Sometimes we work with a church organist and an experienced cantor who perform the mass parts without our ensemble, however, whenever we play a mass without them, I’m very confident about exactly where the music fits.
We recently worked with a cantor who was a little new at the job and needed some guidance regarding exactly when to sing. Since I’ve played for many masses and know the flow of the entire service, I was able to give her cues and her performance went off without a hitch.
This isn’t always the case. Priests do NOT wait for musicians or give us a wink or a nod when it’s time for us to play. We are expected to be part of the flow of their service must come in on time. If we don’t, the priest will simply read the words instead of singing them or even skip to the next part of the mass.
Be sure to ask your ensemble if they know exactly when and what to play during the entire mass. If they don’t, you may end up with a lot less string music than you’d planned on.