A few of the Benedictine monks from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert were on an MSNBC programme called The Today Show, and, appropriately enough, I believe they were on today.
I actually recognize a few of the monks from a retreat I took at their monastery several years ago. It is a wonderful place, hidden deep in the New Mexico desert, surrounded by awe-inspiring red cliffs. At night the darkness and the silence are profound. The doors of the guests’ cells open separately on the top and bottom, so that the top can be opened to permit a breeze while the bottom is closed to prevent snakes from making an unwelcome visit. The monks I met there remain close to my heart, though I’ve not spoken to any of them for years. I would love to go back someday.
They sing well, and I love them for it, but it is obvious that this music does not belong in this context. The contrast between the solemnity and dignity of the music and the amazing ditziness of the hosts is jarring. The music is meant to resound through a large space; here each of the voices is miked separately, and in consequence the engineers have had to apply some annoying processing to blend the voices. I hope these brothers have a good trip home, where they can once again sing this beautiful music in a place, and for a purpose, for which it is intended.