Raymond Johnston

The liturgy of the Church has for centuries offered musicians opportunities to find expression for their art and faith. For generations, composers have presented hymns, psalms, motets, anthems and masses to enhance the spoken word, but how relevant are their offerings for worshippers today?

The choral music that has survived expresses fundamental beliefs and emotions on our behalf. It is music of sincerity, able to transcend the physical limitations of our being to direct our hearts and minds towards the majesty and mystery of God. Its purpose is as real today as ever; only the language has changed.

The Music Program at Saint Mark’s exists to enhance the worship at the Cathedral, to enable people to offer themselves in service to God and to speak to those in the wider community who are not necessarily part of our congregation, young and old alike. Whether music is performed as part of the liturgy or as part of a concert series, we are able to give thanks for the God-given gifts of composers and performers as well as to experience something beyond understanding.

Whilst it is important to cherish the music of past generations it is also imperative that contemporary music has a voice in the Cathedral. Music of our own age, be it choral, instrumental, jazz or gospel, must have a platform if we are to be a living and growing church. Music of integrity, well performed, will always transport us beyond ourselves and perhaps enable us, in the words of Milton, “… to keep in tune with heaven.”