Every school Mass at Prep tends to be a success. This is due to the dedication of the priests, alter servers, and Eucharistic ministers. They all play an integral part in the Mass. But what about the unsung heroes of Prep’s Masses… or rather, the “sung” heroes.
At the start of any school day that contains a Mass, Mr. Viera sends an email to all faculty asking that the boys in the choir be excused at the start of third period to head up to the choir loft and run through the hymns to be used in the day’s celebration. It tends to be a rush to learn the tunes in the brief single period that they have to learn them, but they make it work. Organist Mr. Herring will play the melodies for the singers, who in turn do their very best to master each song. Sometimes, when feeling ambitious, they even add in some harmonies. Once most of the hymns are learned, Mr. Herring assigns solos.
There is, however, the ever present problem that members of the choir may not be permitted to participate due to having obligations third period, such as tests or important lessons. How then do they sing songs without having the time to learn them? Well, many of the musically inclined students at Prep are able to do what is called sight singing. That is, looking at the notes on the page and being capable of figuring out the tune. Also, Mr. Herring tends to play the melody before or while the song is being sung. The choir sings out of the same red hymnals in the pews, so students sitting in the pews can join in the fun! Why not sing along?
As Fr. Jason Feigh says, “Music helps us to center ourselves on Him by focusing not on the words but the sound he gives us.”
Brian Buseck is a former senior editor-in-chief of The Rambler and a member of the Cathedral Prep Class of 2017.