Halfway through the season of Advent, with a strong focus on preparing for Christmas festivities, there’s such a feeling of spiralling into a conclusion that it’s hard to believe that the first few weeks of the Church year have barely unfolded yet. But we are indeed still at the beginning. Here is a picture of our music ministry at the present and as we imagine it developing through the rest of the 2016-17 Church year…[for a look back at the past year, see part one of Blessings count]
To start with, we’re carrying over some priorities given to us by the worship ministry team last year:
- help the congregation re-engage with traditional hymns and learn to sing all the harmony parts
- maintain continuity of our singing tradition at more than a superficial engagement
To do so, we’ll be looking for opportunities for the congregation to spend time singing, such as:
- hymn-singing for 15 minutes or so prior to some Sunday morning services
- some ‘singing services’ similar to a service of lessons and carols
- a ‘pleasant Sunday afternoon’ – not scheduled yet, but we’ll try for March 2017
- increased use of congregational sung blessings
It will be a huge help to the ease and enjoyment of congregational singing that we are also addressing the church acoustics this year. We’re very excited to be able to improve both the natural acoustics of the room and the amplification system now, after attending to some repairs, the projection system in the church and works in other parts of the building during the past year. Establishing a slightly more live acoustic will greatly increase our sense of connection to each other when we sing and speak as a body in worship (see Alive sound)
There are two major new elements of the music program this year, one for children and one for people of all ages. Starting in term 1, our children’s ministry group is introducing Musical Sunday School on the fourth Sunday of each month during school terms. Children are invited to bring their own instruments and enjoy their Sunday School learning in the care of an experienced musician.
For both adults and children, a music session will be on offer as one of the features of the intergenerational services to begin in February 2017. Intergenerational services will have all the parts of the liturgy we know and love, with the addition of parallel sessions in which we can choose to explore the Word in one of three different ways: verbal, visual and musical. We’ll enjoy this format on the third Sundays of most months.
Musical services of worship
As in last year, Taizé-style services will be held in Summer-Autumn (February-May) and Spring (August-November) on the evenings of second Wednesdays in the month.
On Sunday 14 May 2017 there will be a special focus on a composer’s life and music. Last year we had a focus on J.S. Bach – but I won’t reveal the subject of our next composer-focus service yet!
Music for the wider community
As I mentioned in part I, we’ve recently modified the organ pedalboard with removable risers that enable short-statured players to reach the pedals with ease. We’d like to make the organ available to younger players in the local community who are interested in learning the instrument. If you know parents or teachers of children who are interested in organ, please contact St Luke’s to arrange access for teaching and practice. Remember that guests and new players need to do an induction, so put them in touch with the minister or music director.