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Elton At The Cathedral


Peter Clark
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I hope this is not too off-topic but I think it is of sufficient interest to the many of us here who work in or for a church. You will have noticed that Elton John hired the Catrhedral of St John the Divibe for his 60th birthday bash. Now this is the same Elton John who recently called for religion to be abolished! So this propmpts some questions:

 

1) Why did he want his birthday celebrated in a building dedicated to the upholding of a major world religion?

2) Why, given his views on religion, did the cathedral authorities allow it?

3) Has any representation been made to the cathedral authorities by disgruntled persons?

 

Whatever next I wonder? The Rolling Stones at Canterbury with a guest appearence by David Flood on keyboards? (Groovy ivories, Dave! :lol: )

 

This cathedral, incidentally, is the one in which Philip Glass played Mad Rush when the Dali Lama visited (o my God is he still going on about Mad Rush I hear you cry! :D ) It may also be the one briefly featutred in the film 84 Charing Cross Road where the choir are singing For Unto Us a Child is Born.

 

Peter

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Guest Lee Blick

Who cares? Don't solo musicians hire out cathedrals for their recitals? They may not be adherents to the Christian faith. And so what if Elton John speaks out against religion? The USA is a democratic nation is it not? Or perhaps we should look to the tolerance and generosity of the Christian spirit as demonstrated by the Archdeacon of Tobago who proclaimed Elton John should not be welcomed on the island, lest the male population suddenly turn into sodomites burning in lust with each other...

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Not quite sure what this is got to do with Organs !

 

 

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Maybe this is not a suitable topic for the board, but for the record, Sir Elton John has been responsible personally, for over $500,000,000 of charitable donations to the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS around the world, with every bit of profit from his last 17 years of recordings donated to the cause.

 

MM

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The authorities at St John the Divine also offered hospitality to, and provided a formal office for, one of my heroes, Philippe Petit ; those of you old enough (I was in the 6th form at the time) may remember that he was the tightrope walker who stretched a rope, and walked, between the twin towers of the Word Trade Centre in 1974.

 

You can read his amazing story in his book 'To Reach the Clouds' published by Faber. I keep it near me at all times ; whenever I think anything I want to do is impossible, I just glance at the book to remind me what can be achieved with dedication (and, it must be admitted, outrageous talent).

 

Anyway, the point is this ; Petit is a confirmed agnostic. When the Bishop of New York was asked why the Cathedral had entertained him, he replied that whilst Petit did not believe in God, God believed in Petit.

 

That, I think, is the best possible answer to the question that has been raised.

 

 

M

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I've heard Dorothy Papadakos play the StJtD Skinner play in a broadway musical style (does she do anythinge else?) - so why no Elton John there? His performance at Lady Di's funeral was moving, and that's what (church)music is about?

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His performance at Lady Di's funeral was moving, and that's what (church)music is about?

 

I have never thought that church music is about being "moving"; rather it should assist in reflecting on theological truths and personal devotion....and be if at all possible scripture/doctrine based, something I feel cannot be said for Candle in the Wind.

 

Peter

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Yes, not one of the Abbey's greatest moments. EJ's banal unmusical utterance at no place on such an occassion.

 

I couldn't disagree more. The church plays a significant part in the bereavement process, and so does music in people's lives. If people can (and always do) offer spoken tributes about a person and their life, then why on earth not musical ones?

 

As for banal and unmusical, I would be inclined to feel that there are plenty of hymn tunes in frequent circulation which are far more banal and unmusical, and certainly less competently written and performed, but get offered in service nonetheless.

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I couldn't disagree more. The church plays a significant part in the bereavement process, and so does music in people's lives. If people can (and always do) offer spoken tributes about a person and their life, then why on earth not musical ones?

 

As for banal and unmusical, I would be inclined to feel that there are plenty of hymn tunes in frequent circulation which are far more banal and unmusical, and certainly less competently written and performed, but get offered in service nonetheless.

 

 

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

 

 

I would agree, but go much further.

 

I love sanctimony in all its guises, but could anyone please tell me exactly why we should have religion, if it isn't first and foremost about people?

 

I think I would prefer a humble religion which addresses the cares and concerns of real lives, rather than a vain-glorious one which re-invents God in the image of ourselves.

 

Was "Eleanor Rigby," by the Beatles, just another banal offering about loneliness and emptyness, as well as about people being in situations which isolate them from life?

 

I think I prefer that and "Candle in the wind" to "We are not alone" in the hymnal.

 

I think it was entirely appropriate that Sir Elton John should sing at the funeral of Princess Diana, because she was the one who took a lead in showing compassion for HIV/AIDS sufferers, at a time when others showed fear and ignorance for what is, in reality, just another disease among many.

 

MM

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Guest Lee Blick
===========================

I would agree, but go much further.

 

I love sanctimony in all its guises, but could anyone please tell me exactly why we should have religion, if it isn't first and foremost about people?

 

I think I would prefer a humble religion which addresses the cares and concerns of real lives, rather than a vain-glorious one which re-invents God in the image of ourselves.

 

Was "Eleanor Rigby," by the Beatles, just another banal offering about loneliness and emptyness, as well as about people being in situations which isolate them from life?

 

I think I prefer that and "Candle in the wind" to "We are not alone" in the hymnal.

 

I think it was entirely appropriate that Sir Elton John should sing at the funeral of Princess Diana, because she was the one who took a lead in showing compassion for HIV/AIDS sufferers, at a time when others showed fear and ignorance for what is, in reality, just another disease among many.

 

MM

 

I totally agree with this. I am no longer a Christian but I am still 'moved' by some religious choral and instrumental music, not particularly for the 'holy' sentiment but on an emotional creative humanistic aspect of it. Modern pieces as well as traditional styles move me.

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