Pueri Cantores 2014, New York City. The vigil of the Feast of the Transfiguration.
Firstly, I've never driven to NYC before. Never been there, ever. It was much easier than I thought, though leaving at 5:30 in the morning with five children leaves a little to be desired. I anticipated a tired, cranky, restless bunch as the day would wear on, with an hours-long journey back home after the full day, but I remained hopeful. Practice for the festival began at 11, and we were at St.Ignatius in Manhattan on time.
Children are silly, itchy, and chatty. This particular bunch was no different. Mischief, squirming, giggling and talking at inappropriate times happened, but with roughly 250 children in one spot, that's to be expected.
The children's choirs (13 of them) were under the tutelage of a choir conductor from Chicago for the afternoon. He handled them masterfully, and culled from them rapt attention and beautiful vocalizations that perhaps they weren't aware they were able to perform. The culmination of hours of practice blended these choirs into a well oiled machine, each performing their own piece then becoming one for Holy Mass.
During Father's homily, he mentioned how at Mount Tabor, Christ was revealed for Whom He truly was, transifigured before men so they might know His True Nature.
Mass continued, and the children performed piece after piece, lovelier and lovelier as they went along. Even our beloved "Panis Angelicus" was sung so that it was the most impressive rendition I'd ever heard.
Then it was time for the recessional. The opening strains of "Jubilate Deo" began. At first, I dismissed how well I thought they were performing as a natural reaction from a proud mother. Then they sang louder, and broke into their parts, harmonizing and singing the refrain in the sweetest rounds. Yes, I was proud. But this was magnificent. I cried.
These children - itchy, silly, chatty, mischievous, and squirming - I watched them, on this Feast of the Transfiguration, experience their own little transfiguration during their emotion-evoking performances, so that we might see them as they truly are: pure, beautiful, joyful, powerful young souls.
I can only imagine that we heard a small portion of what it must sound like in Heaven. I wish you could have heard them.