Nearly 90 church musicians gathered in St. Mary’s Calton, for the GACMA Autumn conference on 12th October. They were welcomed by Parish Priest Fr. Tom White. He reminded them of the quote that the church is the House of God and the Gateway to Heaven and in St. Mary’s we are also reminded that Our Lady is the perfect example for the Church because she made God welcome, the Word of God grew in her and she praised God in her Magnificat. So the church provides a space for hearing God’s Word and praising him. He also promised that the warmth of his welcome included turning up the heating!
The theme of the conference was “A Fresh Start”, inviting participants to look again at what they are, and should be, doing in the Liturgy. They were provided with a wealth of materials both printed and audio, covering what we should be singing at Mass:- Introits and Entry Songs, penitential rites and Glorias, Psalms and Acclamations, Preface Dialogues, Sanctuses and Memorial Acclamations, and music for the Communion Rite including Communion Antiphons.
Each section was led by one of the GACMA committee, and there was plenty of opportunity to try out the material and ask questions. The underlying message was that we should be encouraging congregations to move on from singing hymns (sometimes very long hymns!), to sing the parts of the Mass and to use entry songs and antiphons. We should also be supporting and encouraging our priests to sing their parts, for example the Preface Dialogue.
At the end of the evening, there was tea, coffee and nibbles and time to chat and exchange experiences.