Thursday, 17 January 2013

Farewell Auntie Gwen

Yesterday we buried auntie Gwen. She was 6 months short of 103 years old!  At the funeral I recollected memories of her from my childhood. Specifically she had been the first person to buy me a Corgi toy-in her case a two-tone Ford Zephyr estate, costing 4 /- (that's shillings by the way!!).

Auntie Gwen's 100th birthday
At the close of the funeral we sang Abide with me. I say sang,  but in all fairness the sound of voices was hardly deafening. This very moving hymn (I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless, ills have no weight and tears no bitterness...), used to play a significant part in English national culture. And even yet, since the 1927 FA Cup final, the first and last verses have been sung before the match. Most recently by Mary-Jess with less than enthusiastic joining in by the crowd. Still it's remarkable that in these secular days a song with such profound spiritual lyrics should find any place at all.

It set me thinking about music and the extraordinary thing that happens when people sing together. Just before Christmas, a tv documentary about the Military Wives showed interviews with women who had found that singing and practising as a choir had regularly lifted their spirits. And in the May 7th 2012 issue of the Big Issue on the subject of, 'How to start a revolution', Charles Hazlewood,  a BBC conductor and producer, had this to say,
Music can be a healing force for change. It sounds facetious, but I think if people were to sing together every day, I don't think we would have the kind of social divisions we have in society. Music make us feel better about the pople around us'
What a generous God to give us such a wonderful 'unecessary' gift as music.
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