Page 5, 20th February 1976

20th February 1976
Page 5
Page 5, 20th February 1976 — Westminster's music and 'folk'

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Locations: London, Cardiff


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Westminster's music and 'folk'

After reading several letters you have published about music at Westminster Cathedral, I feel sure that there are many readers who would like to know that good music is performed regularly by the Westminster Cathedral String Orchestra (founded in October, 1971) and the New Westminster Chorus (founded in October, 1972) of which the late Cardinal Heenan was president and gave us much encouragement.

Either separately or together — with soloists — we have given regular concerts in the Cathedral, the Cathedral Hall and other churches in London.

New members are always welcome (under 35) and should apply to the conductor, Mr Cohn Mawby, at 42 Francis Street. Westminster. SW1, or come to any rehearsal on Fridays from 6.30 to 8.30 pm in Westminster Cathedral Song School in Ambrosden Avenue, adjoining the Cathedral Hall, Our next joint orchestral and choral concert is at St John's, Smith Square. SW1. tomorrow at 7.30 pm. It will he attended by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Westminster. There will be music by Mozart and Beethoven (Mass in C).

(Miss) Joan Wake 38 Tetherdown, Muswell Hill, London, N10.

May 1, as a non-Catholic reply to Carmelita Huisch (February 6) by saying I should have been delighted to accompany her to Westminster Cathedral and to have heard the guitars.

I occasionally go to Mass with my Catholic friend, and can only say what a pleasure it is to hear the guitars and the singing — particularly the children — at a Mass in the vernacular.

It is so different from the past, when 90 per cent of the congregation used to be saying their Rosary while the priest turned his back on us and monotoned on in mumbojumbo, 12 Leneda Drive, Broadmead, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Threat to RE in schools

it has been brought to my attention that a Private Member's Bill (sponsored by the British Humanist Association) which would deprive children of religious education in schools, is ready to be introduced into Parliament at the earliest opportunity. In view of this the Nationwide Festival of 1.ight has launched a petition to oppose the kill. Further details. and copies of the petition. are available either by writing to: SRE. Blachernae, Ardleigh, Colchester, Essex: or by ringing Dl9K9 7073.

(Miss) Mary Mackenzie-Smith 49 Edge Hifi Court, Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London. SW I9.

I must hasten to the support of Peter Tate (February 13) and, as I did almost two years ago in your columns (May 31, 1974) rise in support of the "Folk" Mass.

Then, when it was a controversial issue, with the help of the Catholic Herald our own Folk Group put on a demonstration "folk" Mass in London, It was a great success in every way and, as far as I know, met with no criticism.

And recently St Mary's Folk Group travelled to lienley-onThames, at the invitation of the choirmaster, for a first "folk" Mass in the Catholic church there. Here again the response of the congregation was most impressive, and at the end of the Mass we were left in no doubt as to how much the people had enjoyed the experience.

The success of any "folk" Mass depends on the choice of songs, the quality of the singers and the accompanying musicians. A successful "folk" Mass needs as much rehearsal as a choir does for a successful traditional High Mass.

Carmelita Hirsch (February 6) could be exaggerating when she speaks of the guitarists with their "limited repertoire of three chords". (I am sure they could play more) but I appreciate the point she is making.

On the other hand, a guitar played well is a pleasure to listen to, and a group of well-rehearsed singers singing songs appropriate to the occasion are surely not to be found wanting.

Put the two together in a "folk" Mass situation and one should experience what Peter Tate experienced — art atmosphere of love and happiness which is sadly lacking in many of our liturgical services.

(Fr) Christopher Delaney, OSB St. Mary's Priory, Talbot Street, Canton, Cardiff.

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