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An Encouraging Story


Peter Clark
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RC members and indeed anyone who cares for the future of music and the encouraging of children to sing in church should take a look at this week's edition of the Catholic Herald which has an excellent article concerning a husband and wife team which has ditched all the happy-clappy (crappy) stuff and actually got children as young as nine getting into such as Vittoria and plainsong! It reminds me of a story in Kenneth Long's History of English Church Music in which some children - not great churchgoers it seems - said that when they did go to church they wanted to hear real church music and not shallow sub-pop music. Hmmm.

 

Peter

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RC members and indeed anyone who cares for the future of music and the encouraging of children to sing in church should take a look at this week's edition of the Catholic Herald which has an excellent article concerning a husband and wife team which has ditched all the happy-clappy (crappy) stuff and actually got children as young as nine getting into such as Vittoria and plainsong! It reminds me of a story in Kenneth Long's History of English Church Music in which some children - not great churchgoers it seems - said that when they did go to church they wanted to hear real church music and not shallow sub-pop music. Hmmm.

 

Peter

 

What an encouraging post.

 

It is probably rather too early to talk of the tide changing - or of the pendulum swinging the other way, but, who knows - perhaps things might be on the up-turn....

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Similiar thing where i am. There is now 13 boys singing in the front line, all from non-church families who are now used to a staple diet of stanford etc (not quite vittoria but very few are going to have issues with it)

 

Upon the clergy putting down 'shine Jesus shine' - the head chorister promptly asked the vicar when the proper hymns were going to be returning. His face was priceless.

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RC members and indeed anyone who cares for the future of music and the encouraging of children to sing in church should take a look at this week's edition of the Catholic Herald which has an excellent article concerning a husband and wife team which has ditched all the happy-clappy (crappy) stuff and actually got children as young as nine getting into such as Vittoria and plainsong! It reminds me of a story in Kenneth Long's History of English Church Music in which some children - not great churchgoers it seems - said that when they did go to church they wanted to hear real church music and not shallow sub-pop music. Hmmm.

 

Peter

 

Pinch me. Am I dreaming? What a positive article. I strongly believe that (good) music can bring the scriptures alive. It’s nice to know that another generation are being inspired by the music of previous generations.

 

:)

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Similiar thing where i am. There is now 13 boys singing in the front line, all from non-church families who are now used to a staple diet of stanford etc (not quite vittoria but very few are going to have issues with it)

 

Upon the clergy putting down 'shine Jesus shine' - the head chorister promptly asked the vicar when the proper hymns were going to be returning. His face was priceless.

 

Wonderful!

 

This is also most encouraging.

 

Generally our hymns are not too bad - we choose those for Choral Matins and Choral Evensong each week. Just occasionally, however, I will find myself playing something odd during the Mass. The worst was a couple of years ago, when The Servant King was chosen to end the Mass. I telephoned the person concerned and said that I felt that it could be unwise to place that particular hymn in that slot - could it be moved? I was told that, liturgically, it had to be there. Well we did it - and, interestingly, afterwards, many people were complaining about it. We have not had the hymn since. (In retrospect, I could not see any liturgical reason why the hymn had to be at the end of the Mass, but no matter.)

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RC members and indeed anyone who cares for the future of music and the encouraging of children to sing in church should take a look at this week's edition of the Catholic Herald which has an excellent article concerning a husband and wife team which has ditched all the happy-clappy (crappy) stuff and actually got children as young as nine getting into such as Vittoria and plainsong! It reminds me of a story in Kenneth Long's History of English Church Music in which some children - not great churchgoers it seems - said that when they did go to church they wanted to hear real church music and not shallow sub-pop music. Hmmm.

 

Peter

 

 

==============================

 

 

The suggestion that the tide is turning may well be true, and after years of neglect, it seems to be the RC church which is leading the way in certain areas. This is certainly true in the Leeds Diocese, which is rapidly developing an outreach programme of choral church-music at parish level, with an inspired and energetic ful-time staff to match.

 

It may be early days as yet, but this morning, we had 11am mass sung by the 'Bradford Youth Choir,' one of the principal organisations within the diocesan music-programme. The music consisted of the Haydn "Little organ mass" and, to my personal delight, some Spanish Rennaissance church-music, which fairly danced to a duet of violins and a tambourine.

 

It was amusing to contemplate that our small parish, and its splendid church, had probably never had not one, not two, but three graduate organists/music directors contributing their talents at a single mass....the place being overrun by them! My own contribution was restricted to the opening voluntaries and the hymns, and spending three hours until 11pm last-night, busily getting the organ back in tune after the ravages of winter and the defunct, (but now repaired), church-heating.

 

Just how seriously the Leeds Diocese are taking this music and outreach programme can be seen on the various website URL's below, but here is the list (with notes) of the full-time professional staff involved:-

 

Diocesan Director of Music

Benjamin Saunders

 

Benjamin Saunders was organ scholar of Downing College, Cambridge and sub-organist at the cathedrals of St Giles’ Edinburgh and Blackburn before becoming Assistant Director of Music at Chester Cathedral in 1998. Since 2002 he has been Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds with overall responsibility for all the choirs and liturgical music in over 90 schools and 130 parishes. His website has further details of concerts and educational work. www.directorofmusic.org

 

Assistant Director of Music

Christopher McElroy

 

Christopher McElroy has previously held posts at Wakefield and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedrals and in the United States as Director of Music for a catholic parish in New Jersey. He has special responsibility for a large youth choir project in partnership with the Primary and Secondary Schools of Bradford and Keighley. From the many ensembles he works with, new prize winning Bradford Boys' and Bradford Girls' Choirs have recently been established.

 

Choral Director

Christopher Johns

 

Christopher Johns was educated at Cambridge University. He was subsequently organ scholar at Durham Cathedral and completed his doctorate studies at Durham University. He is responsible for the delivery of the Bradford Youth Choir programme to primary schools and also leads the Bradford Boys Choir.

 

Music Office Administrator

Mrs Claudine Tat

 

Assistant Organist

Julie Tanner

 

Daniel Rathbone - Organ Scholar

 

Lynne Howie - Singing Teacher

 

Lynne Howie is an experienced vocal coach, specialising in children's voices. She gives private tuition to the choristers on Saturdays at the cathedral.

 

Peter Davoren - Choral Conducting Scholar

 

Peter Davoren is a final year undergraduate at Leeds University. He is director of the university Chamber Choir and a member of the Rudolfus choir.

 

That's quite an impressive list of personnel, and with a new (digital) temporary organ at Leeds RC Cathedral, it adds up to a major financial investment. In addition, there are plans to restore and augment the old Norman & Beard pipe-organ at the cathedral.

 

Whilst much good work has been going on at the cathedral for some years, with personnel like Joseph Cullen involved, the outreach music-programme is very exciting indeed, and it may well be that we will try and develop choral-music at our church, as part of the programme.

 

Of course, I would want a raise!!!!!! :)

 

Here are the links, which make interesting reading, and which at the speed of light, include details of this morning's mass replete with a small photograph.

 

http://www.dioceseofleeds.org.uk/cathedral/music/choirs.php

 

 

http://www.bradfordyouthchoir.org/index.htm

 

 

It was well worth the effort of staying up until 1am scribbling out a fairly adventurous re-harmonsiation of the last verse of the last hymn, which raised a few eyebrows, to say the least.

 

"Where did you find those harmonies?" Someone asked.

 

I smiled sweetly and pretended not to hear.

 

Thank-you Max; I never knew there were quite so many derivates of the 7th chord! :)

 

MM

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Guest Andrew Butler

I'm not sure if it is permitted/ethical, or whatever, to "link" to another forum (Mr Mander.........??) but I have run this thread elsewhere. If anyone is interested in how it goes (or doesn't!!) there, PM me and I will give you the URL.

 

PS - I know that at least one contributor here contributes to the other forum I have in mind!)

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