Moving the Choir from the Loft

This Sunday's mass was a bit out of the ordinary. I thought all along it would be the usual commentator role I will be taking.

The only difference I saw when I came in was that the choir including their electronic devices (microphones, keyboard) were relocated. From the usual choir loft, they are now located in front, near the corner where the commentator's lectern is positioned.

As I was giving the initial announcements before the mass, I noticed the sound system wasn't as clear as usual. Sure, I could hear my voice over the microphone, but it just didn't sound right. It's like my spoken words weren't clear enough.

So I had this temptation of increasing the volume of my voice to compensate. My impression was that the microphone's volume was inadvertently set low.

Question and Answer Blunder

The mass proceeded with me raising the volume of my voice just a bit more in the responses. I was afraid I wasn't being heard clearly over the sound system.

When the homily came about, I was a hundred percent sure something was wrong. I couldn't understand most of what the priest, Fr. Jolly was saying. There were a few phrases in his homily which I heard clearly, but the rest sound more like muffled echoes.

In other words, the homily wasn't making any sense at all to me.

Halfway through the homily, the priest seemed to stop. There was a brief silence. Then, all of a sudden, I saw all the people's faces in the assembly looking at me!

I was surprised and panicked a little because the next words I heard were, "Commentator? Hello?" The priest was asking a question in the homily and, apparently, pointed the question to me.

Now I've served with this priest before as a lector. I recall him being fond of a mock question-and-answer session during his homilies. However, in this Sunday's homily, I had no idea what his question was all about.

So I just gestured and pointed my fingers to my ear and shook my head. This supposedly meant that: either I didn't hear him, or I didn't hear him clearly enough. I suppose he understood my gesture and simply let it go.

Embarrassment and Analysis

It was a bit embarrassing to see all these faces looking at you and then expecting you for something. I looked at the choir at my side and a couple of the faces there too were looking at me with wonderment. But then too, I was oblivious of what's happening.

That, of course, led me to my investigative overdrive. What exactly was going on? Why is it that the sound I'm hearing coming from the sound system of the church is loud enough, but not clear enough?

It seems though that people in the assembly were hearing me clearly because they are able to follow in the mass responses. Then I realized I was probably speaking much louder than I should.

The problem was not the volume of my speaking voice. It is now apparent that the loudness and clarity of my speech is just fine. The problem is the sound I'm hearing (me, and just me) from the sound system is not clear.

(see Part 2 for the continuation of this article)