Singers from one of the leading churches in the capital are to record hymns and songs each week for use by clergy and church leaders livestreaming Sunday services across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields will record music individually in their own homes with their contributions edited together to produce hymns and other music for use by churches.
A selection of up to five pieces of music recorded by the 10 members of the choir – who form a training programme for aspiring professional singers – will be made available every Thursday evening through the A Church Near You Resource Hub website, where there will also be details of music that will be available in subsequent weeks.
The Resource Hub is free and part of AChurchNearYou.com, the Church’s local church finder, and can be accessed by more than 17,000 editors. Read details below on how local churches can register and log in to the website.
The music will be chosen, in collaboration with the Royal School of Church Music, to suit the church season and the theme of each Sunday’s readings. The hymns and songs published this week include Great is thy faithfulness, We have a gospel to proclaim and Ye choirs of new Jerusalem.
Clergy and church leaders have been livestreaming services from their homes since the start of the lockdown but have been very limited in their choice of music because of copyright reasons.
The scheme will mean that Church of England churches can download music through ACNY from St Martin’s Choral Scholars rights-free when they hold a CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) licence, with the ‘streaming’ addition.
Dr Matthew Salisbury, National Liturgy and Worship Adviser for the Church of England, said: “We’re delighted that so many people are sharing in online services that are helping to re-unite our dispersed church communities, and heartened that churches are discovering new ways of being together.
“Music helps to express something of who God is and is used by God to express aspects of his nature, and it helps us to respond to the gifts he has given us.
“At this challenging time, it is natural for us to seek new ways of sharing in musical worship, and we’re therefore very pleased to be able to share the talents of the St Martin’s Choral Scholars to the Church at large.’
Andrew Earis, St Martin’s Director of Music, said: “We are so pleased that our Choral Scholarship programme at St Martin’s is able to continue working remotely during the pandemic.
“It’s wonderful to be able to support our young musicians at this time of insecurity, whilst also being able to offer to churches a new resource of hymns and songs to use as part of their own online worship. I hope the work of our young singers can offer beauty and hope at this challenging time of fear and uncertainty.”
Hugh Morris, Director of the Royal School of Church Music, said: “We are delighted to be able to resource this project, supporting the church through these challenging times.
“We know that our Sunday by Sunday planning resource is used by thousands of churches to shape and select the music and hymns used in services across the country each week, and it is good to nourish that sense of shared approach even in our current dispersal.
“Music is such an important way of enriching and developing worship, and this contribution will surely help to sustain all those who look forward to experiencing live music and worship in church again in the future.”