General News

Three More Events

Over the last few weeks we have had three more wonderful events as part of our Festival of Sacred Music.

The first was an evening of Praise Band Worship on Saturday 24 January. St Paul's & St George's Episcopal Church led a praise evening thus bringing together two churches from different denominations and which lean towards very different theologies, ecclesiology and liturgy. It was a most fascinating experience. The group consisted of five very enthusiastic young people whose vibrant music and total commitment to their faith was very inspiring. The most moving part of the whole evening was when they each took the microphone and explained what their faith meant to them and how this was enhanced by their musical involvement. Who will forget the schoolboy who travels to and from school with praise band music on his player as it makes him feel that God is with him, or the drummer who feels closest to God when he practises his drums. The evening ended with a jolly gathering for refreshments in the hall when the discussions continued on the very different and diverse ways people express their faith. 
The second was on Saturday, 31 January, when we were treated to a wonderful lecture by Professor John Butt entitled Bach as Artist or Preacher followed by music performed by the Mayfield Festival Singers and players. John Butt is Gardener Professor of Music at Glasgow University and Music Director of Edinburgh's Dunedin Consort.  He started by placing J S Bach (1685-1750), who was a Lutheran, in the succession of the 16th century Reformation. Bach inherited Luther's sense of the ‘Real Presence’ of God although without the need of the Mass to convey it. He believed the liturgy was there to inspire this sense of the ‘Real Presence’ enhanced by music. In his chorales Bach thus combines melody and scriptural words with the skill of the rhetorician, emphasising the message with persuasive repetition. For him the music could lead to the ‘Real Presence’ even if the tunes used had been in secular use, as, for example, in dance measures, or the words were non scriptural, for example from sermons, as in the arias in his Passion music.  The lecture was followed by refreshments and then a wonderful recital  by the Mayfield Festival Singers and Mayfield Festival Players (2 violins, viola, cello, bass, oboe, bassoon, and chamber organ) directed by John Butt on harpsichord. Two Bach cantatas were performed. In Cantata 21 Prof Butt explained that the music was almost more important than the text. Its opening instrumental Sinfonia, with no words appearing yet, was to get the emotions started and thereafter, with the words of Psalm 94, the music as much as the words expressed the ‘Real Presence’.  Secondly, Cantata 150 used Psalm 25 as its skeleton, repeating and emphasising our need for God in its words ‘I long for you O God’. The sustained applause which followed the evening showed just how much those who were there had appreciated both the scholarship and musicianship they had experienced.
The third was a Service of Compline on Sunday evening February 1. More than 50 people gathered in the nave, many of whom were not regular worshippers at Mayfield Salisbury. The Order of Service explained the historical background and the elements which had been included this evening. It also explained that this was a service of meditational worship and those who were there were encouraged to ‘Let the music and liturgy enter your soul, let it change you and bring you peace ... Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah and Jesus all sought God in the darkness and stillness of the night. Let God fill the quietness of this sanctuary and the emptiness of your soul.’ What followed was a most beautiful evening liturgy which flowed seamlessly through the ancient words and music. The prayers and responses were led by our minister, Scott McKenna, and the choir sung from the gallery. Throughout there was a deeply attentive and worshipful atmosphere and the congregation left the sanctuary at the finish in quietness. A very special end to this Candlemas Sunday. 

Details of all further events can be found on the Festival of Sacred Music page.

Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

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Scottish Charity Number: SC000785


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