Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Vigil -- Whooping it Up -- Ballons and Banners

Below are a few photos of the Easter Vigil in the mid-1970s. And below the photos is an explanation why I am posting photos of the the past.

The past few weeks, actually since Lent, we have been reading from a book entitled Bread and Wine-- Readings for Lent and Easter. The book is a collection of readings from C.S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton-- to Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L'Engle to many others. Just the other day we were reading from one of the collections entitled: Merry Easter? It is written by Frederica Mathewes-Green. It is quite a reading. At one point in the reading Frederica quotes one of her Jewish friends: "Looking at the Christmas thing as a man raised in a Jewish home, the big celebration in Christianity should be Easter. No Easter, no Christianity. So all the focus on Christmas, at least to me, seems misdirected. Why Christians don't whoop it up more at Easter is a mystery to me. How inspiritional! How joyful! That is the time to toast each other, lay on gifts, attend worship services, pack in the rich food. Something really substantial and holy to remember."

Why Christians don't whoop it up more at Easter is a mystery to me!!

Whooping it up -- ballons -- banners -- baby chicks -- baby ducks -- once a baby lamb. 

Over the years, Mount Michael has celebrated the Easter Vigil is lots of different ways. Admittedly, we were younger 30--40 years ago, but obvious it is that we did and still do some "whooping up" at the Easter Vigil. 

I remember being exhausted after Holy Week almost every year this High Feast came around. And I can say the same about this year-- all these years later. But to get all those ballons blown up and hanging in an apparatus that would open at the right moment so that all of them would fall out at the right moment, I assure you was not an easy feat. There was little sleep in those days. The hours of preparation for all of this were not few!! Actually, it was worth every hour of loss sleep just to witness the reaction of people to the release of the ballons. I must add that it was worth even more to witness the reaction of some of the monks to it all!!

In this photo, Mark Ryan, is waiting in the balcony for the right moment to pull the cord to the trap door to release the ballons. Ryan was then a student of Mount Michael. He graduated in 1980. I also recognize Steve Digiacinto as a server on the right side and I think the other one on the left is Jim Murray. They both graduate in 1979. Abbot Michael is the Deacon-- right next to Jim Murray.
Note the macrame hanging. My mother made this for us. It was very heavy.

                                        Some more macrame flower hangings


The music is always involved. And the organ was not quite what it is today. Fr. Dan Lenz is pounding away at the chimes up on the balcony there. He was not a monk yet in those days. The 2 trumpet players are Joe Welge and Bill Melcher. Joe Poelma, the organist and band director at that time, inisisted on "C" trumpets. A "C" trumpet can play in the same key as the organ is. It was easier not to have to transpose all the music. Mark Mildebrath is pounding away at the timpanii. And there is a trombone up there as well. However, whoever it is, is behind the pillar. I do remember Brian Britt playing several years. But I can't be for certain who this might be.

I would definitely say that we could not be accused of not "whooping it up" that year for Easter. Actually, I think that we do a pretty good job of "whooping it up" most years, eventhough we are getting older and more feeble to do it all.

The banners have moved to the Armory (student union) as well as the baby chicks and ducks, but the Easter Rabbit has also appeared. I don't remember that being the case years ago.

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