Page 43 - Church Music Quarterly June 2019
P. 43

Reading your obituary to Dr Noel Rawsthorne (CMQ March 2019), I feel I must add to the tribute.
In 1955 Noel was appointed organist at Liverpool Cathedral at the age of 25, then the youngest cathedral organist in Britain. Those lucky enough to have him as our teacher, including the organ students at
St Catherine’s College, owe him a great debt of gratitude.
On Maundy Thursday 1970 I watched in awe as he invited me up to the five-manual Willis organ in the cathedral and then let me loose on it before the service. Afterwards, he gave me a lift to the Pier Head in his battered old Austin A40.
He was the first organist to be invited on Desert Island Discs, supervised the rebuilding of the main organ, built his own harpsichord, was a keen amateur chef, watercolour artist, fly fisherman, sailor, and the first organist recorded on the Great Cathedral Organs series of LPs. He was also once arrested by the KGB while on a train in Russia!
A lovely man. Thank you for all you did for us.
Andrew Colwell, Liverpool
I read Martin Draper’s ‘Kindle
a flame’ with much interest. Not only do people in churches without hymn books miss the opportunity ‘to explore the book and discover its riches’, they do not see a hymn as a whole piece of poetry when only a verse at a time is displayed on screen, and often without author’s name.
When Singing the Faith was published in 2011, I worked out
a plan to read the book in a year in seasonal chunks of 30–40 hymns
a month, preferably from a words only or melody only edition to avoid distraction from the tune. The timetable appeared in church magazines and on a website. Also the annual Methodist Prayer Handbook includes a hymn to be read daily beside Bible readings. Hymn books in the hand must be encouraged! Valerie Ruddle, Sevenoaks
Methodist Church
 In his article (CMQ March 2019), Hugh Morris states that the volunteer structure of the RSCM is changing and explains why.
I must admit that I was sceptical and wary about any changes to a system that I have been heavily involved in for many years. However, after reading the article and giving some thought to the changes stated in the article to the volunteer structure of the RSCM, I realized that here in New Zealand, in the Waikato Branch of the RSCM, we have recently adopted these changes in the structure of our Branch activities.
In February 2018, we had an invitation to present evensong in a church with no choir. Support and involvement came from the priest and many of the congregation, who took roles such as printing the service sheet and providing refreshments. The RSCM Branch committee supplied
conductors and organist, and invited choristers from the Branch area to form a choir.
In May of this year, a ‘Sing hymns and songs old and new’ was held in the church of All Saints Anglican church, Matamata, organized by the organist (myself ) and our Branch secretary. Members of the RSCM and all local church congregations will be invited to this session, which will be followed by afternoon tea, supplied by All Saints choristers. Then in July this year our Branch committee, as part of a deliberate attempt to spread our activities throughout our region, has organized a workshop-sing of Stainer’s Crucifixion. The conductor of the local choir will direct the workshop, while the RSCM Branch committee will supply an organist and assist with travel costs of the conductor.
This raises the question: is it still necessary to have a Branch chair and
committee, and what roles can they play? I believe it is. A Branch chair and committee can, for example, foster, encourage and promote all forms of church music, as well as coordinate activities in the Branch area. They are also available to assist in such roles as conductor, organist and pianist when required. The Branch chair and committee also form the nucleus of a wider committee to organize festivals in the Area. This can involve many volunteers, as mentioned in the article, in many roles. (The Waikato Branch has done this for the past few years.) Finally, the Branch chair and committee can also inform all its members of visits of church musicians from overseas, and encourage people to attend
these where possible.
David Brookes, Matamata, New Zealand.

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