The Halls of St Timothy's
This Advent, the halls of St. Timothy’s sound a little different on Thursdays, lovingly dubbed by some students as “music day”. On normal Thursday afternoons, students burst from the sanctuary at 2:40 on the dot in vibrant, clashing harmony; this year, little buzzes, hums, claps and wiggles betray their irrepressible love of music. The St. Timothy’s curriculum passes down a rich tradition of 1000 years of Christian musical heritage. Throughout the pandemic, many people have expressed concern that sacred choral music, and even choral singing itself, may not survive. Others ask, “Why do we still learn this music that is so old?”
Good question. For that matter, why do we study history? What’s to be learned from Latin, ancient philosophy, or the theology of a religion no longer on-trend? These disciplines reveal truths that transcend the spirit of the times; truths resonating of God Himself. God’s goodness, His justice, His beauty - these mysteries unfold before our ears in music class. The physics of pitch, the infinite palette of tone colours, the awesome power of dynamics, the relationship of beat and pulse to our very lifeblood… the genesis of a melody dawning into harmony: one, two, three, four voices and more!… the phenomenon of vibrations, reaching the eardrum, being interpreted by the brain to evoke a response that is harmoniously physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual… are all contained within the mystifying genius of a simple carol.
So why study this dusty old stuff? Because every piece is a pilgrimage that defies psychological and neurological explanation. It is the stuff of miracles. We who are called to inherit this tradition have a sacred commission to cherish it and share it with all who will receive it. Echoing the words of Psalm 47, “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is King of all the earth; sing praises to Him!”
By Leora Nauta-Haines, St Timothy's Music Director