Matins and First Hour of Holy Saturday

by , under church, services

Time: 1:55  Total: 1:55  Grand total: 11:45

Crew: Altar: Fr T with an acolyte, though a boy on the side looked longingly at the goings-on and got to hold the censer at some point. Choir: SSSSAABB (I had to tell the basses to sing softly more than once because they were so pleased with there being two of them that they overdid it a bit.)

Congregation: About 20 at the procession, including the crew.

It went well! Not as well as Wednesday: we sorely missed a tenor and one person was so convinced they were right that they pressed their own version rather pointedly. I’ll be charitable and not assume that they were deliberately trying to undercut me. I think we succeeded in letting more and more of the light and joy shine through in the course of the service; that also caused the Lauds to be almost too fast, but fortunately the very moment I thought I was losing my grip the next sticheron was in the sixth tone which is a lot quieter than the second.

We stumbled in the canon a couple of times, but NOT in the fifth irmos which is usually a HUGE stumbling-block.

When I was reading the prophecy of Ezekiel (37:1-14) the church went completely silent around me. Then Fr T almost cheated me out of the Alleluia with the sung verses from Psalm 68 (Let God arise, and his enemies be scattered) but he caught himself before saying more than “And–“. (And I wish I had the gift of bilocation, like St Nicholas, to be directing the choir as well as reading in the middle of the church, because we practiced those Alleluia responses a lot faster.)

Strange realization: in some pieces not necessarily intended as such I get sentimental, not in my thought but in my choir direction. It turns out to be the way to make the Great Doxology not drag.

Another strange realization: when I’m knackered after a service I can still do choir organizing-type stuff (like catch a choirmate on her way out and ask if she’d like to be reader tomorrow and get to read the make-the-church-white verses) but not any other kind of useful stuff like help Boss Woman find the white covers. (This is the new Boss Woman; the old Boss Woman retired. This one is very good at figuring out things, and if she doesn’t know something and has to ask, she usually picks the right person to ask. Perhaps it’s because she’s an engineer.) I might have an unconscious but also unfailing sense of what’s on my particular plate and what’s not, or else it’s because I’m still in the flow, and not in any other flow.

Definitely to do: make up the First Hour and add it to the binder so next year we won’t stand around wondering whether to read it or not. Fr T loves it (and, frankly, we like it too, it’s an excellent way to wind down). At least this year we knew what to use for troparion and kontakion, unlike the first time we did the Hour and had to make a stab at it.


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