Parish News From The Pews - 2021

Helping us to keep our faith, keep in touch and be charitable through the pandemic.

If you have anything to share, you are welcome to either write via the church office or email to sg.olstwerburgh.clayton@rcaob.org.uk. Please include your contact details when you email us.

2021

December

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - JESUS WAS A CAPRICORN by Kris Kristofferson

26/12/2021

Boxing Day, or to give it its 'proper' name St Stephen's Day, is when the mood lightens, and celebrations become more widespread. Today's choice is most certain;y not a carol, but it would probably be listed as musical satire. Last year I told you all that, like Jesus and Elvis Presley, I was a Capricorn, so, if you too are goats, you will understand. My wife called Kris Kristofferson a Renaissance Man because very few have achieved so much in the fields of academia, sport, military, films, songwriting, and singing. He was a member of the supergroup The Highywaymen and he had a part in the unforgettable and slightly irreverent film of the 70s, Convoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmJU-T4brPk

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - LIST OUR MERRY CAROL by The Exmoor Carolers

25/12/2021

Last year I included this carol by Petula Clark for personal reasons. In my home church, we always sang it at the end of Midnight Mass, and so it marked the start of our family Christmas. I have just found this recording by a fund-raising group, the Exmoor Carolers, who perform this largely forgotten carol as I remember it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcVydzCuN1U&list=PL04A3E5BF7EE90162&index=59

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - MARY'S BOY CHILD by Boney M

25/12/2021

The 1978 recording by a Euro-Carribean group based in Germany. This was a massive hit in this country, but there have always been doubts about who actually sang on the record. Last year we included the 1956 original by Harry Belafonte, which I still have on a '78.'This is probably the first Christmas song, which has evolved into being considered a carol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmm1gt_2SkQ

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - AWAY IN A MANGER by Bing Crosby

24/12/2021

This carol is one of the most familiar and popular, but its origins are a matter of some dispute. Martin Luther is one name quoted in some sources, but the Americans laid claim to it as one of theirs when it was first published in the late 19th century. There are different lyrics, and at least two melodies. This version by Bing Crosby is not the melody I was familiar with from my Infant School days. However, it was the first EP we bought for our family radiogram in 1957, - A Christmas Sing With Bing. Bing Crosby was the singer most associated with Christmas carols and songs, and his version of White Christmas from the film of the same name is perhaps the most well-known Christmas song of all time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Qj-WFFehE

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH by San Pedro Calungsod Choir

23/12/2021

A 19th century carol in which the English words are based on a traditional French song, and it tells the well-known story from St. Luke's Gospel. The choir is a Filipino choir based at a church in Singapore. They made this virtual video at a Christmas Ignite Concert in December 2020 at the height of the pandemic, and we have to admire not only the quality of the accompanist and the singers, but the skill of the technology team who put it all together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4Re07PLb_M

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - JOY TO THE WORLD by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra with the Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble.

22/12/2021

This is a real tour de force from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. An early 18th century carol with a mid-19th century arrangement. The setting is inspiring and the performance of the choir numbering 350+ with an orchestra of almost 100 is complemented by the Trumpet Ensemble. For the faint-of-heart the words to the carol are printed at the bottom of the screen, so please feel free to join in and try to match the choir.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r3VVMUhAxU

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - ADESTE FIDELES by Beniamino Gigli

21/12/2021

We have just acquired a copy of this 1947 recording for the jukebox. Gigli followed in the footsteps of his fellow-Italian, Caruso, and is universally regarded as one of the finest tenors of all time. I can remember my late father-in-law lamenting the fact that Mario Lanza had been chosen to play Caruso in the 50s biopic. The carol dates from the 18th century, and was of course translated into English. A Durham academic recently published a tome in which he felt that there were underlying messages in Adeste Fideles which were linked to the Jacobite rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie, with echoes of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZNUgmAd57s

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY by Chieftains and The Renaissance Singers

20/12/2021

A 1991 recording in Dublin by the Chieftains and a London-based chamber choir, the Renaissance Singers; I had no idea that the Chieftains, founded by the instantly recognisable Paddy Maloney in 1963, had recorded with so many musicians from different areas of music. On a personal note I can remember that in Junior School, we regularly had problems with the sequence of ROYAL and DAVID.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inF2_gM_gho

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - THE VIRGIN MARY HAD A BABY BOY by BBC Songs of Praise 2015

19/12/2021

This performance comes from the BBC Songs of Praise in December 2015 from the Hackney Empire. The multi-denominational audience/congregation sing this traditional West Indian carol with real enthusiasm. The version on our jukebox is the 1960 version by Lonnie Donegan, who really changed the face of popular music in this country in the late 50s. The lyrics are overprinted on the recording, so there is no excuse for anyone to opt out of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOiwbABmhcU

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - DO YOU LIKE GOOD MUSIC? sung by Arthur Conley

18/12/2021

If you were about in the 60s, you will perhaps remember Arthur Conley asking DO YOU LIKE GOOD MUSIC? The song SWEET SOUL MUSIC became one of the anthems for generations. Life has still not returned to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic affected us all, but the Christmas period is a time for good music. Last year we worked together on a CAROL-A-DAY, and some listened, some sang along and a few brave souls got their instruments out. The carols are deliberately chosen from a variety of choirs and soloists, and, though you might not like every single performance, there should be something for everyone.

April

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

WONDERFUL TIME UP THERE

03/04/2021

Written in 1947 as 'Gospel Boogie,' and a UK chart hit for Pat Boone, reaching No.2 just over a decade later. This is one of most upbeat celebrations in song, and it is impossible to sit still when it is sung. There is a 78 rpm record somewhere in our collection - if you don't know what this is/was, put it into your search-engines. After a difficult period of over a year with the pandemic, the message of optimism in this music is an appropriate note for the future.
Pat Boone

Watch Video

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD?

03/04/2021

An African-American spiritual from the 19th century, which was the first spiritual to be included in a published hymnal. It is almost certainly a plantation song composed and sung by the slaves who worked there. My two daughters went to Glastonbury in 1995, a year after Johnny Cash made his only appearance there and in the process gained many more British followers. Cash grew up on an impoverished share-cropper's smallholding in Dyass, Arkansas, and he will have been familiar with this gospel music from an early age.
Johnny Cash and the Carter Sisters

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January

Blog - Our Lady and St Werburgh

A CAROL-A-DAY - We Three Kings sung by Ella Fitzgerald

06/01/2021

A wonderful version of the carol by perhaps the finest female singer of the last century. Some religious/music purists feel that the carol should not be sung until the Kings are 'almost there.' The video which accompanies Ella's version should appeal to everyone of all ages. On a personal note, this carol has been included at the request of Adam Grannell, whose development of the parish website has been really uplifting. As this is the last carol on the eve of the Epiphany, I am including a picture of the procession in our living-room at home. It has become a big thing as the Kings make their way across the floor of our room picking up family favourites on the way.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6WWX3-rLvQ