music night

today is, in theory, my day off.  But my god-children are coming this weekend, and I haven’t done the magazine yet, and I’m still working on inspires, and I need to do a serious amount of work on the long neglected web page, and there’s the pew sheet for Sunday, and…

all of that depends on the computer.

So, when I came home at lunch time to find there was no electricity I was (ahem…) devastated, of course.

Fortunately there was plenty else to do, for my god-children are coming at the weekend, and I need to get the house ready.  I couldn’t do washing, of course, nor hoovering.  Dusting was not very likely (it’s family).  But I could rearrange the downstairs now that the piano is in place.

When I moved here, I tucked the piano up in the smallest room, seeking privacy in the hopes that I would play.  The truth is, I’ve hardly touched it.  I’m not really able to play, you see, and I get very frustrated with what I cannot do. So, the piano room became the junk room.  (one of the junk rooms…)

But everything is changing for my piano.  No more will it languish out of sight.

Yesterday, the incredibly kind undertaker-cum-furniture auctioneer came with four strong young men to shift the thing down the stairs and into the living room.

So today, we’ve been playing.  Finally after 13 months, I’ve unpacked some of the pictures.  Molly kindly posed in her favourite position so that I could place them around her.

We put up mirrors, and dusted frames.  We remembered all the people who’d given us the pictures, the places we’d bought them, the memories they evoke.

And all because of Music Night.

Recently, we’ve had to rethink how we do music at St Mary’s.  The choir trainer who is much loved by the congregation decided that he had done as much as he could with an increasingly fragile choir.  Simultaneously, we are trying to address concerns about the budget, which means that we can’t afford or advertize for a director of music post that would enable us to develop the music as we would like to.  Not yet at least.  It is still our hope, in time.

So for now, we’re experimenting.

Tomorrow night is our first Music Night at the rectory.

Everyone (and I do mean everyone) is invited to come along with their favourite hymn or song, a piece of music, their instruments — and if possible, copies of music or words so that others can join in. Willingness is more important than ability, though of course I dream that a dozen glorious liturgical musicians will one day walk through the door.

My hope is that it will be fun, that it will help us grow more confident in our singing, and it might be a way to draw out the musical skills of the congregation in a way that will enrich our worship.

It’s not a choir practice.  What we sing won’t be the hymns for Sunday.  But my hope is that in time, we’ll sing something together on a Thursday and say ‘oh, that was good.  When could we use it in worship?’ … or that two people find that their voices blend well, and can be encouraged to cantor a psalm… or that we stumble on hidden instrumental talents that can be nurtured towards learning how to accompany hymns and play liturgically.

That’s my hope.

That, and that someone comes.

… and that someone who comes might play the piano

… and that someone else who comes might be used to the dynamics of a folk night, and be able to jolly us along.

I’ve never done anything like this before, and I suspect most of the congregation haven’t either.

But it could be fun, and it might work, and it’s where we are right now.

Molly is ready and waiting — all brave now, but I bet tomorrow she’ll sing a different tune.

9 thoughts on “music night

  1. What an utterly brilliant idea……Please do let us know how things develop – this feels like possibly a solution to the miserable problem that besets too many churches.

  2. well, we had we had thirteen people in the end, from teens to late 80’s. We sang some familiar things, and learned we were better at pitch than timing. We also learned that the front room of the rectory has better resonance than the church.

    There was one brave musician, who really needed other people to bring their instruments — at whatever level.

    I think we need to get the kids to lead the way next time. Instruments only, perhaps.

    Or maybe, instead of ‘bring a piece’ I need to find a couple of simple things that we can learn to play from scratch.

    I’m not sure it worked. I know that next time will have to be different. But people came and talked and sang, and for that I am grateful.

  3. Terrific beginning, Kimberley,
    From such beginnings, Gareth Malone creates a choir, and someone will no doubt get inspired from round the corner.
    Molly would inspire anyone surely as she has you to fill Dunblane with harps, dulcimers and timbrels -well eventually.
    Andrew – ancient ex-producer of Songs of Praise

  4. Andrew! of course. You can come manage our music nights and chivvy us along. any time you’re free on a relevant Thursday evening…

    (oh, and as for spelling: trust me, I had not noticed)

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