June 23, 2020

Early Affiliate Celebrates

Music Sunday is a world-wide RSCM celebration of the Ministry of Music in worship. The annual event marks the partnership of the Church and Musicians. Chairwoman of RSCMNZ Wellington Branch, Rev Alison Stewart, reports that the Branch conducted its observation of it at the Chapel of St Barnabas, Huntly School, Marton.  Sunday 21 June 2020 was The Chapel Choir’s first Sunday Chapel Service since the lockdown. Huntley School is NZ’s oldest and largest preparatory school and is located in Marton, a rural town in the North Island, inland from the coastal waters of NZ’s South Taranaki Bight. It was amongst the earliest of NZ schools to become an Affiliate of the RSCM under the guidance of the then Headmaster R.P. Sherriff and Director of Music, C. S (Stuart) Panting.  The school received their parchment 24 March 1935 (the facsimile of it is shown below). NB: It can be seen that in those days the Charity’s name, “The School of English Church Music”, foreshadowed the adoption of its present Royal status granted by King George VI during the 1940’s.

The school’s musical and RSCM tradition continues under today’s Headmaster, Sam Edwards, and Director of Music (as well as school Chaplain), Rev. Alison Stewart. The choir uses the Voice for Life scheme and is proud of its record of choristers who have advanced to sing in the NZ Secondary Schools Choir and the New Zealand Youth Choir. This year’s Service music included the lovely Samuel S Wesley anthem, “Lead Me, Lord”  and hymns, ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’ and ‘Walk in the Light’. The sermon and the prayers during the celebration focussed on the work of the RSCM both in NZ and internationally, all of which combined to make the Service a most memorable occasion.

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