Many members of the congregation probably find themselves wondering what on earth the RSCM is. From time to time, during services RSCM medals are presented to choristers as we mark their progress through the choir, and this is a great encouragement for the choristers concerned and their families. We give them a round of applause and we go home without perhaps fully appreciating the essential role that these choristers play in the life and liturgy of our community. In fact, if we really stopped to think about it, we would realise how rare it is these days for music to play as much of an integral part in the weekly worship of our parish churches as it does at Saint Bartholomew’s.
The Royal School of Church Music is an educational charity which exists to provide Church musicians for the present and the future. It is a worldwide organisation with approximately 6,000 affiliated churches and schools, together with about 3,000 individual members and friends. Here in Ireland, there are about 150 affiliated organisations both north and south of the border, and about 50 individual members and friends. Saint Bartholomew’s has a long connection with the RSCM, and the RSCM has contributed greatly to our worship through the use of the Sunday by Sunday liturgy planner, music workshops and courses, and large-scale singing events attended by members of our choirs, amongst other educational opportunities. The RSCM’s key focus is to nurture all aspects of the work of Church musicians, particularly the training of young singers, through what it calls its Core Skills. The Voice for Life training scheme is one of these programmes; the others are Church Music Skills and Sacred Music Studies.
What we do at Saint Bartholomew’s week by week is indescribably important. Hundreds of boys and girls have been introduced to the Church through sacred music as members of our choirs. Whilst they might only be part of our regular church family for a relatively short time, they take away skills that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Without the support of the RSCM, it would be much harder for us to provide this training, and to do our bit to ensure that Church music survives in the future.
The RSCM has designated 13th June “Music Sunday”. Please consider supporting the RSCM by becoming a Friend. Membership costs only £25 (€30) per year. Friends receive a copy of Church Music Quarterly and the RSCM email newsletter (optional) with news from the RSCM and the world of Church music. Friends in the Republic of Ireland also receive The Network which gives details of locally-organised events. By enrolling as a member of the RSCM you will become part of an organisation dedicated to providing resources to train and develop Church musicians, and to promoting high standards of music in worship throughout the world. For more information, please ask me or visit www.rscm.com or www.rscmireland.com.
Peter Parshall – Co-ordinator RSCM Ireland