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Source: (consider it) Thread: Yet more crappy choruses, wonky worship-songs and horrible hymns
Gamaliel
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Oh c'mon, Baptist Trainfan, we all know that the Holy Spirit wrote the Book of Common Prayer ...

[Biased]

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I'm tempted to ask if your "Notes for Visiting Preachers" included the rubric, "These notes are only a guide, please feel free to amend them as the Holy Spirit may lead" ... and what happened if someone took their advice and Changed Things?

Probably, and congregation would overlook it as a faux pas of not being familiar with how things are done here. The way you tolerate guests putting milk and tea in the cup in the wrong order. After all it is not likely they will be leading worship next week.

The congregation did have "Children's Address: (if there are no children the worship leader may do what he likes)". That lasted until my Dad threatened to bring a good bottle or whisky and invite all members of the congregation to come and join him in a tipple in the vestry.

Jengie

[ 01. December 2015, 09:34: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
It saddens me that many choose to create churches that are clones of each other without recognising that people aren't all the same and have different needs, particularly as they age.

Most British churches are more likely to be clones of each other in the sense of leaning towards meeting the needs of older attenders. This is because churchgoers here are generally quite a bit older than the wider population.

Complaints about the rash of bad worship music indicate to me that the writer lives in an area with a younger than average churchgoing demographic and a higher than average church attendance.

Not necessarily. An organ that needs £10,000 that no-one's got spending on it and a choir of three elderly ladies who could once sing but possibly that was just before the relief of Mafeking and one old man who never got this part singing thing worked out can be pretty dire as well, albeit in a different way.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Well maybe in Anglicans ...

Even in your own tradition, Jengie. At least, AIUI that's what happened at the URC/PCW church Mrs A's parents attend (with decreasing frequency nowadays).

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Jengie jon

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Did you read the rest of the post? The clergy made changes, they were promptly undone in the vacancy.

Jengie

[ 01. December 2015, 16:51: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Albertus
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I don't know whether you meant it to, Jengie, but that came across as rather tetchy.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
An organ that needs £10,000 that no-one's got spending on it and a choir of three elderly ladies who could once sing but possibly that was just before the relief of Mafeking and one old man who never got this part singing thing worked out can be pretty dire as well, albeit in a different way.

One might well find three warbling old ladies and an organ that needs repairing quite unpleasant to listen to, but it's plain to see that the complaints here are mostly about modern worship music.

The difference is that one situation represents a choice, and the other is about making do with a bad situation. Few people on the Ship want to knock a church when it's down, but a church that deliberately decides in favour of bad music (as some would see it) when other options are available is another matter.

[ 01. December 2015, 23:50: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I disagree. Continuing to use a knackered organ and pointless choir is a choice. The better way of "making do" would be to use the piano and disband the choir.

These things are always choices. My personal experience is that church music is either modern and crap, old and crap, or old and good but beyond most church musicians to play. There are exceptions, of course, and my view may be coloured by my nature as a miserable git, but I'm actually quite relieved that we don't do singing in our church much. We have an African setting for the Sanctus and which you can sing along with if you like, but that's about it. I like it that way, despite being a musician.

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L'organist
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I agree, KL.

The point is that there seems to be a widespread feeling that if music is "done for the Lord" then it matters not if it is done badly, or that what is done is done well but the material is terrible.

I'm not against modern stuff but I do expect it to be of a certain standard, both of words and music, and I've been (and still am) fortunate to work for clergy who back that up.

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Gamaliel
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I'm not sure that objections simply focus on whether music is modern or not - ancient and modern - but it's more an issue of style and content.

There is plenty of modern sacred music that never sees the light of day in either the youthful, vibrant evangelical charismatic congregations nor the more liberal, MoTR or traditional ones ...

In all these cases the 'best' music and best arrangements are obviously going to be found where the resources exist to provide and sustain them - whether that be a cathedral or a large and lively evangelical congregation.

The problem on both sides of the ancient/modern divide is one or resources and training to a certain extent. Some modern 'classical' arrangements are frankly unsingable beyond trained professional choirs.

The converse is the case in a different kind of way among the charismatic evangelicals ... some of the arrangements can and do sound impressive at a large rally with all the PA gear and the trimmings ... but when congregations attempt to replicate that with 30 people and - horror of horrors - perhaps even a backing track, the effect is pretty grim.

There's also the issue that some - but by no means all - contemporary worship-songs and choruses can be pretty vapid in content and also down-right manipulative ... but this is a view that's been aired many times before.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Some of the arrangements can and do sound impressive at a large rally with all the PA gear and the trimmings ... but when congregations attempt to replicate that with 30 people and - horror of horrors - perhaps even a backing track, the effect is pretty grim.

Even worse when you've just got an elderly lady who was reputedly good on the violin half-a-century ago (but no-one remembers), a 6 year-old recorder player who can only play three notes "because we must include the children", and the euphonium player from the local brass band because he'd be mortally offended and walk out of the church if you didn't ask him to play.

Such are the realities of church life in many places ... and that's the point I'm trying to make. There may be a real tension between "ideal" and "authentic"; and, for good reasons or bad, there may be times when the latter should be allowed to win.

[ 02. December 2015, 12:32: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Continuing to use a knackered organ and pointless choir is a choice. The better way of "making do" would be to use the piano and disband the choir.

These things are always choices. My personal experience is that church music is either modern and crap, old and crap, or old and good but beyond most church musicians to play.

I quite agree that church music can be old and crap. I didn't say otherwise. But I don't think it's necessarily the case that a church with a crap choir and crap organ is going to be much better if the music played on the piano.

However, perhaps I'm not really aware how these things are likely to work in the CofE. In the Methodist congregations I've come across, 'bad music' would often be an issue because the church has become very weak and few of the available and affordable alternatives would be better. For example, if the organ is crap because of lack of funds, the piano probably hasn't been tuned for a while either. Or the pianist herself might not be all that great. The congregation might be singing unaccompanied, or - as in one case I came across - you'd have a hippy on a pair of bongos as accompaniment throughout the service. Some of us would quite like this. Many would just see it as making do. Some would call it ... crap.

Not bothering with singing at all is an option, but not a mainstream one.

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Pigwidgeon

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Also gaining in popularity are electronic accompaniments, sort of ecclesiastical karaoke. I guess they're better than nothing for congregations that just can't afford organ (or decent piano) and organist and who have no choirs, but I dearly hope never to belong to a church that uses one. I'm very lucky to have a church that's very supportive of our music program.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
I'm very lucky to have a church that's very supportive of our music program.

You've very lucky to attend a church with the necessary manpower and resources, and where the congregation is sufficiently united in its approach to music.
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Gamaliel
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The thing is, though, SvitlanaV2, there are some traditions which don't go in for accompanied singing - most Orthodox jurisdictions of course - and, from what I can gather, still a small number of ultra-traditional Protestant sects in the USA.

They face a similar issue. Even if they don't have a piano to tune or bongo drums to bong, they are at the mercy of a cantor or someone to lead the chant - who may or may not be particularly good or gifted at it.

I've heard Orthodox chant which has lifted me to the heavens ... I've heard other examples that sound as if they've emanated from the other place ...

I agree with you that not-singing at all is an option. I don't see why there should be any problem about that. I've been to university chaplaincy services in the past where nobody has sung a note but everyone has followed an order of service either from one of the prayer books or prepared especially for the occasion.

Do those of us who follow a 'daily office' sing it? Or do we 'say' it?

I can't speak for anyone else but I do both - but I wouldn't sing particularly loudly if there were someone else in the house at the time.

I really don't see what's wrong with people gathering and working their way through Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer or whatever else from one of the service books - be it the Book of Common Prayer, Common Worship or whatever the equivalent might be in whatever church or denomination we are talking about.

We don't have to sing hymns, we don't have to sing worship songs and choruses. Why not simply 'do' some of the set prayers? All you need is a prayer book for goodness sake or a set of photocopied sheets.

I mean, it's not rocket-science is it? I'm part of a voluntary editorial team for a Christian magazine. When we gather for our annual residential meeting - and also to a shorter extent in our other meetings - we'll have a time of reflection and prayer. Someone brings a prepared mini-service and we go through it. I led it once, using the Anglican compline service adapted for the purpose. A Methodist minister led it on another occasion using some prayers she'd written and prepared. I don't think any of us sang a note - well, I tell a lie, I did chant one of the office hymns ... but then again, I probably didn't sing a note ... at least not the right ones ... [Biased]

What's wrong with a few hand-outs with some words on? Why do we need an accordion, a harmonium, a synthesiser or an organ, a bass guitar - or the curious tone of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone/ Fiddle, cello, big bass drum,
Bassoon, flute and euphonium ...


[Big Grin]

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SvitlanaV2
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If you can gather at least two or three others who are of like mind you can have group worship of whatever kind you like. No disagreement there.
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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
I'm very lucky to have a church that's very supportive of our music program.

You've very lucky to attend a church with the necessary manpower and resources, and where the congregation is sufficiently united in its approach to music.
Yes, I really am.
[Axe murder]

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MrsBeaky
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So this evening I decided to dip my toes for one last time (we return to the UK soon) into the waters of the missionary fellowship here in our town- it's full of some lovely people but the worship style is not really my cup of tea at all...
Thankfully the woman leading the music tonight has a beautiful alto voice so it sounded good but I struggled nonetheless with singing some of the stuff.

However over the course of the evening I discovered a new survival technique- I simply changed the I in most of the songs to we and it automatically lifted them beyond the embarrassing "love song to Jesus" thingy to more like creedal statements which I am much more at ease with singing in a corporate setting. There were a few moments where it still didn't work and I had to stop singing as I just couldn't do it but in the main it really did change things for me.

Very interesting

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by MrsBeaky:
Over the course of the evening I discovered a new survival technique- I simply changed the I in most of the songs to we and it automatically lifted them beyond the embarrassing "love song to Jesus" thingy to more like creedal statements which I am much more at ease with singing in a corporate setting.

A year ago the local clergy person and "worship leader" had a row, clergy wanted some "we" songs instead of all "I" songs, song leader said there is no such thing as "we worship," each person individually worships God.
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Snags
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I've said it before and doubtless will say it again: Your worship leader is a prick.

He does know it's called Corporate Worship?

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Snags:
I've said it before and doubtless will say it again: Your worship leader is a prick.

He does know it's called Corporate Worship?

He came from a different tradition where I guess the idea that we are in this together, or that one person's faith helps carry another person through hard times, is a foreign concept. He is now gone. Replacement and I have, uhm, parted ways. Which is why I have to learn Sandy Patty's Via Dolorosa for Good Friday in a friend's church (that has no choir and I guess no local soloists). Until now I managed to avoid that song; maybe having to learn it will help me figure out why I don't like it.
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Belle Ringer
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Why I don't like Via Dolorosa:

There's no tune.

There are notes, and a bit of repeat, but it's more like recitative than song. To me.

But then, in a broad over-generalization, to me "modern worship music" all "sounds alike" - no solid distinctive tune that sticks in the head, so maybe it's just a genre I don't "get."

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Pine Marten
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I've just googled Via Dolorosa out of curiosity and managed to watch just over a minute on YouTube...dear oh dear. I second Belle Ringer's opinion.

Yet Tallis, or Bach, or plainsong, or Taize chant, or Blues (just a few examples)...all these have passion, emotion, not to mention good *tunes* that reach into your heart and soul.

Good luck with that on Good Friday, Belle Ringer [Ultra confused] !

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Fr Weber
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
Also gaining in popularity are electronic accompaniments, sort of ecclesiastical karaoke. I guess they're better than nothing for congregations that just can't afford organ (or decent piano) and organist and who have no choirs, but I dearly hope never to belong to a church that uses one. I'm very lucky to have a church that's very supportive of our music program.

In my experience, they're not better than nothing. An a cappella service, or a service which is completely said, would be far better.

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--Sr Theresa Koernke, IHM

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Pine Marten:
I've just googled Via Dolorosa out of curiosity and managed to watch just over a minute on YouTube...dear oh dear. I second Belle Ringer's opinion.

Here's a different Via Dolorosa I like, learned it decades ago, haven't gotten anyone local to listen. Poor recording of decent song (I think I learned it without the "sacred head now wounded" part, but it was long ago, I could be wrong.)

To be fair, if I want to propose something not currently common, I need to speak up a couple months ahead, most church program planners don't like "last minute" suggestions. And by the time someone suggests I come sing a solo, they are on a deadline to turn in the program and don't have time to listen to an unfamiliar song or work out an accompaniment.

Maybe I'll write my own via dolorosa - I'm hardly a great composer but hearing stuff in church that I know "even I can do better than that!" gets me writing a few per a year and people mostly seem to like them OK. I can probably do better than the Sandy Patty one - and so probably can you (generic you)!

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Pine Marten
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That's rather lovely, Belle Ringer, and although the words are a bit fuzzy to make out it has a decent tune, and I could listen to it with interest. I liked the accompaniment too. The 'sacred head, sore wounded' bit made me a bit tearful... [Frown]

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Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. - Oscar Wilde

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L'organist
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Ouch - frankly both versions leave me [Projectile]

The first I got on YouTube (by some loung chanteuse named Sandy Patti) had an accompaniment more usually found in the theme for a spaghetti western.

Frankly it makes you realise you could do a lot worse than a simple plainsong version of the Reproaches.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Fr Weber:
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
Also gaining in popularity are electronic accompaniments, sort of ecclesiastical karaoke. I guess they're better than nothing for congregations that just can't afford organ (or decent piano) and organist and who have no choirs, but I dearly hope never to belong to a church that uses one. I'm very lucky to have a church that's very supportive of our music program.

In my experience, they're not better than nothing. An a cappella service, or a service which is completely said, would be far better.
Dunno, IME, unless you've got at least one assertive singer with a good sense of pitch, a cappella gets you:

- First verse starts about a third too low.
- Congregation knows something has gone wrong and begins to drag and mumble.
- Each verse consequently loses a semitone in pitch.
- Expect to lose another semitone if the last note of each verse is different from the first note of the next.
- Everything sounds dreary and miserable.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Dunno, IME, unless you've got at least one assertive singer with a good sense of pitch, a cappella gets you:

- First verse starts about a third too low.
- Congregation knows something has gone wrong and begins to drag and mumble.
- Each verse consequently loses a semitone in pitch.
- Expect to lose another semitone if the last note of each verse is different from the first note of the next.
- Everything sounds dreary and miserable.

Or the exact opposite happens and it starts out too high and gets higher and higher so people try to screech out the top notes and can't hit them. (It happens with the U.S. national anthem a lot.)

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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Scots lass
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We were at a wedding on Saturday, and I came across this horror for the first time. To the tune of "Morning Has Broken", which didn't help it any. Mercifully the other hymns chosen were better (if wedding cliches), and my husband has a nice singing voice which made it bearable...
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Albertus
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# 13356

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!! Don't know whether to [Killing me] or [Projectile]

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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That song is indeed a horror, but so is having a wedding on Holy Saturday (IMHO).
[Biased]

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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Joesaphat
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# 18493

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quote:
Originally posted by Scots lass:
We were at a wedding on Saturday, and I came across this horror for the first time. To the tune of "Morning Has Broken", which didn't help it any. Mercifully the other hymns chosen were better (if wedding cliches), and my husband has a nice singing voice which made it bearable...

I thought I had heard its all at marriages, but this, this... this actually makes me a little sad and I cannot figure out why.

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Opening my mouth and removing all doubt, online.

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Penny S
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# 14768

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Because it was written by Fotherington-Thomas, who, as any fule kno, is wet and weedy?
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Albertus
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# 13356

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I'd rather hear Molesworth 2 pla "Fairy Bells"
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Penny S
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# 14768

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Having a) come across a Molesworth reference online somewhere, and b) heard a programme on it the other day, I have gathered up all my copies of the books and am currently halfway through "How to be Topp" - again.
It was years before I understood about Gabbitas and Thring, who did not trouble the state appointment system at all.
And I was interested to find Molesworth had headed his Latin play "Hogwarts".
Agree completely re Molesworth 2 and his musical repertoire.

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Albertus
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# 13356

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25 years ago I actually, in the grand tradition of unemployed Oxbridge graduates with not much clue of what to do, registered with Gabbitas Thring. Got an interview and a couple of other invitations from them, too, tho' something else came up.

Gabbitas creeps round the wood one way

Thring creeps round the other

Gabbitas and Thring trap a young man and lead him off to be a master

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Penny S
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# 14768

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Tee hee. I've got past them now, but not finished the book yet.

Incidentally, I would not have got the Mrs Joyful prize for raffia work. I still have the mat I made aged seven and a bit. It is four inches across. Everyone else's were placemat sized, though one turned into a bowl. I am still slower than everyone else, and I don't know why. I must be in a different space-time continuum, because I am doing what I am doing all the time.

Mad Sigismund will be along in a minute, accusing me of tangents.

[ 30. March 2016, 12:45: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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L'organist
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# 17338

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The Head Girl at my sisters' school was Grabber's doppelganger and played the violin in a manner all her own.

I was never the recipient of a prize for raffia work, but I did win the Woodwork Prize, much to my amazement.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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In about '87 I won the someone-or-other prize for Geography - but on speech day (speech day! with speeches in Latin! what universe was I in, and how then did I come to inhabit the one I live in these days?) I went on a shopping trip to Romford with a crowd of Norwegian young people who were staying at our church, and who wanted to buy leather trousers (hey, it must have been an EU trade-war thing). I forgot to come home, until much later when I turned up and encountered Mother in the front room wearing a big hat and acting rather frosty...

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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I know it's probably heresy to include Wesley in this list, but ...

I'm one of those people who's a little uncomfortable with that line in 'In Christ Alone'. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to be confronted with 'And can it be' a few weeks ago, to find that the editor had reinstated a hitherto unsuspected sixth verse, usually omitted from most hymn books:
quote:

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.



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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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L'organist
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# 17338

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And can it be... Wonderful hymn (in fact we have it down for this weekend) but there is always hot debate about which lines to sing at the end of the verse.

After listening to endless bickering I've finally got them to see that there is a refrain (looked into old sources, etc) so now everyone uses the proper two lines at the end of each verse
quote:
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, should'st die for me!

Now all it needs is for the illiterate loons who produce stuff for the BBC's Songs of Praise to get it right...

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I'd rather hear Molesworth 2 pla "Fairy Bells"

quote:
Piano then goes WAM PLUNK BISH BASH ZUNK while all boys dance like mad bells jangle dogs yap babes cry squadron of heavy bombmers fly overhead rane fall molesworth 2 get strangled in mayploe (...)

Piano then finish RUNK DUNK RILLY ME RE etc and burst into flames

seems appropriate for "wonky worship-songs"*.

==

*And took me three leafings-through to find in The Compleet Molesworth

[spell-check is IMPOSSIBLE for quotes chiz]

[ 22. April 2016, 11:29: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Albertus
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# 13356

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[Overused]

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Oscar the Grouch

Adopted Cascadian
# 1916

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quote:
Originally posted by Scots lass:
We were at a wedding on Saturday, and I came across this horror for the first time. To the tune of "Morning Has Broken", which didn't help it any. Mercifully the other hymns chosen were better (if wedding cliches), and my husband has a nice singing voice which made it bearable...

Ok - I admit it. I have actually officiated at TWO weddings where this was sung.

The first wedding was of a couple of more mature years (hem hem) who were both remarrying after divorce. One was a regular attender at the church and (for reasons beyond my ken) was absolutely adamant that this hymn be sung. So we did.

On the second occasion (about three years later), I must bear part of the blame. I had given the couple a whole pile of orders of service from previous weddings, so that they could see what they needed to think about. Without realising it, one of the orders of service was for the wedding where we had sung "Come to a Wedding". The next thing I knew, the bride was phoning me excitedly to say that she had found the most perfect hymn to sing - guess which one it was.....

To be honest, I'm not sure it is any worse than singing "I vow to thee my country", "Sing Hosanna" or "One more step along the world I go".

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Faradiu, dundeibáwa weyu lárigi weyu

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Blah-dee Hell ... that's awful ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Penny S
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# 14768

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Oh my goodness, I liked "Sing Hosanna" when we did it at school, in parts. And "One more step", also at school. (And I think Rabbi Blue liked that one, too, as he mentioned it when writing about Sydney Carter's last illness.)
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Albertus
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# 13356

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I used to like 'Sing Hosanna' too- in primary school assembly. And that's where it belongs.

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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'Sing Hosanna' is a fairly normal song in the British Methodist Church. Perhaps more popular during all age worship, but I'm not sure if that makes much of a difference.

As for that wedding song, it's a good choice if the gathered visitors are not church folk. Everyone will know the tune.

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Hmm. Yes. There is so much that is hugely admirable about British Methodism; but it does tend to suffer a bit from the common delusion that 'Christian' = 'relentlessly cheerful & nice'. [Biased]

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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