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First day of work

Finally, I got to see where I will be working, and met my coworkers. The principal Cathy Fithian gave me a tour of the school, and I had good conversations with both her and Fr. Nick Blaha. Our philosophies are very much aligned, and it should be easy to work for them. Because my advice is being respected, now I have to figure out things like class frequency, curriculum, materials, etc. - daunting, certainly, but it gives me something to do these days. Since COVID-19 hit, I honestly haven't been doing much. Now I can let my imagination run wild with possibilities. The churches here may be short on $, but where there is a will there is a way, and here there is certainly the will. The bulletin included a biography of our new academic dean Lisa Corley, who I'm sure will be good. I was struck that she quoted G.K. Chesterton: "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair." That's a good thing for a teacher to keep in mind. Here are some Day 1 photos:


This will be my classroom - nice high ceiling and good rehearsal acoustics, with plenty of space. This will do nicely! I'm hoping we can have the good Yamaha grand piano moved from the church to this room.



This is Christ the King Church, where I will principally be working. It was built in the '50s, before Vatican II, but while the Liturgical Movement was very much in vogue. The structure is sound and the windows have integrity. The shape of the space is beneficial, and it's a nice high ceiling. Unfortunately, there is absorbent material on the ceiling, so the acoustics aren't as good as they should be, and the benefit of singing from the elevated position in the back is largely negated. But maybe we can do something about that. I'm also imagining murals on all that blank wall space. Hey, never hurts to dream.


This is Blessed Sacrament Church, where I will do one Mass on Sunday. What a beautiful space this is. Standing from where this photo was taken, I could easily project my voice unaided down the length of the church with no effort.


This is the organ console at Blessed Sacrament - a '20s Wicks. There is a big cipher and some dead notes, so for the time being, I'll use the Allen (pre-sampling era; it doesn't sound good at all, which I see as a benefit) on the floor. But I already have plans to get an organ tech here to tell us what's necessary to get this in good working order. The sounds are quite nice, especially in that space. The poor thing probably hasn't been heard in its full glory in decades; I'm eager to experience people's reactions when they finally hear it again. There's even an antiphonal division in the front of the church that is presently disconnected.


Back to CTK - this is the Wicks organ in the balcony. There was adoration going on, so I didn't get to play it, although I can predict what it sounds like based on my experience with similar instruments. Bad news - it's a carpeted balcony with ugly orange padded chairs. Good news - there is plenty of space, even for a small orchestra with choir. Eventually, I'd love to get an organ project going and renovate the entire balcony area.

Everywhere I've been, I've had dreams. Many times they have been quashed. Although I'll have to be patient, I think those dreams can be realized here. I love this beginning stage when my imagination can run wild. My work is a love affair.

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©2018 by Douglas O'Neill.