time, on the same pitch, with the same force. If you are not designated to sing a solo bit, then get a grip! This isn’t about you, anyway.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI told priests Saturday to do a better job counseling would-be spouses to ensure their marriages last and said no one has an absolute right to a wedding.
Benedict made the comments in his annual speech to the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal that decides marriage annulments. An annulment is the process by which the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.
Benedict acknowledged that the problems that would allow for a marriage to be annulled cannot always be identified beforehand. But he said better pre-marriage counseling, which the Catholic Church requires of the faithful, could help avoid a "vicious circle" of invalid marriages.
He said the right to a church wedding requires that the bride and groom intend to celebrate and live the marriage truthfully and authentically.
"No one can make a claim to the right to a nuptial ceremony," he said.
Benedict has used his annual speech to the Rota to impress on its members the indissolubility of marriage and that they should avoid the temptation of granting annulments on a whim. Last year, he urged the tribunal to work harder to encourage couples to stay together and not confuse "pastoral charity" with the need to uphold church law.
On Saturday, Benedict said priests had an important pastoral job to discern whether would-be spouses are prepared and able to enter into a valid marriage.
"The church and society at large place too much importance on the good of marriage and the family founded on it to not make a profound commitment to it pastorally," Benedict said.
The Vatican's concern about marriage annulments is largely directed at the United States, which in 2006 had more annulment cases launched than the rest of the world combined.