May 29, 2011

When I Sing, I Sing Real Go-oo-od

One of my joys over this past year back in Boston has been getting to know the "Schola Amicorum" which sings for the Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the cathedral. When I have been free, I have enjoyed their hospitality and the chance to learn to sing a little chant.

I was there this morning. During a break from our practice (we rehearse in the bishops' crypt, which is just too cool) I was reflecting on why the old chants grab me so. That's when I noticed something funny within: Gregorian chant reminds me a little of the Misfits.

I remember first hearing the Misfits when I was about fifteen. The whole thing caught me right away; the classic rock and roll song structures, the campy horror shtick, and especially the loopy, crooning vocals of Glenn Danzig and later on (in the reconstituted Misfits) Michale Graves.

I've been singing along to Misfits songs for years. They are eminently singable. YouTube is full of kids covering them in garages and girls playing them on the ukelele. Really. Look for yourself. There are similarities with the chants for Mass: the looping phrases, the centering of phrases on long, drawn-out vowels, and the signature descending triads.

I only bring up this very random connection to suggest how God prepares us remotely to minister to his glory. Long before I had any idea of even being a Christian, God was using this crazy music to form my singing heart, and to put into my own musical imagination a sense of tone and phrasing that He would one day put to work for divine worship.

P.s. I would have posted the song from which I derived the title of the post, but I thought its name and subject too vulgar (not to speak of diabolical.)


Greg said...

Okay, time to start a garage band.

Just finished reading a passage from a book by Chesterton on Francis and was taken by his analysis of Francis as a troubadour. Check it out. (The book is like 99 cents on Kindle.)

Judy Kallmeyer said...

Love your phrase "people thick with the cloudy mystery of God." Makes me think of the "Cloud of Unknowing" which I never finished.

I'm afraid that the Misfits are lost on me. But I do get the part about long held vowels. After that, it is a case of trying to compare the ridiculous with the sublime. I also have to confess that I do not like chant in the Liturgy, only on a CD for my listening pleasure and praying background.