Celebrating St Paul
The Children’s Cantata: ‘Saul becomes Paul’
(c) 2008 Stephen e Smyth and Gerry Fitzpatrick
The annual schools Cantata is organized by a committee of teachers working with the Director of Music and the Music Committee of the Archdiocese of Glasgow with the support of Glasgow Churches Together and of the Marshall Trust-and last year with the help of the City Council.
The purpose behind the ‘cantata’ is to give the children the opportunity to focus on something or someone significant – usually a biblical story or event or an historic anniversary – and to celebrate it in music, recitation, song, dance and movement. The venue on the 18th November this year was St Mungo’s Church in Townhead with its large sanctuary & lots of space for dancers and instrumentalists.
This year’s cantata tells the story of the Conversion of St Paul: the change from Saul the Persecutor to Paul the Preacher. The text includes three of Paul’s canticles and several short texts – all used in the Prayer of the Church Two of the canticles are already in common use: ‘Though Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 2:6-11); and, ‘We bless the God and the Father’ (Ephesians 1:3-10) while the 3rd (Let’s give thanks from Colossians 1:12-20) has newly been crafted for the cantata.
Almost every school had something special to sing or recite and each ‘number’ in the Cantata was led by up to 6 children. The 28 instrumentalists came from St Joseph’s, Milngavie, St Joachim’s, Carmyle and St Paul’s, Whiteinch with the generous support of a few adults.
Nowadays, the schools are all under great pressure to fit in so many subjects, and so they were glad to receive an audio CD of the music along with the piano and words score. Amplification has become seriously important and this year we had the full, professional ‘bit’ – it helped make the Cantata an unforgettable experience for the children.
Text of the Cantata
Saul becomes Paul
A Cantata for Schools by Gerry Fitzpatrick & Stephen E.Smyth
Narrator 1 Welcome to our cantata. Our story today tells of the conversion of St Paul.
Narrator 2 Paul, who was originally called Saul, is one of the greatest saints in the church’s history.
N 1 Paul travelled far and wide preaching and teaching about Jesus.
N 2 He brought the Good News to people who had never heard of God.
N 1 Paul established many churches and wrote letters to these early church communities.
N 2 We still read and value these letters today. They are included in the New Testament of the Bible.
N 1 We will hear and sing extracts from Paul’s letters throughout our cantata.
N 2 But, our main story is about how Saul, who started out persecuting the early Christians, met Jesus and found his life changed completely.
N 1 Saul became Paul
Saul became Paul. Enemy but now Apostle.
Paul, dear Saint Paul, came to know the love of Jesus.
Paul, good Saint Paul, took God’s word to all the nations.
Paul had great faith and he had the gift of preaching.
Paul travelled far and he gave us this great teaching.
Glory be to God who through each one of us can do great things –
more than we could dream.
All the glory goes to God from the Church
and through Our Lord. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
When we think what’s good and true,
God gives us peace.
When we think what’s right and pure,
God holds us close. (Philippians 4:8,9b)
SAUL WAS A YOUNG MAN
Saul was a young man who truly believed
all the tradition and law he’d received.
Saul, just like Jesus, was Jewish through and through.
God gave in Jesus a message quite new.
In his epistles God’s love Paul portrays.
Hear how he gave us This great hymn of praise.