An idea for the upcoming LCWR assembly in St. Louis

My years in Italy exposed me to the incredible phenomenon of the small town bands which would be part of processions through the streets.

They were uniformly dreadful and delightful!

However, the Italian banda cittadina‘s got NUTHIN on these guy from Poland!

Here, friends, thanks to a kind reader is, for your enjoyment …

A Funeral March from somewhere in Poland!


If they weren’t all male (or so I assume) we might take up a collection and fly them in to help with the liturgies of the LCWR Assembly.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m surprised that the late lamented didn’t rare right up out of his coffin.
    DO you suppose that they don’t realize they have a B flat clarinet and a C trumpet and an E flat sousaphone?
    That’s worse than my kids’ elementary school primary band (and louder).

  2. Joan M says:

    Ha, ha ha ha ha …….. They are AWFUL! They would be just right for the small congregation at this morning’s Mass – there were eight people (not including me – I kept silent) and there were at least 5 different keys used!

  3. JohnE says:

    Not bad, but I think they should get Alfalfa to sing with them.

  4. HyacinthClare says:

    You said “dreadful” — I guess I should have been warned.

  5. samgr says:

    Wasn’t there an elementary school kid playing one of the clarinets? The sharp/flat one, I presume.

  6. Nun2OCDS says:

    The band is pretty much together, keeping good time. The LCWR does NOT deserve something this good.

  7. Gaetano says:

    La banda cittadina is a dear Italian tradition, and a few of them still exist in Italian-American enclaves here in the U.S. (New York, Boston, Philadelphia & Chicago).

    Our family was back in Italy to visit our tiny ancestral village. There was a bit of a celebration when we arrived, and while the mayor even came out to say hello, one of the few disappointments was that la banda cittadina did not make an appearance.

    I believe there is some obscure fragment in Italian municipal code forbidding the tuning of instruments before a performance.

  8. pledbet424 says:

    It does sound like the band I played in during elementary school. I played the trombone rather badly.

  9. jarhead462 says:

    Those bands remind me of the Sicilian Wedding scene in The Godfather. Awful and lovely at the same time!

    Semper Fi!

  10. filioque says:

    Some famous conductor said that the most important thing is for the orchestra to begin together and end together and these guys did that! Also the cymbals were in tune.

  11. jflare says:

    Well, they say it only takes ONE bad apple to ruin the barrel.
    They actually weren’t all that terribly bad.
    Sad to say, my fellow clarinet player had some real trouble; ruined most of the sound. I wonder if he might’ve had a stuck key? I recall having all manner of trouble with sounding remotely OK if the instrument needed repair.

    @AmericanMom: I’m no musical expert by any stretch, but if I recall correctly, when our director wanted us to tune up, he’d name a different note to play for each different instrument section. But when we all began, it all came out to be a C scale. Don’t ask me how it works–I don’t know–but I don’t think all instruments in a band are tuned the same way.

    PS. Any band instructors out there who can fill me in?

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    There were a few klunkers, but they are sweet and endearing. I really love all small town bands, so earnest!

  13. Joe in Canada says:

    It would actually be possible for them to make a right move that makes things worse.

  14. Bea says:

    If the deceased wasn’t already, he would have died on the spot.

  15. Son of Trypho says:

    Rather cruel of you Father.

    How could you in good conscience inflict an LCWR Assembly liturgy on these guys?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  16. paulbailes says:

    Let’s not forget to say a prayer for the deceased here.

  17. pm125 says:

    What if the empty chair were for the one and what if they were playing a song he liked to play? Maybe the chair is just to hold a tuba or for an ailing band member at the tribute.

  18. pledbet424 says:

    Reminds me of a band I heard on the Andy Griffith show years ago. After watching it again, they are better than Andy Griffith’s band!

  19. Kenneth Jones says:

    Ah. Making a joyful noise to be sure.

  20. Sword40 says:

    What can I say; its horrible. Just perfect for our lady feminazis. This too shall pass.

  21. APX says:

    That brought images of one of my band directors banging her baton on the stand, while shouting “tuning! Tuning! TUNING!!” and then throwing her baton at the clarinet section for not paying attention to her.”

  22. oldCatholigirl says:

    Dreadful, and earnest, and charming, and poignant. Far too good for the know-it-alls at the LCWR. I fear that people are too pseudo-sophisticated nowadays to simply get out there and do their poor best for the departed–or the returning emigrant–or the town festival. Or, OTOH, too proud if they do to take suggestions on how to improve in good part. So, those who fit into the category of “talented and gifted” (in music, the arts, whatever) are groomed for stardom from earliest youth, are ashamed of or contemptuous of imperfect performances, and feel themselves forever failures if they do not end up making megabucks. And all the others are stuck in the role of passive spectators or lowest common denominator performance. (E.g., I’m amazed at the number of young men one meets who are or were in rock bands.) Everyone loses: the pool from which the truly gifted emerge is diminished; sandlot baseball goes the way of the local band; the majority of any congregation in any style of worship do not open their mouths; dancefloors are deserted ; and nobody gets the chance to grow from “dreadful” to “pretty darn good”.

  23. PA mom says:

    Just returned from the school’s May Crowning.
    I have now experienced liturgical dancing, and I am stunned. I feel slightly sick, the kids looked uncomfortable, and I am sure that this is something that they will mock in high school, the same way I did some of this.
    Ahh, the work of creating lapsed Catholics is never done….

  24. Augustin57 says:

    Father, you were being kind when you called them dreadful. They’re much worse than that! LOL

  25. AnAmericanMother says:

    There IS a middle ground. I am a strictly amateur musician, although I had piano lessons when I was a kid (I was astonished to learn that this traditional rite of passage has gone by the boards).
    But even strictly amateur musicians have standards.
    I think the problem is that kids are not encouraged to make music on their own any more (see piano lesson note above). If you can’t get hold of a piano, for goodness’ sake get the kids into a decent choir.

  26. AnAmericanMother says:

    Your score is different depending on what key your instrument is in. In other words your B flat clarinet score will show everything a half step up (I had a mercifully brief stint playing the clarinet in our elementary school band.) Because instruments like clarinets and saxophones and trumpets come in different ranges, the idea is to keep the fingering the same no matter which instrument you’re playing.
    The really good guys transpose on the fly & don’t need their music written out. Needless to say most of us are nowhere near that level, but I admire the heck out of folks who can do it. Our music director can transpose all over the place — one of his more amusing pastimes (when there’s a pretty boring hymn) is to transpose each verse up half a step as we go along.

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