The Erie convention attendees left the Erie and Edinboro areas on Monday Aug. 29 at 12:30 pm to attend the 36th Annual National NPM Convention in Washington, DC. entitled PARTICIPATION: LITURGY LIFE MISSION.
We had planned to leave earlier for the convention, but being musicians, a couple of us had last minute funerals to attend to so we had to depart for DC later. We arrived in DC at 7:00 pm that evening with great conversations and a safe trip the whole way down.
There was Daniel Cabanillas, Sarah Fox, Emily Taleza and Brittany Barko from the Erie area and Al Leonzi and Bernie Connelly from Edinboro. The convention was held at the Marriott Wardman Hotel from July 29-August 2 and served as a great spot for a convention since most activities were held in the hotel itself. We checked in and received all our materials for use during the week.
On Tuesday, after Morning Prayer and Plenum with John Baldovin, SJ., we all went our separate ways, each to his/her own sessions of interest. Tuesday evening we were bussed to the National City Christian Church to hear The U.S. Army Chorus in Concert. There are no words to describe the terrific talent from this group. Awesome is the only word to explain the evening concert. Beyond the traditional military music and patriotic standards, the repertoire covered a broad spectrum that included pop and folk music as well.
Also on Tuesday some of us went to an organ recital at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church to hear this young lady, Loralee Cuylbert, who looked 12 and weighed about 80 pounds soaken wet, who played amazingly. I was waiting for the young lady and the organ to fly right out of the church.
On Wednesday as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium and on the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, we were bussed to and gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. After touring the Basilica we attended the Great Mass. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Huston was the celebrant. The planners and participants pulled out all the stops. There were banners, an orchestra and top of the line vocalists. After the Mass we received box lunches that we enjoyed outside on the lawn of the basilica or on the trip back to the Convention Center. On the afternoon when returning to the convention center, we listened to a plenum address from Rev. Dr. Vincent (Ricky) Manalo, csp. who spoke on Intercultuarating Inculturation: Examining The Past, Glimpsing The Future. He addressed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council as well as the relationship between liturgy and culture including unity and diversity known as “liturgical inculturation”.
There was so much to do and so many choices of sessions and workshops to attend that at times it was hard to make up our minds what would be best for our particular interests. As Daniel said “We don’t even have time to eat.”
Each morning there was a Mass at 7:00 am across the street at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. It was interesting as each morning a different priest attending the convention celebrated Mass, and there was a different group each day to provide music. On the last day we were there one of the locals asked one of us “Who are you?” The people that attended mass there loved all the extra attendance from the conference attendees and the music. It was so nice to be appreciated for attending to celebrate with them each morning.
Thursday after Morning Prayer we had Plenum on “Heritage and Renewal” by Paul Turner. He talked of “Art”, the treasury of the Church, venerable treasures, musical treasuries of the church including “ The Liturgy of the hours”, Sacred Scripture in the Bible, and Psalms in the Bible and that many pre Vatican hymns that are to be preserved,