Music Groups

Music at Saint Aidan’s

Saint Aidan’s is a great place in which to sing. The aim of our music groups is to lead enthusiastic congregational singing so that everyone in church, whatever their musical abilities, feels they have had the chance to really take part. To help us achieve this we have an excellent organ and a range of other instrumentalists and the latest audio and vision technology.

There are two music groups in the Parish, the Sunday music group which normally leads the 11am Mass on Sunday mornings, and the Youth Group which normally leads the 6pm Mass on the third Sunday of the month.

 

The Sunday Music Group

The Sunday Music Group leads the singing at the 11.00am Mass on Sundays. The group consists of both singers and instrumentalists of various ages and grades ranging from beginners to professionally qualified musicians. For two Sundays each month (usually third and fourth) we have “Organ Sundays” with traditional hymns and Margaret Rizza’s Mass of St Benedict supported by the organ, and the other Sundays the group of instrumentalists support the singers with more modern worship songs and Dan Schutte’s Mass of Christ the King. Currently we have guitarists, flautists, and an accordion player. We also occasionally sing the Plainsong Mass VIII in recognition of the wish of our bishops that this Mass should be known by Catholic congregations throughout the world. For special occasions we have the resources to be able to sing in four part harmony.

New members are always welcome, whether as singers or instrumentalists, young or old. We realise that these days it is unrealistic to expect a regular commitment from everyone, so we have a handful of “anchor” members who form a “quorum” each week, supported by members of the wider pool who are available some weeks. We provide MP3 learning tracks for the tunes of new music (so you don’t need to sight sing to join us – but you will begin to be able to!) and downloads of sheet music and words, so we do not generally have practices except for short sessions after Mass to prepare for major feasts etc. We would ask that anyone who has learnt or is learning to play a musical instrument or who enjoys singing thinks about coming along and giving us a hand.

If you do think you might be interested in joining us in any capacity please approach anyone in the music group after Mass one Sunday and come and give it a try.

 

The Organ

Saint Aidan’s has a modern (2006) digital organ with a good external speaker system that projects the sound through the church, so that for most purposes it is indistinguishable from a pipe organ (except that it is in tune and well regulated!). The organ built by Johannus, has 2 manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard, 38 speaking stops and a comprehensive array of playing aids, pistons, couplers etc played from an “American Guild of Organists” standard console. Each note of each stop is a recording of a real organ pipe stored in digital memory and reproduced each time that note is played. It has the resources to do justice to all schools of organ music.

The church is happy to allow anyone, young or old, who is learning to play the organ from a professional teacher, to practice on the organ provided that they are willing to contribute to our music making at Mass in a way that is appropriate to their own stage of musical development – for example by singing, playing any other musical instrument, or playing the organ itself at services.

Our organist, Gerard Anderson, MA, ARCM, ARCO can provide information about how to start learning to play the organ. He can be contacted in the music group at Mass most Sundays (even if he isn’t playing) or through the parish office.

 

The Youth Group

On the third Saturday of each month the Youth Group gather at 4.45pm prompt to rehearse in order to lead (musically) the 6pm Mass directly after rehearsal. Members of the Youth Group volunteer to read at the Mass and the group as a whole are encouraged to raise topics of concern they wish to be included in a 'youth' bidding prayer.

ALL instruments and percussion are welcome. At the moment we have flautists, cellist, guitarists, keyboard, viola, accordion and clarinet. We have had electric guitar. We are always looking for singers and soloists to form a youth 'choir'.

The hymn selection is circulated a week or so before the Youth Mass to give those who need to practice time and for transposing instruments to produce transpositions. Most transpositions can be provided by Youth Group.

The mass setting used at the moment is Daniel Schutte's, Mass of Christ the Saviour. We are on the look out for and try to use/learn worship music of a more youthful 'flavour' or to arrange it so as to distinguish ourselves from the Sunday Music Group. We do enjoy collaborating with the Sunday Music Group and welcome their support of our own efforts. Suggestions of new music heard in other churches are welcome to broaden our repertoire.