This is a gratuitous plug for a weekend event I’m organising with Andy Watts of the Carnival Band on June 27/28th.
Andy will provide music specially adapted from the arrangements used by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band in their recordings ‘Sing Lustily and With Good Courage’ and ‘Paradise Found’. Assisted by one or more members of the band he will coach singers and instrumentalists in a selection of hymns, including several by Charles Wesley, to create a ‘Gallery Band and Choir’ typical of the bands found in churches and chapels c.1800. The hymns will then be used in the morning service on Sunday. Previous workshops have proved a huge hit with participants and congregation alike, as new life is breathed into these wonderful tunes.
The cost will be £30 (£15 unwaged), and I have bursaries for Welsh Methodists from the Wales Training Network. If you’d like more information, do get in touch.
The last time I shared one of these workshops with Andy it was an excellent occasion. It gave me a fresh appreciation of Wesley’s hymns. Back then I wrote
Thanks to Andy and his motley gang of singers and musicians, Sunday worship went with a real swing. … There really is life in these old hymns and it would be nothing short of criminal to allow them to fall into disuse, especially for the fatuous ‘reason’ that they’re boring. None of the kids leaving church on Sunday morning looked like they’d been bored, and it was Wesley all the way.
What we urgently need to do is recapture the energy that is lying dormant in these hymns. Of course, it is fine music but there is much more to it than that. Wesley’s hymns were written to convey the power of the gospel, to draw people in with their combination of popular tunes and poetic words. The hymns are not an end in themselves, but a tool for the proclamation of the gospel.
Andy gave us some very helpful pointers to doing just that. I’m looking forward to finding out where it will take us.
I stand by all of that. I’m certain that anyone with an interest in making the most of music in church will find this a valuable day.
Update: Download the application form (doc)