Category Archives: blog

Proper of the Mass in Igbo language

During the last Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Abuja, the Bishops of the Igbo speaking Dioceses led by His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha, invited Dr. Jude Nnam (Ancestor) to a meeting where they explained that there has been some changes made in the Proper of the Mass in Igbo language. Ancestor was therefore, assigned to compose a new Proper of the Mass in Igbo, taking cognizance of the changes.


Choirs down East of the Niger has been instructed to switch to the new Mass Proper by PENTECOST SUNDAY. 


Ancestor has finished the work, so, WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE COMPOSITIONS.

Please follow and like us:

The Book Art for the O.O.M Vol 1 By Obioha Ogbonna is Finally Out.

The Book Art for the Order of Mass by Obioha Ogbonna is finally out
Release date “*31st January, 2018*”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)About the Order of Mass Compilation by Obioha Ogbonna

Q1. Is it Soft Copy or Hard Copy or Both?
A1. It is *Soft Copy*, Links will be provided for download, if you want hard copy, kindly download and print.

Q2 How much?
A2 It is *Absolutely Free*

Q3. What is the Compilation Album about?
A3. The Order of Mass is a compilation album which includes songs composed for the Part of Mass in the Catholic church.

Q4 Why is there no Creed or Gloria?
A4 No particular reason, this is the first volume they might be included in other volumes.

Q5 Who is Obioha Ogbonna?
Obioha Victor Ogbonna a.k.a Leonatus is an African composer and graduate of Petroleum and Gas Engineering from the University of Lagos.
You can read more about him from https://www.africancomposers.com/obioha-ogbonna

Q6. Is it staff or solfa ?
A6 There are 2 types of scores available,
1. Vocal Score with Tonic Solfa
2. Complete score with percussion

Some scores have 1,or both of the available types mentioned above.

Q7 When is the release Date
A7 31st of January, 2018

Please follow and like us:

LATIN Terms used in Music

There are many Latin terms used in music to show how a piece of music is to be performed.  Some of these terminologies are arranged under various groups as shown below.

Tempo

 Tempo time The speed of music e.g. 120 BPM
 
Grave solemn Slow and solemn, slower than largo
Largo broad Slow and dignified
Larghetto a little bit broad Not as slow as largo
Lentando slowing Becoming slower
Lento slow Slow
Adagio ad agio, at ease Slow, but not as slow as largo
Adagietto little adagio Faster than adagio; or a short adagio composition
Andante walking Moderately slow, flowing along
Moderato moderately At a moderate speed
Allegretto a little bit joyful Slightly slower than allegro
Largamente broadly Slow and dignified
Mosso moved Agitated
Allegro joyful; lively and fast Moderately fast
Sostenuto sustained A slowing of tempo, often accompanied by legato playing
Fermata stopped Marks a note to be held or sustained
Presto ready Very fast
Prestissimo very ready Very very fast, as fast as possible
Accelerando accelerating Accelerating
Affrettando becoming hurried Accelerating
Allargando slowing and broadening Slowing down and broadening, becoming more stately and majestic, possibly louder
Ritardando slowing Decelerating
Rallentando becoming progressively slower Decelerating
Rubato robbed Free flowing and exempt from steady rhythm
Tenuto sustained Holding or sustaining a single note

Continue reading LATIN Terms used in Music

Please follow and like us:

Tips for Conducting a Church Choir

Many professional and non-professional musicians find themselves charged with the job of conducting their local church choir. It’s a fun job with its own unique set of challenges—not the least of which is dealing with the typical mix of trained and untrained singers in the choir. There are several useful tips in this guide which will help you learn how to conduct a choir.

Use a Baton—or Not

The first decision you have to make with regards to conducting a choir is whether or not to us a baton. A surprisingly large number of choral conductors do not, but there’s no hard and fast rule one way or another.

The argument for using a baton is that it helps you better define the beat than using bare-handed gestures. The argument against using a baton is that it may make conducting too rigid and keep the vocal music from flowing as it should.

In reality, however, a good conductor can get the desired results with or without a baton. Using a baton doesn’t necessarily translate into a more rigid or staccato performance, just as not using one doesn’t necessarily result in sloppy beat patterns. It’s all a matter of what works for you; use the baton if you like, or go bare-handed if that’s more your style.

Use Proper Conducting Technique

Whether you choose to use a baton or not, you do need to employ proper conducting technique. That means using the right hand only to define the beat, and not mirroring beat patterns with both hands—which is something less experienced conductors tend to do by default.

It also means conducting the beat, not the rhythms of a piece, which is another novice mistake. It’s tempting to use your hands to emphasize the dominant rhythms in a piece, but that will confuse the performers. They depend on you to keep the straight beat, and that’s what you need to do.

So train yourself to use your right hand (baton or not) to conduct proper beat patterns. Not simplified beat patterns, where you make a simple up-down motion, but the full beat patterns where every downbeat in a measure has its own position on the horizontal plane in front of you.

You then free up your left hand for more musical gestures—conducting dynamics, cues, phrasing, and the like. If there isn’t anything musically to indicate with your left hand, leave it straight at your side; don’t let it get in the way.

Don’t Sing Along

What you should avoid doing is singing along with the choir while you conduct. Now, this might seem natural to you, especially if you’re a former member of the choir. But when you sing along your conducting suffers, since you’re not concentrating fully. In addition, you won’t be able to hear how the choir is doing over the sound of your own voice. Focus on the task at hand, which is conducting, and leave the singing to the choir.

Choose the Right Repertoire for Your Singers

The wrong choice of music is the downfall of many a church choir conductor. Choose the right level of music for your voices and everything will sound great; choose music that’s too advanced or an inappropriate style and even a good choir will sound bad.

The challenge is dealing with the mix of trained and untrained voices found in a the typical church choir. You want to pick music that challenges the more talented singers in the choir, while at the same time isn’t impossible to sing by the lesser-trained members.

This means paying attention to your choir’s vocal strengths and weaknesses. Church choirs are notoriously weak in the men’s voices, for example, which means you shouldn’t choose music that requires a powerful bass presence. The worst-sounding church choirs are those where the choir director’s ambitions don’t fit the choir’s abilities; the best are those where the music matches the available talent.

When in doubt, know that simpler is better. Avoid music with notes that are too high or too low. Be wary of arrangements with lots of fast-moving notes, difficult syncopated rhythms, or lines with too many wide skips. With new music being performed every week or so, you simply don’t have time to tackle overly-challenging pieces.

Work on the Blend

Because you’re dealing with a mix of talent levels, some singers in your choir will be stronger than others. This may make it difficult to achieve a pleasing blend of voices. It’s the danger of individualism; strong singers will stand out like a vocal sore thumb, and not blend in with the rest of the choir. Blending gets easier the more singers you have, but you may need to have an aside with any singer who’s just a little too good for the overall ensemble—but not quite good enough to recognize the blending issue.

You can also achieve a better blend by stressing listening during rehearsals. Ask singers to listen closely to others in their section and try to match the sound they hear. Encourage uniform pronunciation of vowels and consonants, and work hard on group phrasing. Then just work, work, work on blend and balance during the rehearsals; good results take time.

Rehearsals Are Key

Rehearsals are where you really make your mark with a church choir. Unfortunately, the rehearsal schedule for a church choir can be challenging, since you’re typically dealing with infrequent rehearsals after work during the week.

Start each rehearsal with 15 minutes or so of basic vocal exercises, to get the body and the singers’ voices and brains ready for singing. You can then turn to the music of the week, and start working on individual parts and sections as need be.

You’ll want to spend an appropriate amount of time working on when your singers should breathe during a piece. It’s all part of establishing the desired phrasing; you want everyone (or at least everyone in a section) to breathe at the same time, not wherever they fell like doing so. This is definitely an issue to address during rehearsals.

Also important is getting your choir to sing in tune. Intonation is a challenge even for professional choirs; it’s a real bear when you’re dealing with the part-time singers in your church choir. It pays to spend a decent amount of rehearsal time working through intonation exercises.

Finally, keep an eye on the energy level of your singers, especially during long rehearsals. If the energy level starts to flag, have the choir stand up and sing for a while—or, if they’ve been standing, have them sit down and rest. And don’t forget to take a break or two, and have some fun. If you can get the singers laughing, especially in the last half of the rehearsal, it will help to energize them.

Armed with these tips, you will be able to get the most out of your church choir.

Happy conducting!

culled from Tips for Conducting a Choir

Please follow and like us:

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion prior to his arrest and crucifixion. It also commemorates His institution of the priesthood. The holy day falls on the Thursday before Easter and is part of Holy Week. Jesus celebrated the dinner as a Passover feast. Christ would fulfil His role as the Christian victim of the Passover for all to be saved by His final sacrifice.

The Last Supper was the final meal Jesus shared with his Disciples in Jerusalem. During the meal, Jesus predicts his betrayal.

The central observance of Holy Thursday is the ritual reenactment of the Last Supper at Mass. This event is celebrated at every Mass, as party of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but it is specially commemorated on Holy Thursday.

He also establishes the special priesthood for his disciples, which is distinct from the “priesthood of all believers.” Christ washed the feet of his Disciples, who would become the first priests.

This establishment of the priesthood reenacted at Mass with the priest washing the feet of several parishioners.

During the Passover meal, Jesus breaks bread and gives it to his Disciples, uttering the words, “This is my body, which is given for you.” Subsequently, he passes a cup filled with wine. He then says, “This is my blood…” It is believed those who eat of Christ’s flesh and blood shall have eternal life.

During the Mass, Catholics rightly believe, as an article of faith, that the unleavened bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ through a process known as transubstantiation. There have been notable Eucharistic miracles attributed to this event, such as bleeding hosts (communion wafers).

The Last Supper is celebrated daily in the Catholic Church as part of every Mass for it is through Christ’s sacrifice that we have been saved.

On the night of Holy Thursday, Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place where the faithful remain in the presence of the Eucharist just as the Disciples kept a vigil with Christ.

Following the Last Supper, the disciples went with Jesus to the Mount of Olives, where he would be betrayed by Judas.

The Last Supper has been the subject of art for centuries, including the great masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The cup used by Jesus is known as the Holy Grail. Although it has been rumored to exist throughout history, it is almost certainly lost to time. There is no reason to believe the cup would have been outstanding in any way, and was likely a typical drinking vessel, indistinguishable from many others. Still, many myths continue to revolve around the artifact, and it remains a target for treasure seekers and a subject of entertainment. There is an incalculable abundance of art and tradition surrounding the Last Supper which has been celebrated by Christians since the last days of Christ until now.

At every hour of every day, somewhere around the world, Mass is being said and Communion taken. This has been happening incessantly for at least several hundred years. For nearly the past two thousand years, not a single day has gone by without a Mass being celebrated in some fashion. Therefore, anyone who celebrates the Mass participates in a daily tradition that is essentially two thousand years old.

During Lent, we should; live as children of the light, performing actions good, just and true – (see Ep 5:1-9).

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Iesu Christi,
in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra per quem salvati et liberati sumus.

We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation,
our life and our resurrection; through Him we are saved and made free. (cf. Galations 6:14)

Entrance Antiphon for Holy Thursday

HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, saving only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates both the institution by Christ himself of the Eucharist and of the institution of the sacerdotal priesthood (as distinct from the ‘priesthood of all believers’) for in this, His last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover, He is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ’s farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.

On Holy Thursday there is a special Mass in Cathedral Churches, attended by as many priests of the diocese as can attend, because it is a solemn observance of Christ’s institution of the priesthood. At this ‘Chrism Mass’ the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism used for Baptism and Confirmation. The bishop may wash the feet of twelve of the priests, to symbolize Christ’s washing the feet of his Apostles, the first priests.

The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, or washing in Jesus’ washing the feet of His disciples, and in the priest’s stripping and washing of the altar. Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church’s esteem for Christ’s Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain ‘entombed’ until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.

And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas.

There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral (above), Leonardo’s ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century, and the reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist, Franasois Mauriac, written in the 1930s. (A chapter of Mauriac’s meditation was reprinted in Voices, Lent-Easter 2002, with permission from Sophia Institute Press).

Family Activities for Holy Thursday

When you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death, until He comes again.
I Corinthians 11:26

  • We have prepared a Christian adaptation of a Passover Seder, simple enough for use in families with young children. This special meal stresses the Christian significance of elements of the traditional Jewish Passover meal (seder) as it may have been celebrated in our Lord’s time. It is neither a re-enactment of the Last Supper, nor a Jewish service. But we believe this festive family meal can be a very expressive way of helping young children to understand more about the historic origins of their faith as well as the importance of this day of Holy Week. (This is in the full edition of the Family Sourcebook for Lent and Easter.You may make photocopies of the service so everyone can have one.)
  • Maundy Thursday’s emphasis on ritual washing also gave rise to the ancient tradition of spring cleaning, evidently related to the Jewish custom of ritually cleaning the home in preparation for the Feast of Passover. Everything was to be cleaned and polished in preparation for the Easter celebration. You can tell children about this tradition and ask to them to clean their rooms in order to observe Maundy Thursday. (Be sure to let us know if this works!)
  • Adults and children who are old enough to accompany their parents can return to Church after Mass for a period of Adoration. If this is not possible, candles can be lighted and special prayers could be said after returning from Mass and before bedtime. To give you some ideas, we have included suggestions for the Stations of the Cross.

    culled from Catholic online

Please follow and like us:

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar.  Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.
Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God.
Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance.
Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s palm Sunday Mass.
It is important to remember that Ash Wednesday is a day of penitential prayer and fasting. Some faithful take the rest of the day off work and remain home. It is generally inappropriate to dine out, to shop, or to go about in public after receiving the ashes. Feasting is highly inappropriate. Small children, the elderly and sick are exempt from this observance.
It is not required that a person wear the ashes for the rest of the day, and they may be washed off after Mass. However, many people keep the ashes as a reminder until the evening.
Recently, movements have developed that involve pastors distributing ashes to passersby in public places. This isn’t considered taboo, but Catholics should know this practice is distinctly Protestant. Catholics should still receive ashes within the context of Mass.
In some cases, ashes may be delivered by a priest or a family member to those who are sick or shut-in.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Why we receive the ashes

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

culled from Catholic online

Please follow and like us:

A good chorister

By simple definition, A chorister is a member of a choir.

A good chorister therefore entails, not just being a member, but a dedicated member of the choir. many choristers are just bearing the name and they do not know what it means to be a good chorister.
One thing is that, its not just about the choir, in any organization one belongs to, the one should not behave as though, the one was forced into it( that is if you were not forced into it). You have to be really committed to any association you willfully joined.
There is nothing that kills any association like non-serious members. You cannot say you are a chorister and you do not go for choir practice. Not just going for rehearsals on Saturday, but going for weekly choir practice.
It kills the spirit of any choir master or music coordinator whenever he/she perceives that his/her efforts are in vain.
Besides that you can never grow if you do not improve yourself. If you keep thinking that you are the best and that no other member of your choir sings better than you, that is the beginning of your failure as a chorister.

In all, to be a good chorister or even a good singer, we need to go for weekly practices and voice training. We need to encourage whoever is teaching us, whether choir master, choir mistress, music director or any other person.

Please follow and like us: