Holy Week 2019
This delightful line is found in Igor Stravinsky's choral masterpiece Les Noces, or "The Wedding." But when speaking of the organ, Stravinsky once remarked:
The monster does not breathe.
With probably neither of these things in mind, my friend, musical trendsetter Bonnie Whiting is getting married in Wooster, Ohio. Delightfully, she has arranged her own wedding processional: music by none other than Stravinsky himself.
Is it possible for a music in a liturgy for the marriage of two musician to rise above the cacophony of deliriously bland nuptial strains? With the likes of Dietrich Buxtehude, William Albright, and organ-hater Igor Stravinsky, one would hope so. We shall see.
Tangent: Is it sacrilegious to play Stravinsky on the organ?
I am sure this will be frowned upon by the cult that is Lake Delaware Boys' Camp, but I thought it might be best it the outside world knew what went on every summer in upstate New York (from an organist's perspective anyway).
6:50 a.m. - Boom. The cannon has just gone off, and a very sleepy bugler is blowing reveille. It's time to roll out of bed and stumble outside of my civil-war style canvas tent.
7:00 a.m. - Bugler blows a first call and the entire camp must "fall in" (stand at attention in ranks while attendance is taken by older campers). The "battalion" faces the flag and says the Pledge of Allegiance. Then an about face to recite the Lord's Prayer. Jumping jacks and/or general calisthenics follow. Then a lap around the tents.
7:20 a.m. - The chapel bell rings. Most of the camp is already inside. Hopefully, I have already managed a quick prelude. Then I start the opening hymn: probably Holy, Holy, Holy or something like it from the 1940 Hymnal. A sung, high Anglican Mass (with incense) follows. My musical responsibilities in this service include Kyrie, Gloria, Gradual hymn, Creed (in a semi-operatic setting by Caeleb Semper), offertory hymn (incense), Sanctus, Agnus Dei, communion hymn, post-communion hymn and a brief postlude.
Other things that fascinate me about the liturgy:
8:25 a.m. - Breakfast. Yum. So far the only thing I have eaten is Jesus Christ.
9:15 a.m. - Drill. Campers grab fake wooden rifles and learn how to take orders from slightly older campers.
10:00 a.m. - Various and sundry sports and other activities are attempted. Croquet anyone?
12:00 p.m. - The chapel bell rings Angelus. (Three rings, pause, three rings, pause, three rings, pause, nine rings). Activity stops all over the camp, from the baseball field to the pool. Football plays halt mid-field; arguments cease midsentence (and usually don't resume afterward). Everyone is silent, and hopefully thinking quasi-religious thoughts.
12:10 p.m. - a bit of Free Time
12:45 p.m. - fall in for lunch.
12:55 p.m. - Lunch.
1:30 p.m. - Rest. Go to your tents and lie down (at least that's what the campers are supposed to do)
2:30 p.m. - More games and activities are attempted.
4:30 p.m. - more Free Time is had by all
5:15 p.m. - Police Call. Everyone is called back to Company Street (where the tents are) by the bugle. Campers are supposed to clean up their spot in the tent and wash their hands in preparation for evening inspection.
5:45 p.m. - Retreat. Campers fall in by the flagpole. The cannon is blown off again, just for kicks, and the flag is taken down. Then we march to the Mess Hall for dinner.
6:00 p.m. - Dinner. Yum.
6:45 p.m. - Evening games, unless the grass is still wet from all the rain, in which case we'll be watching a movie in the Field House.
8:30 p.m. - Bugle blows "cots up," signaling everyone to get ready for bed.
9:00 p.m. - Tattoo. All campers are to be in their tents.
9:08 p.m. - Angelus is rung, followed by taps. Then lights are shut off and Company Street is closed.
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