My cousin decided to inextricably meld her future to the future of Singapore by getting married today, our National Day. I’d been roped in to start the mass off by inexpertly and rustily playing Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desire on the violin, with another cousin on the organ and the groom himself on the flute.
I couldn’t hear how we sounded over the mikes. To my ears the squeaks as my bow crossed strings, and the occasional difficulty of keeping the flow of notes smooth while doing only three notes to a bow (to maximise volume) were fairly obvious, but my mother, who is admittedly not the most objective of critics but would probably have been listening more closely than anyone else, assured me that it sounded great, and even noticed my attempts at injecting subtle dynamics into what can otherwise be a rather monotonous piece. So I hopefully pulled off the proverbial achievement of fooling most of the people most of the time.
Other notable musical aspects of the mass were communion hymns by ever-reliable David Haas and Michael Joncas, who have individually managed to account for a fair number of musical highlights of my year in liturgical music. As I instructed my sister, perhaps a bit disturbingly, after the mass, if I die unexpectedly some time soon I want You Are Mine (David Haas) at my funeral, although I suppose they’d probably not want to sing the verse which ends with “Stand up, now walk, and live!” (Other hymns on that list: Be Not Afraid, and I Am The Bread Of Life. Those of you reading this who know me, tell my family if I die and they forget.)
From my seat in the choir I got a better view of proceedings than most in the congregation. I could see when the couple looked at each other, and when they were intent in prayer – it occurred to me that these aren’t necessarily separate in their focus and meaning. I can’t really pinpoint many of my goals in life but perhaps one of them is that unity of purpose.