Two weeks ago I, along with my classmates, went to see a choir performance at the St. Martin-in–the-Fields Church in London, England. Prior to attending this concert, I was very unaware of what to expect and/or how enjoyable I would find the experience. Soon after sitting down in the church pews however, I was immediately intrigued with the beauty of the sound from such a small 10 person choir and the important religious messages, principles, and morals portrayed through the music. The choir performers were either all in university or recently graduated, making them a fairly young choral group. Having participated in choirs since I was in elementary school throughout my college career, I understand how difficult it is to sing classical music not to mention in a choir of only 10 people. Overall, the performance was greatly significant and appealing in how the music greatly reflected the Christian religion and my past experiences with choral groups and Christianity helped me relate to the show in a deeper manner.
Amazing grace; The Lord’s Prayer; Bring us, O Lord God; and Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo were some of the songs performed by the 10 person choir during the concert that certainly expressed and portrayed Christian ideals, morals, and biblical stories of the religion. The characteristics of God and his merciful, loving, and forgiving nature are all captured particularly in both songs Amazing Grace and The Lord’s Prayer when they sing “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me” from the song Amazing Grace by Will Todd and the line “forgive our sins, as we forgive the sins of them who sing against us” in the song The Lord’s Prayer by David Fanshawe. Both of these lines depict an important principle of the Christian religion: the selfless, forgiving nature of God. How he saves people by bringing them to a better, happier place and how his good nature should be reflected and practiced by his followers reflect this principle. Some stories from the Christian Bible were also greatly portrayed in the song Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo where the songs told the biblical story of Noah and how he listens to God’s word similar to how the Christians listen to God in their everyday lives.
Performing and singing is a passion I’ve had since I was in third grade. Over the years I have sang numerous styles of music including musical theatre, pop, and classical in numerous settings comprising of a church, auditorium, and outdoor settings. The performance at St. Martins-in-the-Fields Church was similar to ones I’ve taken part in back in the United States in how the music reflected religious principles but different in the sense that all the music and the repertoire for this particular concert was based on religious values. Since there isn’t a declared religion in the United States like there is in Britain, most concerts that I have participated in only have about one or two religious songs in the set.
Haven been raised as a Christian, this also partly influenced my appreciation of the performance since I was familiar with the principles and morals being depicted. This also allowed me to see another perspective of the performance: I was able to relate it to the Christian performances and services I experience back in the United States to see how similar and different Christian ideals, services, and morals are in different countries. Having performed in choral performances in a church setting before, the St. Martin-in-the-Fields concert performance was different than a church in the United States because it was much more formal and centered around the religious scriptures, prayers, and biblical stories of Christianity while my church back home focuses on choosing songs that allow the people to relate, find, and enhance their personal relationship with God. The overall setting where the concert was held was in a very traditional style church with aspects of Christianity that aren’t normally present in churches I’ve experienced in the United States. For instance, a tradition organ was in the church, the entrance of the building had a very grand and classically influenced facade, and the inside of the church incorporated stained-glass windows all allowing the church to be seen as extremely grand, powerful, and holy. Back in the United States, churches don’t normally incorporate these characteristics really making churches like St. Martin-in-the-Fields seem extraordinary and holy.
Although this performance was different than most choir shows that I’ve experienced in my Christian life; the basic ideals, principles, and morals that make Christianity the religion it is, are consistent in the United States with the principles and morals portrayed in the songs by the choir at the St. Martins-in-the-field performance. Seeing the similarities and differences not only chorally but also religiously was very interesting and engaging, really allowing me to enjoy and appreciate the performance.
Earis, Andrew. Cayton, Michael. “The choral Scholars of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.” St. Martin-in-the- Fields. London, 2012.
Scott, Robert B. “God’s Forgiveness – Growing to Be Like the Great Forgiver.” Ezine Articles. N.p., July 2009. Web. <http://ezinearticles.com/?Gods-Forgiveness—Growing-to-Be-Like-the-Great-Forgiver&id=2615469>.