Matins of Good Friday

by , under church, services

Time: apparently 2:30, which seems uncommonly quick, but though it says “about 3 hours” in the front of the book I’ve got 2:45, 2:40 and 2:35 in previous years, five minutes faster every year. I can ascribe at least some of that to more familiarity = better flow; also we didn’t venerate the Cross because at that moment I was probably the only person aware that it ought to be done and I was BUSY.  Total: 2:30  Grand total: 6:20

Crew: Altar: Fr T and Fr Deacon V, one acolyte (who faithfully rang the bell at every Gospel). Choir: AB, briefly S but she came in already very hypoglycemic and had to leave (helped by very good helpers). The other alto said she’d try to come but might be called away, so that’s probably what happened.

Congregation: between 5 and 10, I think

Right, we’ve got the obligatory Holy Week disaster out of the way. All I could do was call for someone to come and help –fortunately the right person was a couple of meters in front of me– and then continue the service. It went fairly well, too, with me and the bass (who is really a baritone) singing in sixths (reversed thirds, him taking the upper part an octave lower) most of the time. And we did All The Sedalia, though I was so eager for the first one that I didn’t wait for Fr T to do the ektenia first, so he expected us to sing something after the ektenia but we’d already sung that.

On Palm Sunday –less than a week ago, I can hardly believe it– Fr Deacon V had a very easy tone for the choir to latch on to, this time I had to make something up most of the time because neither the baritone nor I could have matched his pitch. I did sing one piece exactly at the top of my range, which put the baritone near to the top of his, too. He dropped down to bass range in the next piece and I don’t blame him one bit. I know exactly what I’d have done if I could have planned this beforehand (sing at my own easy pitch which actually is about a sixth above his easy pitch) but I needed all my energy and focus not to panic.

And, people singing missing parts in the church thinking you’re helping: you’re not helping. I womanfully resisted asking them not to, because that would have caused conflict and made it worse, or at least more stressful. I even briefly considered inviting them on the choir but that would have given the wrong message. If I’d also been obliged to leave for any reason, they and the baritone could probably have handled it between them, and on hindsight that’s a comforting thought.



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