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Guest Andrew Butler
This is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, Tony! It depends largely on the people and resources available. I can think of numerous occasions when worship (of varying styles) has been badly 'led' by a worship group - or instrumental group. At such times, I remain convinced that I for one could have managed the job more effectively on a reasonable piano or pipe organ (both of which were present, in each case).

 

I agree. I made this point on another forum quite a while ago - http://www.ssg.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?...;highlight=#615 - and got a bit of a battering!! :)

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I agree. I made this point on another forum quite a while ago - http://www.ssg.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?...;highlight=#615 - and got a bit of a battering!! :)

 

Reading the posting from the above link makes me realise how lucky I am - we do have input on occasions with a keyboard and instruments etc. - either I do it very much in the way I would do at school (ie in class or with the numerous pop/rock ensembles around the place) or the Rector does it himself - and probably more effectively and tastefull than ever I could!

 

AJJ

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I would describe myself as a Christian agnostic.

 

 

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

 

We are as one!

 

I'm simply not big enough to understand, but not small enough as to not question things.

 

I love the Christian ethic and the concept of unconditional love; though I mostly fall well short of it. I don't even regard it as a religion, and I'm quite certain that Jesus (a fully paid up member of the Jewish faith) also didn't regard it as one.

 

I'm afraid I was terribly excited as a boy by "the death of God" theologians back in the 1960's, and Boenhoffer I still find interesting and exciting to-day; so I expect I will be going to hell.

 

:)

 

MM

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Guest Andrew Butler
At a parish level I’m with Tony on this one, although anyone who is prepared to find the time to run a choir and provide music should be welcomed with opened arms. At a cathedral level then the person’s musical ability should be the main thing that counts. As has been mentioned on another thread, Howells was an atheist, yet you can’t doubt his contribution to church music.

 

:)

 

So... in a Cathedral, spirituality can be absent, and at parish level it doesn't matter what the music's like..? :P

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So... in a Cathedral, spirituality can be absent, and at parish level it doesn't matter what the music's like..? :P

 

Um, err, no. Lay Vicar Choral (Lay Clark) were/are employed to sing the office; the DOM to provide music. Whether they believe in God is their choice, as long as they produce the goods. They are professional musicians at the end of the day. At a Parish level it does matter what the standard of music is like. It should be to the best of the ability of those producing it. The majority of Parish musicians aren’t professional musicians, they’re (sweeping statement) churchgoers who have a keen interest in music. Psalm 150 is their mission statement.

 

:)

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I can't help feeling that Phil is drawing a distinction between parish churches and cathedrals that doesn't - or at least shouldn't - exist. Cathedrals are not concert halls. Both types of church have a duty of pastoral care to their communities and both should perform music to the best of their ability. I do not see any great difference between them except that the cathedrals are able to attract more able musicians than most other churches.

 

Similarly, though perhaps it is not for me to say (but when did I ever let that stop me?) I do not believe whether or not a musician believes in God should be an issue, so long as they are able to contribute effectively to the spiritual welfare of the place and do not sow any disharmony. A church that is interested only in believers is a barren place. In any case, if such a church exists, where does it draw the line? After all, you will barely find two Christians who believe exactly the same things.

 

Of course the DOM may be in a delicate position if there are young people in the choir. If (s)he does not looks after their spiritual education it is unlikely that anyone else will. Even so, when I was a choirboy it was never mentioned by the organist or choirmaster, yet I still managed to absorb it all from the services. This, though, was in the days when the Authorised Version of the bible was used exclusively so you got to recognise whole chunks of it - and I had supportive parents.

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I can't help feeling that Phil is drawing a distinction between parish churches and cathedrals that doesn't - or at least shouldn't - exist. Cathedrals are not concert halls. Both types of church have a duty of pastoral care to their communities and both should perform music to the best of their ability. I do not see any great difference between them except that the cathedrals are able to attract more able musicians than most other churches.

 

Similarly, though perhaps it is not for me to say (but when did I ever let that stop me?) I do not believe whether or not a musician believes in God should be an issue, so long as they are able to contribute effectively to the spiritual welfare of the place and do not sow any disharmony. A church that is interested only in believers is a barren place. In any case, if such a church exists, where does it draw the line? After all, you will barely find two Christians who believe exactly the same things.

 

 

“…whether or not a musician believes in God should be an issue, so long as they are able to contribute effectively to the spiritual welfare of the place and do not sow any disharmony.”

 

I couldn’t agree with you more VH. There shouldn’t be a distinction between cathedrals and parish churches but I do believe (only my opinion) there is one.

 

:)

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There shouldn’t be a distinction between cathedrals and parish churches but I do believe (only my opinion) there is one.
I know what you mean and I do wonder what the community atmosphere at places like St Paul's and Westminster Abbey are like. It may be brilliant for all I know. Or it may not.

 

All I can say is that Rochester Cathedral, which I visit occasionally, does feel very much like a parish church, albeit one that is big and has very high quality music. At the Sunday morning communion service there are parish-type announcements beforehand, there are prayers for members and friends, there are newsletters - everything that you would expect at parish level. The congregation even has coffee afterwards (in the crypt, thankfully) and seem willing to chat.

 

The cathedral choirs have forged links with a Methodist church in Rochester, New Hampshire, and have exchanged visits. Roger Sayer also took one of the American choir's boys into the cathedral choir for a year in order to develop his experience and, ultimately, benefit his home choir.

 

On my visits I have always been made to feel welcome, both by the clergy and others. Heavens, last year I was even offered the privilege of playing an Evensong for the boys and men. (Quite how it came about I'm not sure; it may have had something to do with the fact that a toaster was temporarily in use, but, hey, who cares? - it made my day.) Now is that inclusive or what?

 

You could never accuse Rochester of being a just museum or a concert hall. There definitely seems to be a sense of community there. I cannot believe it is alone in this. As a merely occasional visitor I may have got it all wrong, of course, but I don't think so.

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. However, I do agree with M. Cochereau that it is impractical to concentrate on doing this and worship at the same time, at least while performing. Even in the spoken bits there is the problem of making sure you have the right music for the next item, that you can remember which registrations you are going to use, that the choirboys are not punching each other...

 

 

The choirboys....?

 

As much as I regert having to write this Vox, sometimes our men are far more trouble than the boys....

 

Mind you, we have not had copies of the NEH airborne during a full practice for a few years, now.

 

:)

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The choirboys....?

 

As much as I regert having to write this Vox, sometimes our men are far more trouble than the boys....

 

Mind you, we have not had copies of the NEH airborne during a full practice for a few years, now.

 

:)

Ah, but if you hadn't been so good at dodging them... :P

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I know what you mean and I do wonder what the community atmosphere at places like St Paul's and Westminster Abbey are like. It may be brilliant for all I know. Or it may not.

 

Um.... no, actually. The reports I receive from colleagues who act as deputies for certain lay clerks occasionally give the impression that these places are not particularly happy in some respects.

 

Does anyone here remember the television documentary, which followed (amongst other things) the progress of Canon Lucy Winkett at St. Paul's Cathedral? In particular, there was a rather unpleasant scene in which several of the senior clergy refused to participate in the Mass which she was due to celebrate for the first time.

 

Whilst I realise that this was a few years ago and that things may have improved, I am not certain that the situation is any better in the choir - but for different reasons.

 

There is a strong possibility that problems with less than obliging lay clerks has also been a contributing factor to recent developments.

 

 

Ah, but if you hadn't been so good at dodging them... :)

 

 

Ha! Ha!

 

For the record, the book was aimed at one of the gentlemen of the choir - by one of the other gentlemen.

 

Nice try, Vox....

 

:P

 

 

 

All I can say is that Rochester Cathedral, which I visit occasionally, does feel very much like a parish church, albeit one that is big and has very high quality music. At the Sunday morning communion service there are parish-type announcements beforehand, there are prayers for members and friends, there are newsletters - everything that you would expect at parish level. The congregation even has coffee afterwards (in the crypt, thankfully) and seem willing to chat.

 

The cathedral choirs have forged links with a Methodist church in Rochester, New Hampshire, and have exchanged visits. Roger Sayer also took one of the American choir's boys into the cathedral choir for a year in order to develop his experience and, ultimately, benefit his home choir.

 

On my visits I have always been made to feel welcome, both by the clergy and others. Heavens, last year I was even offered the privilege of playing an Evensong for the boys and men. (Quite how it came about I'm not sure; it may have had something to do with the fact that a toaster was temporarily in use, but, hey, who cares? - it made my day.) Now is that inclusive or what?

 

What a very pleasant experience, Vox.

 

In fairness, a good number of cathedrals do the coffee, prayers, notices and welcoming thing - some more effectively (and effusively) than others.

 

I was impressed to hear about the American chorister. I wonder if we could adopt a similar idea with most of the choristers from, say, Chichester Cathedral - or St. John's, Cambridge?

 

B)

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Yeah, but that's Bournemouth for you. More millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country, so I hear.

 

This may indeed be true. Apparently, Sandbanks (a suburb of Bournemouth) is, so I am reliably informed, the fourth most expensive place to purchase real estate in the world.

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I know what you mean and I do wonder what the community atmosphere at places like St Paul's and Westminster Abbey are like. It may be brilliant for all I know. Or it may not.

 

 

Um.... no, actually. The reports I receive from colleagues who act as deputies for certain lay clerks occasionally give the impression that these places are not particularly happy in some respects.

 

PNCDs reply certainly ties in with what I’ve heard from a very good friend who also regularly deps at both of these establishments. It’s such a shame.

 

:(

 

I thought Helensburgh in Scotland had the highest number of millionaires per square mile?

 

B)

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PNCDs reply certainly ties in with what I’ve heard from a very good friend who also regularly deps at both of these establishments. It’s such a shame.

 

:(

 

I thought Helensburgh in Scotland had the highest number of millionaires per square mile?

 

B)

 

 

Ah! Scotland.

 

Talking of Scotland (just), does anyone else share my ardent desire to place a live chameleon on a tartan rug ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... and watch it go batshit as it tries to blend into ist surroundings?

 

 

:(

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Yeah, but that's Bournemouth for you. More millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country, so I hear.

 

 

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

 

I think the proper answer is Harrogate in North Yorkshire, with Newmarket in Suffolk a close second.

 

I can't verify the latter, but all I know is that my best friend is worth about £30m, and he's in Newmarket. Surprise, surprise....he owns successful race horses.

 

MM

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