Friday, March 09, 2007

Choir Wars

From the Times:
A Church of England clergyman who was exasperated by the increasing dissonance among his choir has decided to silence them.
The discord that led the Rev Colin Randall, Team Rector of Wellington in Somerset, to suspend the weekly singing at St John’s Church developed over styles of worship.
The choir had established a reputation for cathedral-standard music. It excelled at difficult psalms and anthems as the congregation listened.
Mr Randall, by contrast, preferred the entire church to join in with more modern classics such as Graham Kendrick’s Shine, Jesus, Shine. Disagreement over the two approaches built up, and any harmony was shattered for good last year when Mr Randall sacked the choirmaster, Colin Drummond, after 13 years of diligent service. Half the choir then left in protest.
Mr Randall claimed the be-haviour of a small number of remaining singers was “so lacking in Christian discipleship” that he felt obliged to put an end to their Sunday singing for the foreseeable future.
Mr Randall publicly thanked the choir members for their commitment and hard work and said that he looked forward to reinstating weekly singing once a new director of music was in place. He hoped that the new director would recruit new members, including children and young people.
Mr Randall declined to comment yesterday but said that the decision had followed “some months of thought”. He said he would come to an agreement with Val Williams, the choir leader, about services for which the choir would sing, such as Easter Sunday.
The parent of one former choir member said: “Colin [Drummond] was brilliant. He educated and brought the children on and invited the children and parents to his home a couple of times a year, but he was good with everyone.”
Mr Drummond, whose wife and two sons also left the choir, said: “I am very saddened. Less than a year ago we had a large choir that was well known for its outreach, particularly among young people in Wellington. Now there is nothing.”
John Andrews, communications officer for the Diocese of Bath and Wells, said the problem was about styles of worship. “There is a slight history down there,” he said, adding that any choir would “drift” without a choirmaster.


Argent said...

"Shine, Jesus, Shine" is a modern classic? What's next? "Our God is an Awesome God"? Shudder.

Zadok the Roman said...

Hey Yahweh, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Yahweh!

romaryka said...

i am shuddering in recognition of the musical caliber of my local mass. :(

also, how sad that the CofE seems to be heading in the same direction as the modern (american at least) catholic church.