Watershed was recently sent some information about the John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music. We have shared it below.
John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music / January 2013
E THOUGHT you would like to know the progress of the John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music in its first year of existence, and we thank you all for your support and interest. Our next event is on Saturday 19th January at the Oratory in the upper cloister chapel from 9.30 – 1.00pm, when Fr Guy Nicholls will be the speaker. The subject will be “What is liturgical music?”
The programme for following months will be on the website by January 10th 2013.
Since its launch in September 2011, the first year has been both busy and complex. The immediate tasks have been to provide a relevant and inspiring programme of events, to investigate the extent and nature of musical needs to be met, and, of course, to remain solvent! With these aims in mind, the Director has travelled and worked widely at home and abroad, teaching, singing and meeting like-minded people so that the Institute’s work is well-informed, purposeful and practical and also involves active and enthused people to further its cause. There has been a series of practical and theoretical talks based in Birmingham, and events in other parts of the United Kingdom such as Glasgow, Cambridge and Cardiff. In September this year, a successful conference was held in Birmingham at the Oratory church and the Oratory primary school in Ladywood and this confirmed the purpose of the Institute and the need for its work. The videos of the lectures are on our website.
At present we are planning next year’s events. These are:
— A series of talks and workshops between January and the end of June, culminating in a conference in October (dates will be confirmed as soon as possible on the web site)
— Working with the Oratory Primary School in Ladywood, Birmingham and its head teacher, Clare Dickinson, to foster the already existing musical development of all children at the school, especially singing
— Looking into the need for a course in sacred music at graduate level
— Developing links with other groups such as the Church Music Association of America
— Giving younger people a voice to express their views
With these elements in mind, practical, supportive and academic, we will work hard to establish a high quality knowledge and skills base to support liturgical music.
Probably, to end this letter, it is best to restate the purpose of liturgical music which can be difficult to explain in a few words, especially to the impatient and unimpressed!
This is part of Fr Guy Nicholls’ opening address from our September conference.
Liturgical music, especially singing, is above all, rational music – that is, reasonable. This means that it has a definite content, that of scriptures and the words of the Church’s liturgy. It is the expression of an inward state of submission to God’s word before it can be effective as an outward expression. In other words, the liturgical musician must be himself or herself both a musician and a living member of the Body of Christ. We liturgical musicians must be men and women of prayer and the sacraments. Our contribution to the liturgy must be an expression of our belonging to Christ and not an expression of our own private individuality. That is why the work of the Institute is designed with a double aim: on one hand the greater knowledge of and better implementation of the Church’s already existing treasury of sacred music: and on the other the ever deepening love of the Church as the Body of Christ, enlivened and nourished by the Holy Spirit especially in the realm of her worship. That is why we always aim to provide in our classes and events both a theological and practical component, highlighting aspects of the history and authenticity of liturgical music, and also to put this into practice in celebrating some part of the liturgy, either by a sung celebration of the Mass, or by singing the Divine Office, the church’s own prayer and praise sanctifying the hours of the day and the times and seasons of the year.”
There is much work to be done and we will do our best to keep you informed.
We send you very best wishes for the Christmas Season and hope to hear from you in what will, no doubt be a very busy 2013.
To learn more, you may want to visit their website [url].
There is also an Email address listed that can be used to reply to the Questionnaire (John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music) [pdf].