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Music’s Measure

I’ve spent a good part of this month listening to a CD of 100 Worship Songs. Not always as uplifting as it may sound, but all in the name of research to augment our repertoire of congregational music, particularly for All Age Mass. The CD presented the top 100 songs by usage (according to CCL copyright returns) so gave a quick insight into what is generally popular in worship at this time. I’ll write more on my findings in a future column.
It got me to thinking, though, just what is our repertoire? How varied are we? I only have records dating back to when I started as organist here, but that still gives me a good 4 years – easily covering a 3 year church cycle. So here’s a list of facts and figures about the St Julian’s Repertoire. The good news is; if you’ve been at mass most Sundays for the same period, you can boast down the pub that it’s your repertoire too! Note these are distinct pieces – some will have been used more than once so your actual singing rate is much higher.

• 303 different hymns & worship songs
• 26 mass settings or parts of mass settings known (of course, you’ve recently added one)
• 137 different psalm settings
• 7 types of sung intercession responses
• 103 different choir anthems/pieces

The most sung hymns/songs in that four year period (counting Sunday Masses only) were:

• Alleluia, sing to Jesus (8 times)
• Immortal, invisible, God only wise; Just as I am, without one plea; Shine, Jesus, shine (all 7 times)

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m working hard on increasing your hymn & worship song count by at least another six over the coming months. Time to start gargling with that brandy!

Alistair McCormick
Feast of SS Alban, Julius & Aaron, Martyrs, 2013

Parish Notices

Name the Dog: Our Sunday school members need your help to get their toy dog’s name right – all in aid of a good cause!

Ladies Guild/Women’s Fellowship: joint meeting this Wed 10 July @7.30pm. Wiltshire Farm Foods Demo – if you are coming, please let Gayner know.

Working Party: NEXT SATURDAY 13 JULY @ 2pm  See posters and sign/turn up!

CREDO CYMRU SUMMER EVENT: at the Parish Church of St Arvans on Saturday 20 July, Mass at 6.30pm followed by a BBQ. More details from John Tester.

Parish Lunch 22 Sept. There is a sample menu and sign up list at the back of the church – please speak to Miriam for details.

Parish Day Out: on Thursday 1 August to Weston-super-Mare.

Music’s Measure

Icon of the Pentecost
Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m writing this on the feast of Pentecost, hours after being a part of two wonderful Masses at St Julian’s. First, a glorious afternoon where our Lady Chapel and New Build was dedicated anew to her patronage and prayer, and today the glorious end of Easter itself. In both cases, the message was about exciting new beginnings – first to ensure our new building is used well in the service of God’s church, and second to ensure our own lives show the Holy Spirit alive in mission and outreach.

I hope the music in our liturgy over these two days has helped to express that sense of ‘work to be done in and through us’.

In the Mass of Blessing itself we started with the hymn ‘Let us build a house where love can dwell’, words and music by Marty Haugen, a North American based composer who has written extensively for the Roman Catholic church. We make good use of his material (for example, the new sprinkling song at Easter this year, ‘Up from the waters’, was one of his pieces). ‘Let us build a house’ is an obvious metaphorical choice for dedication/building focussed events but it is written in a way that emphasises the contents  of the building – the people, the reaching hands, the service to the outcast, the sentiment that  ‘all are welcome in this place’. It speaks of the parish church we strive to be – the welcome at St Julian’s is something we rightly cherish.
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