Communion Processionals – Revived

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Nick Baty
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Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:13 pm

Back in April, 2011, I started a thread, The Trouble with Communion Processionals. The late Fr Peter Jones later followed this up with The Trouble with Communion Processionals and beyond. Both attracted a good number of posts.

Back in 2011, I was wringing my hands over Communions Processionals – I just couldn't get them to take off. Nearly eight years later, I'm pleased to say they are now the norm for us on the heights of Everton. But we still don't have enough. We have around a dozen homespun ones, plus one or two Taizé chants etc. And we can manage one for Advent, a couple for Lent and a couple of Easter. The rest are generally eucharistic – Taste and See etc.

Those which work best have longish refrains – mostly eight bars – but few words, ie the texts is repeated in some way. In other words, not too much to remember and carried by the tune. For example:
• I will be with you until the end of time, I will be with you forever.
• In this house of the Lord, I will dwell for ever. I will dwell forever in the house of the Lord.
• You who are weary, you who are weary, come to me and I will give you rest.
You who are weary, you who are weary, come, come to me.

So I'm just wondering how other folk are getting on and what is working in your community. More to the point, I'm looking for more ideas – at the moment some of these items are appearing five or six times a year and, after three or four years, some are beginning to pall.

JW
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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by JW » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:06 pm

Psallite might be worth considering, but it isn't cheap.
JW

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Nick Baty
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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:49 pm

Yes, we use a few pieces from Psallite. But I'm not sure it includes the sort of pieces I'm thinking of. I'm looking for longer refrains, something they can get their teeth into. Really just looking for recommendations of what works well in other places.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:46 pm

Nick Baty wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:49 pm
Yes, we use a few pieces from Psallite. But I'm not sure it includes the sort of pieces I'm thinking of. I'm looking for longer refrains, something they can get their teeth into. Really just looking for recommendations of what works well in other places.
Quite a few of the Psallite antiphons are actually quite long (like a four line stanza), and some have criticised the project for that.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:24 pm

Those who criticise should try to write something better. I like longer refrains – more for the assembly to get its teeth into. Same with the responsorial psalm! I like Paul Inwood's longer psalm refrains: O blessed are those who fear the Lord and I will praise you, Lord.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by High Peak » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:55 pm

The problem with longer refrains is trying to memorize them without having to keep looking at the words.
For me, one of the great things about processional chants, whatever style they are in, is not having to open a hymnal, music sheet or whatever.

When in the pews, I always find having to search though a hymnal and join in with the singing during the Communion Procession to be a rude intrusion, and quite impossible while actually "in the queue". So having a short refrain or response, which can be quickly committed to memory and with which I can join in while a cantor(s) sing the verses is ideal.

In the group that I run we use a variety of processionals. Sometimes it is a well-know song, with a cantor singing the verses. We occasionally use John Ainslie's "English Proper Chants" (which, to my pleasant surprise, has been well received). At other times a Psalm (not necessarily of the day) by CJM - an adaptation of "With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption" has lovely harmonies. At other times still, we use simple harmony refrains - such as "Dona nobis pacem".

It is an area that I am still seeking to develop. But, we have been on a steep learning curve over the last 6 years.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:10 pm

Totally agree, HP. But they don't have to have zillions of words to be reasonably long. See examples above.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by alan29 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:10 pm

Instrumental noodling around the communion song until half the people are back in their places, then start singing.
Works for us. Our lot sing.
Not terribly keen on using the responsorial psalm format except for the psalm. It can all get a bit samey. I like a proper "all together now" song with a cracking tune.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:24 pm

Although cantor/people, we tend to use longer refrains for the Communion Song. And we make sure it ends as the last person receives – helps create a nice post-Communion silence.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by High Peak » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:26 pm

The post-Communion silence is very important. In fact, prayerful silence and opportunities for reflection at various stages of the Mass is one thing that we have also been working on.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by JW » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:26 pm

I suspect different churches are doing what works for them, given the resources available. We'll have an instrumental during the first part of the procession, a hymn follows during the rest of the procession and continues while the vessels are being cleaned, followed by a period of silence which aims to start when the celebrant sits down.

This gives time for the singers, based in a West Gallery, to go down to receive and for a good number of people to receive before the hymn starts. In our parish, congregations are reluctant singers and prefer not to see a cantor. On the other hand we can provide decent instrumentals. As I say, I don't think it's appropriate to be too prescriptive about how we use music at Communion. If the priest, people and congregation are more or less happy and a prayerful atmosphere is maintained, then that's good.
JW

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by markyboy2000 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:48 pm

In my church, when I'm on the west gallery organ with the choir around me, we start singing a hymn during the minsters' communion, as per GIRM, and continue until the minister comes upstairs with Communion for ourselves.
Once we begin to recieve I"ll finish the hymn, so I can also partake, and then we have silence until the prayer.
I have a dozen on a good day, some find the stairs difficult. If the hymn is short I'll play O Sacrament most holy, or we may sing Inwood's Jesus Lamb of God.
Congregation usually join in with hymn quite well, some before standing, others on sitting; there are some who tell me they would prefer silence.
When we have insturments, based at the Lady chapel to the right of the Sanctuary, choir is downstairs, and all go first to Communion, singing until the ministers return to their seats. [Or so I'm told, often I take the morning off, having also played the Vigil when we have no choir]
When we have tried processional antiphons in the fairly distant past when we had a Sister leading the choir, they tended to be poorly sung and left to the choir - it seemed the comfort of the hymn book outranked memory.

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Nick Baty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:33 pm

markyboy2000 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:48 pm
In my church, when I'm on the west gallery organ with the choir around me
Must be more than 30 years since I was last in a west gallery. One of our churches doesn't have one and, in the other two, we don't use them as they're too far from the choir and cantor.
markyboy2000 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:48 pm
we start singing a hymn during the minsters' communion
Must admit, I've never tried the hymn form at this point as it usually demands people grabbing the service sheet at a moment when they're looking at specific action. However, in common with your good selves, this is the point our Communion Song begins.
markyboy2000 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:48 pm
When we have tried processional antiphons in the fairly distant past...they tended to be poorly sung and left to the choir
But, at this point, our singers are processing to receive Communion so they're among the rest of the assembly. With a few items, when they're back in their places, they add harmonies to the refrain or take over the verses from the cantor.
markyboy2000 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:48 pm
...they tended to be poorly sung and left to the choir - it seemed the comfort of the hymn book outranked memory.
I'm as interested in finding out what doesn't work, as I am in finding out what does!

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by alan29 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:48 am

What is to stop people singing from a book as they process, and simply popping it under their arm or in a pocket as they receive?

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Re: Communion Processionals – Revived

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:21 pm

Nick Baty wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:10 pm
Totally agree, HP. But they don't have to have zillions of words to be reasonably long. See examples above.
Agree. And for High Peak and others who are worried about loads of words, it all depends on what those words are and how memorable the whole thing is. When people say they think long responses are no good, I point them to the Taizé "Eat this bread, drink this cup" refrain which, although long, is probably one of the best-known and most successful examples.

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