Sunday 23 September 2012

The Blessed John Henry Newman Liturgical Institute Conference

Having only ever been to B'Ham New Street to change trains it was great to be there, if only briefly.

The talks were all informative and interesting. I particularly enjoyed Ben Whitworth's one on the place of vernacular hymns in 19thC Anglican liturgy; there weren't any til pretty late on and it was the cause of much angst. Details of Blessed JHN's own work in an Anglican parish, were very illuminating, especially given the location of the conference. Always a pleasure to listen to someone who has read everything available, can synthesise it all together and quote dates people said stuff from memory. The CTS Booklet's a good read too. Buy it immediately.

It was also great to meet Msgr Burnham of the Ordinariate having met him in Brighton when our schola provided the chant for the ALL conference last year; he had some pertinent points make over lunch.

I suppose such a conference was always going to dwell on the mess and provide some pointers for progress, but it was a shame that more was not heard from people who are working in parishes, supported only by friends and the internet. I can't really see how there is going to be wholesale change, until the hierarchy take charge of the liturgy, put some priest-musicians in charge of music, get some stuff together, provide training in singing the correct music at diocesan level and then impose it. Or they could enthusiastically endorse what Fr Guy Nichols is doing in getting speakers together and providing education, The thing is, it is not my role as a lay person to have to read the documents, buy books, go on conferences and find my own tuition in chant - thanks to the generosity of St Cecilia's - when this is all supposed to be so important in the Church.

Mention must be made of The Oratory Primary School whose staff and delightful pupils provided the venue for much of yesterday. Marvellous, hospitable, polite, lovely folks all. When can I visit again?

Saturday ended with The Sixteen singing in The Oratory, which must have been great. I don't have the stamina of the young man from Glasgow who was going to go to the concert, get a National Express bus at 10.30, arriving in Glasgow at 6.30am and then play at Mass this morning, so knocked off early.

To the speaker, who said, 'When was the last time you heard an Introit?' I'll just say I'm reaching for my Corpus Christ Watershed sheet for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost Introit, 'Justus es Domine,' which I'll start singing in about 90 minutes. Mode I, my favourite.

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Patricius said...

"it is not my role as a lay person to have to read the documents, buy books, go on conferences and find my own tuition in chant"

Agreed, but it's jolly good that some of us are doing some of these things! Thanks for an interesting post.

IanW said...

"it was a shame that more was not heard from people who are working in parishes, supported only by friends and the internet."

To be fair, I can think of one speaker who is a layman working in his own parish, supported by friends. And a vague look still comes over Jeremy's face if you mention the interweb ...

leutgeb said...

Jeremy was great, of course and is doing wonderful things.

I was more thinking of the discussions after the talks, where on two occasions hands were up and we ran out of time, having listened to some people who had already given talks making extended points. It is frustrating when you are providing music for, last year 60 Masses, seemingly no-one is interested in what you do, you travel half way up the country to a conference and there is no time for you to make the briefest of points.

Candy, from Spanish Place runs a Chant Choir of 30 ordinary folks. It is an amazing thing. She is returning to the US at the end of Oct, so it is unlikely there will be an opportunity to hear her perspective.

I have yet to meet anyone else in the UK who provides music for a weekly EF Sunday Mass and also will sing or play the organ at the OF in an ordinary parish. if you are the other person. Love to know what you do.

leutgeb said...

I should temper my previous comment by saying that is a very minor and in the gbrand scheme of things irrelevent personal comment.

The main thing is that Fr Guy Nicholls organised a brilliant conference in terms of speakers, location and content topped off with sung Vespers and a concert by The Sixteen.

My irritation is really that so few people were there to hear what was said and sung and that as Clare has said, how many times does Mgr Wadsworth have to speak about singing Propers and singing the Mass, not singing at Mass etc. Yawn.

Things clearly are on the up...