Mick Kelly is a young girl who is growing into womanhood throughout this novel. Born into a large family in the southern part of the country, Mick is often frustrated. Frustrated because she has much within her that is of great talent, but the problem is how to bring the talent to fruition.
I would like to center on a scene that comes right after the party that Mick organizes. The party is really a type of coming of age for Mick, but all the formality and dressiness of it is quite a failure (at least, a failure from Mick's point of view). But after Mick has told all of her friends to leave, she goes off by herself to a near by home to sit in a yard to listen to music. Mick has been at this place before to enjoy music from a radio that the owners of the home are enjoying.
When joining Mount Michael's monastic community, my superiors recognized that I did have some musical ability. And as so often happens in monastic communities, one is appointed to a position where he/she does have some talent, but perhaps needs much more training in the field of the appointment. That was my case. Nonetheless, I have been involved with music all my monastic life-- for better or worse-- as we put it.
And while involved in music, I have met others who are involved in music as well. Most of these individuals are very talented and I must admit that at times I am intimidated. However, at the same time I must admit that I am so moved by these people that I want to mention them and give them some sort of tribute. They certainly merit a place on my blog. There was even a point in my life that I mustered up enough courage to audition for the Omaha Symphonic Choir. I actually made it! In a later blog, I will speak about that experience as well. It was pretty awesome.
For right now, I would like to talk about a special monk of Conception Abbey-- Abbot GregoryPolan.
Abbot Gregory I consider a friend. He and I were together in theology at St. John's, Collegeville, MN. Abbot Gregory played the organ here at Mount Michael for my ordination in 1975. Since that time, Abbot Gregory has done many wonderful things in the monastic world. One of his latest feats is his translation of the Psalms. I will do more on that later as well. For now I want to speak of Abbot Gregory's wonderful musical talents.
Abbot Gregory is great at improvisation. I have seen him sit at the organ bench playing for long periods of time without any written music in front of him. There was one summer-- the summer of 1978-- I spent living at Conception Abbey. I commuted every day to Northwest Missouri State taking voice and music classes. And then while living at the abbey, I had time to spend long periods of time at the organ with Abbot Gregory. He would play music that he and other monks there at the abbey have composed. But there was never anything of those long periods of time at the organ better than watching Abbot Gregory just play -- freely without any muisc. Truly it was awesome. Although I remember it raining almost every day that summer and lots of flooding, it was a wonderful time for me. The summer of 1978.
Abbot Gregory is usually very humble about his compositions. He tells me that most of them come from a need at the abbey. The need would be for a piece of music for the Divine Office or the Eucharist or a particular occasion. That has particularly been the case with the recent changes in translation of the mass parts.
However, one of my all time favorites of his would be: You Are a Garden Fountain. It is based on the Canticle of Canticles. And I am told that he wrote it while he lived in Israel -- Ein Karem. It is really a wonderful, flowing piece of music. The music flows like a gentle fountain-- indeed-- it does.
Abbot Gregory, thank you for sharing your gift of music that is within you. It is all very beautiful, especially: