Psalmist Seminar and Workshop

This would be my first time to attend this basic formation seminar. The actual seminar is called Basic Formation Seminar for Psalmists. There was a similar formation last year but I didn't attend that one. I didn't take that seminar too seriously because: There was too little information about it; The announcement was given on short notice; I didn't have the inclination to become a psalmist.

It may have been a coincidence that I didn't attend because in that batch, nobody was commissioned as psalmist. The diocese was still in a state of drafting the ministry's role, purpose and organization.

This time around, I was included in a list for possible psalmists in the parish. How the list was made up is anybody's guess, I suppose. But I heard some of those included were grumbling and some altogether withdrew from the list. Me, I had ambivalent thoughts and decided to join if only for the learning experience. I realize though, that to be taken seriously, the role of a psalmist takes a bit more time - for practicing.

The Morning Session of the Psalmist Seminar

The basic formation seminar was a one-day affair, although like formation seminars I've attended at the diocese, I thought it could've been shortened.

While we were waiting for the registration, the tables at the hall were abuzz with activity: participants filling up forms, attendees calling friends and co-parishioners to join them, and folks just chatting.

What caught my attention were small groups of young participants singing tunes in the style of a struggling barber's quartet. They had music sheets before them and seemed like they were practicing for something. It was as though they were in a queue for the American Idol audition.

It was nice to hear at first but then it became a bit annoying especially when it appeared they were trying to perform for the rest of the seminar participants. It didn't stop there at the registration. They were at it again during the morning break.

The topics on the seminar's morning session was about the purpose, importance and other elements of psalmody as well as liturgical songs. Much of the discussion revolved on psalm concepts as well as the direction the dioceses is taking as far as a psalmist ministry is concerned.

Long Queues at Seminar Lunch

There were probably two hundred attendees in this formation seminar and there were only two food booths available. No, food isn't free. We were lucky that we were were probably 10th in line in one of the food booths. We were unlucky in that those queuing ahead of us were buying pack lunches for their groupmates. No wonder the queue wasn't moving for a good 15 minutes!

Note to self: Bring your own packed lunch NEXT TIME!

After finally paying for our packed lunches, I briefly scanned the mess hall and there was no place to sit. There were groups from parishes that were so big that they almost occupied entire tables. Bringing the lunch packs we bought, we were not so lucky to get a table. We already at the end of the mess hall when I joked that we might end up eating at the guard house.

Well, that almost happened!

The guard, upon seeing us, told us we could use his small table and share it with a couple of lady attendees. The two ladies, bless their hearts, were quite accommodating to share the small table with us. The two ladies, one of them middle aged and the other a senior citizen, were just taking snacks and bottled water over lunch.
(Continuation is in Part 2)