Music’s Measure - Reflection by Canon Nick
Read Canon Nick's post for Tuesday September 22, 2020
It was late evening on 17th March, having said good bye to the choristers for the last time for who knew how long, that I wrote to the parents, staff and volunteers of the Cathedral Choir, saying, ‘here’s an e-mail I never thought I would have to write’, to confirm the sad news that, for the first time in the history of the choir and of the cathedral, the choir was to be suspended completely. Even during the second world war, choral services continued after the evacuation of the choristers with men’s voices only but COVID-19 was to have a greater effect on Liverpool Cathedral and its music than even the Luftwaffe could manage.
As I locked up the Eastern Undercroft that night and walked down the slope to the plaza, I stopped to take a photograph of the still floodlight Cathedral which we reproduce below; it was to become the first of many photographs I would take of our deserted and locked down cathedral in the coming weeks and months. Deserted but still cherished and loved and a beacon of strength and hope for our choir, our cathedral company, our city and our diocese. My fervent worry but also hope that night, was that no matter how long this lockdown lasted, our cathedral worshipping community would survive intact, maybe even stronger and that once again, ‘our hearts and minds and hands and voices’ would combine to such great effect as many of us have witnessed in some of the great occasions in our history.
Well, my hope was well placed. Thanks to the wonderful spirit of community within the cathedral, the hard work and commitment of our clergy and staff and the commitment and resilience of our amazing probationers, choir probationers, choristers and choral students of the choir and musicians, (with a bit of help from technology thrown in!) we have worked together to stay in touch, to sing, to pray, to worship, to talk, to celebrate, to mourn, to laugh, to love and above all to care for each other, to continue to be the cathedral community we all value so much.
‘It's not the same though’, despite the great efforts of many people across the church during this time, despite phone calls, what’s app groups, Zoom calls (other video conferencing options are available), pre-recorded worship, live streamed worship, even dial a prayer was available, ‘it’s not the same’ was the response of many. And of course it’s not, however important our new found online ministry is, and it really is important for those who can’t get to church and even in a world without COVID-19, it must continue, it’s not the same, it’s not the same as shaking hands, hugging, fist bumps, high fives, hugging and kissing and ultimately, it’s not the same as hearing prayers and music in the same sacred space and it’s not the same as receiving the Holy Communion, in the form of bread only for the time being, but even the cup will return one day, and we will meet again, around the table of the Lord, we will sing again, we will exchange the peace again and we will value what we have, maybe even more than we did before, because we have been without it for so long.
We have been praying for our communities during this time; please pray for your cathedral community and especially for the choir, for our children and young people as they return to schools, colleges and universities and as we prepare to sing and pray with you, once again.
In thy house, great God, we offer
of thine own to thee;
and for thine acceptance proffer
hearts and minds and hands and voices
in our choicest
Nick Basson is our Choir Guardian and Youth Minister
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.