Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Melbourne on the Lord's Day

Sunday in Melbourne saw us hopscotching the city, experiencing a vibrant inner-city parish, Victoria Market Place in the afternoon, and then heading out to the suburbs for our last event with our host parish, St. Dominic's.

If you walked along Lonsdale Street in downtown Melbourne and weren't paying attention, it would be easy to pass by the parish we sang at on Sunday morning, Saint Francis.  And that would be a pity for anyone, because it was clear, from the moment we crossed the threshold, that this parish was a beehive of activity: we arrived at 9AM (twenty minutes to completely prepare for the liturgy!), and following the 9:30 at which we were singing, another mass was soon to take place with a chamber orchestra, doing a Mozart setting of the Mass.  All of this commotion was presided over with great joviality by Tony Way, the director of sacred music for the parish.

We also had an unexpected, delightful collaboration: our presider for the liturgy was the renowned composer (and great friend) Rev. Christopher Willcock.  We've used his music for years at Notre Dame, and it was a joy to have him celebrate the Pentecost Sunday mass with us!

We brought along much of our repertoire to this mass:  our setting of Psalm 104 (thanks, Jerry Galipeau and Gael Berberick and other composer friends, for sharing your words about using this setting!); Chrysogonus' beautiful setting of the Pentecost Sequence, Make Of Our Hands A Throne, and our concertato setting of I Received the Living God.

Then, after Mass – it was off to Victoria Market, an open air, celebratory fusion of coffee shops, souvenir stores, Latino flamenco street buskers (so great!), and more places to buy boomerangs than you could count.  The weather was beautiful – cool, pleasant, the kind of thing we all call "Indian Summer," except we're heading into June....

Then it was off to our home parish, out in the suburbs: St. Dominic's Parish, which also serves as the Dominican Friary and House of Studies for their community in the Melbourne area.  We set up shop in the parish meeting hall, and transformed the place into a workshop for sacred music, meeting with deanery musicians.  It was a great opportunity to delve deeply into our repertoire, encouraging song, talking about all the resources we brought with us.  Song after song was shared, and new relationships created through the sharing of our repertoire.

Then – our final liturgy with our hosts!  It was an jubilant celebration of Pentecost Sunday, replete with an active, energetic youth group.  The church was a phenomenal place to sing... acoustics beautiful, and following the liturgy we gave a concert for all our host families and their friends.  It will be hard to say good bye to all of these wonderful families, who were so generous in the opening of their homes to us for five full days.

So here's a view of Melbourne's skyline... and I can gratefully say that we explored a good bit of this beautiful city, even in the midst of our many labors!  To the far left, you can see the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral (where we sang Pentecost Vigil Mass).  This shot was taken from the rooftop of the Australian Catholic University downtown campus, on the seventh floor.  We'll miss these great colleagues from the ACU campus!  

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