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Irish Church music summer school opens this week

By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 June, 2014

College-ChapelThe 45th Irish Church Music Association summer school open this week and over its four days will explore the ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ as the theme for this year’s gathering.

This year’s guest director is David Saint, Director of Music and Organist at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, and a Professor at Birmingham City University.

The Summer School, which takes place from Thursday 3 July to Sunday 6 July, provides musicians from around the country and beyond with an opportunity to sing and pray together, learning the best music of the past and the present.

According to Fr Turlough Baxter, Chair of the Irish Church Music Association (ICMA), “Each year the summer school focuses on a special theme and develops its liturgies, together with its music around it.

This year’s focus is on ‘Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel’ – Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.”

He continued, “As we launch out into a new era of the Irish Church Music summer school, we will bring ‘a joy ever new, a joy which is shared’ through our sharing of the Word and singing our song.”

“We are invited to a renewed and revitalised 45th summer school just as Pope Francis has invited all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.”

According to Fr Baxter, the summer school is aimed at all levels from those who come to listen to church music, to those who are very well-skilled.

“When people are in their own parishes, they can feel a bit isolated. But when they come together, they share their experiences around mealtimes, on walks around the college, and at the workshops. They learn from each other and not just from the tutors in the summer school,” he said.

Tutorials have been arranged so that each participant in the summer school has the opportunity to attend four tutorials.

Tutorials will cover:
Parish Repertoire
Linking School and Parish
Liturgical Input
Skills for Leading Liturgical Music
Special Choir
Psalms in the Liturgy
Choir Skills
Organ Tutorials
New Generation Youth Choir

The Irish Church Music Association was founded in November 1969 to support the work of musicians working in the field of liturgical music in Ireland.

Through training, publication and dissemination of information, the ICMA strives to improve standards and encourage musicians in their service of God and the community.

The ICMA is supported by the Irish Bishops’ Conference and is based in the National Centre for Liturgy, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

There is a membership of approximately 250 people. Membership is by the payment of a yearly subscription and is made up of a variety of people from choirs around the country and those interested in Church Music.

The Association has a Council which runs the association; this is governed by its constitution. The Council is elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, with a certain number of the Council elected each year, for a term of 3 years. A small number may also be co-opted if necessary.

The objects of the Association are:
To promote, encourage and support the understanding of music in the Church.
To promote, encourage and support the use of music in the liturgical and daily life of the Church.
To especially encourage and support Irish music and musicians.
To work for the acceptance and implementation of good liturgical practices.
To work in co-operation with the National Centre for Liturgy, in particular and with other similar bodies as appropriate.
To be ecumenical in outlook.

For more information see www.irishchurchmusicassociation.com

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