I just got home from the Bukas Palad Choir Convention and I had a fabulous time. It was 10 hours of sharing my passion for liturgical music with over 1000 people from all over the country. I knew it was special when one of the BP members, Sheerin, told me at the registration table that we were schoolmates in grade school. She said that I look much more beautiful now. God bless her beautiful soul. :) I then told her that I used to watch her perform weekly at Tia Maria's, ages ago, in my past life. We had a good laugh at that one.
I didn't know about the Choir Convention until my friends at the parish made me sign up, and somebody paid for my registration and was so kind enough to process the pre-registration himself. He signed me up under his community, however, so I felt a bit sheepish about that because I later found out that the Lingkod QC music ministry was attending, and I was signed up under a different choir. Well we all sat together during the whole thing and it turned out for the best, as I made new friends in my new, temporary, parish-based "community".
The talks were informative. Since my mindset was not the same as those in charge of church music, I had some free time when they separated into groups to talk about choir issues. My friends and I absolutely enjoyed the numbers from Hangad, Hail Mary Choir (I should get their name correctly - they were absolutely fantastic and deserved the Choir Olympics award that they won! And they are just little children!), Noel Cabangon (THE man), and of course Bukas Palad! I appreciated Fr. Manoling's talk about liturgical music as it made a lot of sense, and I wish our parish choirs were represented there. I picked up several things that I would share with the Lingkod QC Music Min as well. The mass was special because we applied what we learned. It was not a charismatic mass but I could not help raising my hands in praise and worship at the sheer beauty of the music that we made for God. It was repeatedly emphasized that music during mass should just support the offering of the Eucharist. Music ministers should never draw attention to themselves. I was in awe of the gift of music that God gave His people so we could worship Him more fully.
It was a humid day, and that was the only downside! It was a well-planned event, and for a minimal registration fee, we all went home with so much more than we expected to get from it. I am thankful to have been part of it. Although music is not my primary service at this time, it always has a special place in my heart. I'm not discounting the possibility that God might have plans of using me in this area in the future. I am thankful that the Bukas Palad members so generously shared with us so many tips and tools that they had gained from experience. As I also attended the Hillsong/United music workshop a month ago, I feel so blessed now to see the Filipino and Catholic way of glorifying God through music.
I bought a BP shirt and wore it immediately. An hour after the concert, people at Mc Donald's mistook me for a BP member. It was a short-lived honor! Well, I can understand now more than ever why people want to be part of BP, and why it is THE mother of all church choirs. It is sometimes good to dream of being one of those who could sing that way about God. All in God's time, I know.
I would go to sleep in a while with more hope, faith, joy, and love. I picked those up as a music minister, who is practicing probably for a heavenly choir. In this world I would always be limited by my being my worst critic as a musician. But coming from a convention and concert like that, I was able to let go of my fears and anxieties, and to appreciate music as an integral part of a people's relationship with the Lord.
Tomorrow, or should I say, later, I would face my fears again as I would give an LSS talk for the first time. I've been helping to give the CLP ever since I met the Lord in 1993, but the LSS is a whole new language. There's always a new way to serve the Lord. May the participants gain something, because this instrument needs a lot of tuning. Times like this, I know that it is the sheer power of the Holy Spirit who could touch hearts, return souls and transform lives. I hope to be part of that once more.
With the right music to listen to as I prepare today, I'm going to make it through until the talk tonight. Perhaps I should listen to Offertory songs, for this talk is an offering and another step in faith. It is my way of responding to the call "to sing forever of God's love", and to do my talk version of "humayo't ihayag". Thank you, Bukas Palad, for inspiring me through your music. That in all things God may be glorified.