1. After several years without cable, I was happy to hear how much EWTN’s choir music has improved. They always provided serviceable music, of course. But now they’ve got some kind of professional choir director doing great things with a small but excellent force of musicians. They also seem to be in the habit of performing more of the great choral repertoire of sacred music. Even the priests are chanting more.
EWTN’s usual daily choir seems to consist of seven men (Franciscans) and five women (laywomen, not sisters or nuns). The men usually chant the psalm.
Another nice touch is that the choir bows at the name of Jesus, which is actually in the rubrics for everybody but is often forgotten.
2. Newt Gingrich’s wife, Callie, was named ambassador to the Vatican and confirmed a few weeks back. She’s also joining the Sistine Chapel choir in her capacity as soprano. I am not sure how this avoids being a conflict of interest, except probably she is not getting paid like choristers usually are. (Also, to be fair, none of the female voice parts are particularly important in that choir. Which is probably how she avoids it being too much of a timesuck.)
Callie Gingrich has always been an interesting figure, to say the least. But harnessing her energies in the service of the United States is a pretty good idea; and sending a conservative woman to deal with Pope Francis’ curia will probably make quite a few heads explode.