Notepaper Music Development in the churches of the Diocese of Lincoln Quarterly news
Celebrating the Small Church In musical terms, our village and smaller town churches seem to fall into two categories: those who have a small choir or band, and those who have no music at all. Just occasionally one ﬁnds an active/busy village church with a lot of music, but the majority are not so lucky. This year, the RSCM and Music Development project are joining forces. A carefully-chosen programme of music for smaller choirs is planned for the RSCM Area Festival at the Cathedral on October 8th, whilst a series of Village Services (for congregations rather than choirs) is travelling around the deaneries from late March. The RSCM Festival is actively wooing the smaller choirs, to establish links and oﬀer support, whilst the “Village” services are designed for unaccompanied singing, showcasing music which will be available on CDs to take away and mug up. A ﬁrst example of that took place at Donington on Bain for Candlemas, where 40 people gathered on a freezing night to sing and celebrate, pray and learn in a 12th century building which has, I suppose, seen 800 or so Candlemasses so far! Village Services Please don’t say “It’ll never work here because we have no organist”. All you need is a CD player and the will to listen and learn. If someone has the gall to strike up a learnt tune, the rest will join in after a while. And that will gain strength. It has happened in many small RC churches where there is now no instrumentalist of any kind, and RCs are notoriously unwilling to sing if they can possibly skulk in a pew and shirk the task. The idea that they can just get on with it themselves is taking hold, and they will sing all
sorts (including some fearful dross) eagerly. The sad thing is that it takes a total wipeout to bring this about. Let’s learn the lesson that we CAN do something whilst remaining suitable choosy about WHAT we might do. Here’s the datelist for Village Services. All except the Saturday ones are from 5 - 7 p.m. 29 March, Owmby; 6 April, Keelby; 8 April, Winterton;, 16 April, Great Hale 12.00-14.00; 19 April, Deeping St. Nicholas; 5 May, Swineshead; 7 May, Nocton??? 12.00-14.00; 12 May, Orby. Please attend whatever suits you, and take away ideas and recordings for re-use in your own place. You can always ask me in to come and help, after all! I want to get out of the oﬃce and round the churches, especially now that Linda Wass is helping with the admin for 6 hrs per week enabling me to spend the “saved” time on speciﬁcally musical tasks or going about in person to lead and train people. RSCM Area Festival This year the Royal School of Church Music Lincoln Area is inviting all choirs, whether RSCM members or not, to sing in October’s Festival. Taster-Workshops for interested choirs with no further commitment implied, are from 7.30 - 9 p.m. on 4 May, North Western Area 6 May, South Western Area 16 May, South-Eastern area 19 May, Central/Eastern area
What’s on? Diary March 3 4 5 10 12 15 16 17 19 24 25 26 27 29 31
Afternoon only, oﬃce; reccy Spilsby Theatre, evening. Oﬃce, meetings Morning only: Ladies’ Choir 10.30-12.00, Middle Rasen Steering group 10.30 RSCM John Rutter event, 11.00-16.45, Lincoln Minster School (full) Oﬃce 11.00-13.00 address Schools Heads and Chairs of Governors meeting, Epic Centre Oﬃce Ladies Choir 10.30-12.00, Middle Rasen Learn to sing the Exsultet, class 14.00-16.00. Precentory, Lincoln Oﬃce; meeting with CCLI rep, 11 Oﬃce Up for grabs! Please utilise….. [Ladies’ Choir sings at Stow, 16.00. Eucharist, conducted by Will Harrison] DLC meeting, Precentory, 14.30 A Village Lent, Owmby, 17.00-19.00. Oﬃce
Choral opportunity The Eau Valley Singers The Eau Valley Singers are recruiting and will meet for the ﬁrst time on Friday 15th April at 7.30 in Scotton Village Hall. This is a Community Choir inspired by the Gareth Malone initiative; more details 01724 763501.
The Ladies’ Choir rehearsing at Stow Minster for their ﬁrst service
April 1 2 6 7 8 9 10 14 15 16 18 tba 19
Oﬃce Ladies’ Choir presents Lenten Experience at Spilsby Theatre Bar, 15.00-16.00 A Village Lent, Keelby, 17.00-19.00. Oﬃce A Village Lent, Winterton, 17.00-19.00. Ladies’ Choir 10.30-12.00 Middle Rasen. Concert, Alford, 18.30-20.30. Ladies’ Choir 3, St. Giles Lincoln parish celebrations Skirbeck, lead Plainsong Vespers, 17.00. Oﬃce Oﬃce A Village Holy Week, Great Hale, 12.00-14.00. Louth: Talk, Faith and Music- evening; venue and time
5 6 7 12 16 19
June 1 4
with updates about the Music Development work at times when you need them. To contact Rosemary for further information or general enquiries
A Village Holy Week, Deeping St. Nicholas, 17.00-19.00.
Notepaper will be published four times a year
RSCM Taster-Workshop, Caistor for North-west area, 19.30-21.00. Organ Concert, Bailgate Methodist Church, Lincoln, 12.00-13.00. A Village Eastertide, Swineshead, 17.00-19.00. RSCM Taster-Workshop, Southwest area, 19.30-21.00. Ladies’ Choir 10.30-12.00, Middle Rasen. A Village Eastertide, Orby, 17.00-19.00. RSCM Taster-Workshop led by Eric Wayman Southeastern area 19.30-21.00. RSCM Taster-Workshop led by Eric Wayman Central/Eastern area 19.30-21.00. MDO working May 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25. Lunchtime Recital, Boston Stump 13.00. Diocesan Ladies’ Choir Concert, Roughton St. Margaret, 14.00.
Advance notice: La Chorale, our sister choir from Harnosand Diocese, is visiting between June 17 and 20 to sing with the Ladies’ Choir. Events will be listed on a ﬂyer.
Rosemary Field The Old Palace Minster Yard Lincoln, LN2 1PU
please ring 01522 504023. Rosemary’s work will doubtless take her out of the oﬃce just when you ring, so please do leave a message and don’t give up at that point! or you can write to her at the above address or email her on rosemary.ﬁeld@lincoln.anglican.org Her diocesan mobile number is 07525 966832 and that is operational Thursday-Saturday inc, and will take messages at other times.
Music in Holy Week A donkey’s tale - using music and action alongside Christ’s Passion
oosely, the plan is to mirror events in the life of Jesus with a semi-dramatised depiction of them in worship. This is why we have the Palm Procession but there are many other ways of representing that week which bring it home to us eﬀectively. Music for this may be as simple as can be, but needs to change mood suitably.
Palm Sunday The procession is most eﬀective if it starts somewhere other than church, the point being that Jesus went down the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem, and the church building is a type of the heavenly Jerusalem - a visible focus for the invisible truth. Donkeys are a hazardous extra guaranteed to add nature’s contribution to the aisle, so beware. The symbolism of the donkey as a humble beast is however not trivial; in Germany, home of practical solutions, since medieval times a half-sized carved wooden donkey (colt) on wheels, the Palmesel, has led the procession with the ﬁgure of Christ seated on its back. After the Palm Procession, for which the theme of course is Hosanna, the mood of the Eucharist darkens to the Passion, which is read at the Gospel point. Music for the latter half of the service should reﬂect this. Some people won’t be back until Easter Day, so this is their total look at the Passion of Christ.
Maundy Thursday This poignant evening includes the institution of the Eucharist; then there is the Mandatum, meaning Commandment, of Jesus to love one another demonstrated by the footwashing. Some places re-enact this, whilst Ubi caritas, in whatever version, is sung. Churches which reserve the sacrament do so from after Communion tonight at a side altar, not the main chancel, until Easter. The great hymn, “Of the glorious body telling”, covers that transition. To consider the betrayal, Gethsemane scene and the vanishing disciples, the altar is stripped of linens and the sanctuary of furnishings before a prayer-vigil till midnight. The desolation of Christ is demonstrated by singing Psalms of like mood; then silent prayer, sometimes rota’d, ensues.
Good Friday No Eucharist is celebrated on this day. Apart from keeping the 3 hrs of Jesus on the Cross in prayer, preaching, hymns and reﬂection there is also a set-piece liturgy - which could take place during that. It consists of reading the Passion, Veneration of the Cross (varying from silent prayer to making a gesture of reverence, and all shades in between) prayers for the whole world, and in some places reception of Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament. During the Veneration, the ancient text of the Reproaches is traditionally heard. In the Middle Ages this took on an invasive penitential nature, with people approaching the cross barefoot and often on their knees. A modern version is
a walk up the aisle and a bow of the head, followed by returning to your seat. The action still makes you think.
Holy Saturday/Easter Eve This is the awful void of bereavement; it is kept in very low mood until the vigil, which can be any time from sunset to dawn (“very early on the 1st day of the week..”) when the new ﬁre is lit (OUTSIDE) and from it the Paschal candle, symbol of the risen Christ; everyone’s candles are lit from that showing the Risen Christ’s light spreading to us all. Prophecies of redemption may be read to mirror the long wait of the Old Testament, and eventually everything erupts into splendour at the Gloria - lights up, music on, Alleluias everywhere, and thereafter it’s Easter for 50 days.
e could do worse at the start of Lent than consider what worship is actually for, why we do it, and therefore how we might do it. With the emphasis this year in music development on Village Churches the parameters need airing and reexamining so that we go forward with a common purpose. Worship is the duty of the Christian, in public and in private – a response to the love of God shown to us in Christ, and shared in word and sacrament. We worship above all in response to Jesus’ command to “do this in memory of me”. This is not an optional extra for believers who find staring awestruck into the night sky inadequate, nor the preserve of a few with feverish theological imaginations. Together with the order to go and baptise all nations, this and an hour’s vigil are the last three things Jesus asked of us. Additionally, the daily round of prayer for the world, ourselves and the whole creation is a working-task just like the
“Worship the Lord with holy worship" - a Lenten reﬂection
washing-up or the shopping. If we have this as our starting-point we will see at once that a grand service in a cathedral, adorned with the best of artwork, is exactly the same to God as the few people gathered for worship in the old scout hut around a dodgy paraffin heater, or the 6 or 7 braving the village church (without a paraffin heater!) Therefore, it matters. It is also an act of witness - just to be seen nearby is to nail your colours to the Cross in the eyes of the onlooker, and that is no bad thing. To this end I am tasked to offer music to smallest churches IF THEY WANT IT. If they don’t, from choice, I will back off and mind my own business. But those who would like music ARE my business. But be warned - it can only happen if you are willing to try. Don’t be conditioned into accepting defeat. The sceptic who shoots down the speaker, awaiting the perfect moment to inflict maximum damage, with “that will never work for us because……” is merely reiterating an
ancient myth that people are too thick to do anything. This is not true, period. What is true, and culpable, is that some are very determined not to try. Why? To greet any suggestion with folded arms and closed mind is not to further the mission of Christ, nor to cherish one’s own soul. The myth goes that for centuries, priests, choirs, organists and others have monopolised worship whilst “the people” cowered in the pews as mere spectators. This is no reason for not taking a proper part now in learning and singing simple stuff which beautifies worship. We can learn to drive, cook, read, manage a bank account, cultivate plants, selfmedicate within reason, and go abroad on holiday. I am sure we can also learn a tune by ear from a CD. A proper modesty exists about being under-educated in the rationale and materials for worship. This responsible fear can be quickly exchanged for some clueing-up to bring people up to speed. It is dangerous to build lopsidedly on a foundation, and we have Paul’s warning about the quality of building which will be tested by fire. This is true - come the great life tests, what we have absorbed by grace shines through our handling of events. A patchy catechism leads to loss of faith when things go “wrong”. So yes, we are dealing with fire - but then you know that about the living God. Holy worship is surely sincere, humble in heart, grateful and adoring. Let’s celebrate that.