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Musical Musings from Joy


The National Association for Pastoral Musicians (NPM) has a special place in my heart. As the top professional organization in my field, there are countless opportunities for networking, enhancing one’s spiritual life, and honing one’s craft amongst other like-minded individuals. I have been blessed to be awarded two scholarships by NPM that aided in my graduate school expenses, as well as have the opportunity to have one of my original compositions workshopped amongst notable composers, such as Christopher Walker, Paul Inwood, Tom Kendzia, and David Haas.

However, my proudest achievement within NPM thus far is the attainment of my Cantor Colleague Certificate. This accolade recognizes me as 1 of only 31 cantors in the entire country with an advanced skillset. It marks the third stage out of three in the Cantor Certification track. Due to my high level of achievement, as well as other factors, I was invited to sit on the NPM Cantor Steering Committee at the National Convention last summer. Within this nationwide group, I help to adjudicate and mentor people going through all levels of the Certification program. Beginning next year, I will begin overseeing the second stage of certification, the Intermediate Cantor Certificate. In the meantime, I am also working on becoming a Certified Cantor Trainer.

The first stage of certification, the Basic Cantor Certificate (BCC), recognizes and hones the skills of parish cantors through song, study, and spirituality. I am proud to say I have been walking with five of Resurrection’s cantors over this year in working to obtain their individual certifications. Just yesterday, we had our last official workshop. Next month, we will do a “mock” examination to prepare them for their “real” one at the end of the month.

For their exams, they will be adjudicated on the basis of singing of two Psalms, a Kyrie, and a Lamb of God as well as sight-singing. There is also a written portion to the exam based on their knowledge of musical notation and the Order of Mass. In short, the BCC is certainly not for the faint of heart!

I kindly ask that you keep these cantors in prayer over the next several weeks as they continue to prepare for such an important event. Next year, I am hoping to offer this workshop on a wider basis to Resurrection and all of the parishes in Rochester.

Hymnal Scavenger Hunt How’d you do with last week’s Hymnal Scavenger Hunt? It was Jesus Christ is Risen Today, which can be found in your red hymnal at #457 and your green hymnal at #401. Here’s this week’s clue:

This Easter hymn is set to the Salzburg hymn tune and references Jesus as the Lamb. Hint: This song may be found in both hymnals.

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