We visited Old Town, Alexandria last night for a few hours with the Catholic University Chamber Choir, performing at the Basilica of Saint Mary. Timothy McDonnell, whom I met a few years ago when he was at Ave Maria University, is now the conductor.

It was my first time to the Basilica of Saint Mary, and an appropriate way to prepare for the start of Lent. The choir performed:

  • Sinfonia al Santo Sepolcro in B minor, RV 169 (Antonio Vivaldi)
  • Stabat Mater, Op. 138 (Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger)
  • “Hospodi, vozzvah” from Vespers (Roman Hurko)
  • “Credo” from Berliner Messe (1992) (Arvo Pärt)
  • The Eyes of All (Jean Berger)
  • Peità Signore (Anonymous)
  • Ave Maria (Harold Boatrite)
  • Qui seminant (Herold Boatrite)
  • Die mit Tränen saēn, SWV 378 (Heinrich Schūtz)
  • Miserere in C Minor, ZWV 57 (Jan Dismas Zelenka)
  • Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

We called the day before Ash Wednesday Fat Tuesday at home when I was growing up, the English for Mardi Gras, a day for indulgence before the self-denial of Lent. I also remember hearing Fastnacht Day at some point. But I think the older Shrove Tuesday speaks more to the point of the day as a time for preparation for the season of Lent to come, rather than as one more opportunity for the sort of indulgence that already characterizes almost any other time on the calendar.