Forum report from musician in residence

At the 2018 CTE Forum Teresa Brown was our musician in residence, here she outlines her experience:

"As Musician in Residence at the CTE Forum I was asked to write a piece of music for the closing worship session. The Lord’s Prayer was my choice of text, because it is said in various ways in our different churches, but we come together here as brothers and sisters, and as sons and daughters, to pray to our Father. By using the traditional words for the first part, and ending with a modern version of the Doxology, I planned to use two very different styles of music for the two distinct parts of the prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer we sang at the Forum began with a setting of the Pater Noster by the Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, sung in English by a wonderful choir made up of participants at the Forum. Two volunteers demonstrated simple sign language to everyone, and the worship group accompanied the final part of the prayer, using the music I had composed. To link the music together after the words “deliver us from evil”, the sound of the harp emerged from the depths with long glissandos, sounding quite dramatic. The 4-part choir then sang in unison in the style of a worship song with the words “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.” As with many worship songs, this was repeated so that more people could sing along, crescendo-ing up to the final Amen with the harp, stringed instruments and clashing cymbals. Thank you CTE, the Forum was the perfect situation for the first performance of this piece of music.

Musical highlights:
The singers in the choir, together with  Steven Cooper who was an excellent cantor, sang a beautiful Taizé Night Prayer at the end of the first day. This included a Latin chant, Mane Nobiscum (Stay with us, Lord) which was new to many of us, but was so appropriate to the theme of the Forum.

My workshop on The Presence of Christ in Music gave people time to share their own experiences of Christ in music, and then to be creative in making up short songs.  Inspired by watching the YouTube video of One Day by Koolulam,  everyone was then asked to work together in 2s and 3s, to create one line of a song, beginning with the words “One day…” With the help of accompanist John Bowman, we ended the session by listening to some amazing lyrics, melodies and harmonies, covering a wide range of musical styles, as new songwriting talents came to light here for the first time.

This is the third Forum I have been involved in musically, and leading again with Noel Robinson has been a great joy, every time. In this year’s Worship Group, we were joined by harpist Rowena Bass, jazz pianist John Bowman, singer Diana Stanbridge and drummer Chris Beckett. The diversity of our instruments and our church backgrounds (Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal and Pioneer Church) just goes to show how music can unite us together in praise of God. In the words of one of the songs that emerged from our workshop, we pray that “One day Christ will be seen in our one-ness”."

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