The first took place in Glasgow at the Kelvingrove Art Galleries. In 2014, the Art Galleries launched the installation of the Harry Clarke stained glass window of the “Coronation of the Virgin”. This window had originally been in the Notre Dame convent at Dowanhill. It had ended up in storage at the Burrell, until the efforts of Harry Dunlop, Learning and Access Curator at the Art Galleries (and some gentle nudging from various ex-students of Notre Dame High School and College) brought it back into public view.
A tradition has now developed – all traditions have to start somewhere! – of ex- Notre Dame pupils/students gathering on the Feast of the Assumption to sing the Salve Regina in front of the window and then to enjoy a presentation by Harry Dunlop on some aspect of the window and its creator.
This year, with the centenary of the ending of World War I, it seemed appropriate not just to sing the Salve but to treat the visitors to the Art Galleries to an impromptu concert, to the accompaniment of the violin playing of Anne Morgan, of WWI songs and old favourite hymns including The Sun is Shining Brightly. It certainly generated a lot of interest in the beautiful window.
Then Harry gave a fascinating talk on a less well known aspect of the window – as a memorial window to the dead of the Great War – setting it in the context of the many and varied memorials to that event which exist in Glasgow. These ranged from the well-known Cenotaph in George Square through the University Chapel at Glasgow University to those in local churches or in workplaces, including the beautiful windows in Flemington House. They served to put the dead in the context of their lives whether as workers or members of a church congregation
The second event was quite different – a concert for Peace, Love & Justice ,which was part of the Govanhill International Festival & Carnival. The singing was led by actor, songwriter and singer Tom Urie and included favourites such as Fernando, Imagine and We shall Overcome.
Members of the audience were invited to join in with their own choices and this resulted in a wonderful rendition of I Belong to Glasgow by an older lady – perhaps not what was anticipated under the headings of peace, love and justice, but it cheered everyone up and sent them away with smiles on their faces. The power of music!