Monday, July 13, 2009

Compás Center for the Performing Arts

It’s been quite a while
Since I posted something of substance to this blog.
There are a lot of reasons for that,
But I won’t go into that right now.
For now,
I want to tell you about
Another decision I made recently.

About a week ago,
An old friend of mine came to mass.
I’ve known Ismael for years.
He used to work as the pastoral musician
At Detroit’s Holy Redeemer.

While I was yet at Ste. Anne,
He and I worked together with Dr. Norah Duncan, IV
To present Ariel Ramirez’ Misa Criolla.
. . and then there was the mobile music school
of the MOSES organization. . .
the Detroit Youth Symphony in the plaza. . .
. . .most recently Ismael helped to bring
the DSO youth to Detroit’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta,
an event I’m so involved which each year. . .
yeah, Ismael and I go way back. . . .

He spent some time in Chile
(his native land)
and then returned to Detroit.
He quickly landed a job
As the Director of Compás Center for the Performing Arts.

I’ve seen Compás.
I drive by there all the time.
I’m sadden to say,
That until last week
I never ventured into the building.

Ismael came to see me.
He said he needed a piano instructor
For the summer program.
I don’t know what happened
To the instructor he had lined up.

I said I’d think about it.
Although I had thought about teaching,
I wasn’t sure that I was quite ready.
But you know,
When The Call comes,
Most of us aren’t.
And I do consider my musicianship
A Calling.
God gave me a mother
Who instilled in me a love for music
And she made sure I went to the Conservatory
Every week. . . even on summer vacation. . .
I consider myself Graced. . .
. . .also called by that same Grace
to share the gift of music. . .
But now???
At Compás???
Couldn’t it wait until the fall???
Yeah. . . .
. . .we always make excuses, don’t we?

The very least I could do
Is spend some time with an old friend
And see the center.
I had a meeting with Ismael over at Compás.
That building is amazing!
One would never guess such an amazing center
For the performing arts was right there
In the heart of SW Detroit.
A dance hall with mirrors and ballet bars,
Guitars, keyboards,
Concert hall. . . you name, they have it!

Once I saw all of the photos of inner city youth
All around that building,
I had no other alternative but to say, “yes.”

So, beginning tomorrow
(on Tuesday and Thursdays)
I will be teaching the piano/keyboard classes
At Compás Center for the Performing Arts.

Why would I write about this in a Liturgy blog?
Because Liturgy is Life
And Life is Liturgy.

I know Liturgy with a capital “L”
Is the public worship of the Church.
But liturgy with a small “l”
Is the stuff of our daily lives
That helps to build up church.
Sometimes the call to serve
Comes from places
other than on the church grounds.

Liturgy, as we all know,
Is the work of the people.
But it’s not just any work.
It’s a work done with the people,
For the people,
To build up the people and the community.
It’s a work
To make the community better.

I can sing my heart out on Sunday.
I can rehearse choirs.
But if I am not creating
The pastoral musician
Who will one day replace me
I am not doing the work
God commissioned me to do.

At mass last Thursday
I asked some of the members
Of the children’s choir
If they were taking any classes at Compás.
Many were.
I told them that I was going to be teaching.
It wasn’t hard to find new recruits!
Sunday morning I was passing out brochures
To the families that were interested.

The classes may not be in church
Or on church grounds
Or have anything to do with the parish. .
.. . but really, it does.
It affects and effects
The children of the community.
That, my friends,
Makes it liturgy with a small “l,”
Which can only serve to build
Liturgy with a capital “L.”

Life is a Liturgy.
And I am just delighted
That our good and gracious God
Is finding more and more ways
For me to serve in the inner city.
It is life giving beyond measure.

Check it Out:
Compás Center for the Performing Arts