Happenings, News

7 courses to train music ministry personnel


EACH year, the Methodist School of Music (MSM) conducts a series of workshops for the training of music ministry personnel in our local churches. Seven courses ranging in duration from one to six sessions will be offered from August to September this year.

Ms Joanna Paul, a Singaporean and UK resident, well-known for her multi-fold career as organist, music tutor, soprano soloist and choral conductor, will be offering two workshops targeting at organists and singers respectively.

The first course, “The Use of the Organ in both Traditional and Contemporary Services”, will be held at Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church on July 29 and Aug 5, 2006 from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. It will include a bit of history, the changes in modern-day services in attitude, styles, choice of music and adaptation and importance of working with priests, pastors, church leaders and music leaders and conductors.

“Give of Your Best to the Master – In Search Of Choral Excellence In Contemporary Christian Music” is a three-session course designed to help groups of singers to build and develop as a musical ensemble that can lead in worship in confidence and musical excellence. There will be discussions on choral/group leaders and their role in leading a church singing group.

The course will be held on Aug 19 and 26 and Sept 2 at the MSM from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Participants will be able to gain much insight into serving in both contemporary and traditional services from Ms Paul, who is equally at home in pop and classical organ/vocal styles.

Ms Wong Lai Foon, a Westminster Choir College of Rider University Master of Music choral conducting graduate, will be teaching a three-session course on “Choral Rehearsal Techniques” at the MSM on Sept 14, 21 and 28 from 7.30 pm to 10 pm.

The course will explore the various components that contribute towards a successful choral rehearsal. Areas to be discussed include conductor’s score study and preparation, approaches to teaching a new piece, rehearsal planning, as well as problem-solving techniques in the area of pitch, rhythm and diction. Each participant will rehearse one song chosen from a set list.

Mr Chan Kum Soon, a certified instructor with Fretboard Fellowship (USA) will be offering a three-session intermediate electric guitar workshop, “The Distortion Myth”, on Sep 4, 6 and 8 from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm at the MSM. The fee is $63. The workshop will cover techniques, strumming, picking, chord patterns and soloing. It will also cover effects application for the overall worship experience.

A Teaching Associate at the MSM, Mr Chan is a much sought-after teacher.

“More Than Just Keys”, a three-session basic-intermediate keyboard workshop by Mr Raymond Fong, will be held at the MSM on Aug 29, Sept 5 and 12 from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. The workshop will cover playing techniques, practical scales, chords and their inversions.

Mr Fong started playing keyboards while he was in Sunday School. With his classical training, he later ventured into contemporary, fusion and jazz styles.

“Band GoGo”, a one-session band dynamics workshop by Thomas Ee & Band, will be held on Sept 9 from 3 pm to 6.30 pm at Fairfield Methodist Church. It will cover communications, team dynamics, music arrangements, spontaneous worship, etc. Participants are encouraged to come as a band as there will be time for the individuals or bands to perform.

Having served the Lord in the music ministry for the past 17 years, Mr Ee has played the electric bass in Christian recordings, tours and evangelistic events for various worship leaders and singers.

Finally, “Criticism and Deep Listening”, a six-session music appreciation course in Chinese, will be taught by Ms Cathy Tan, a Master of Music choral conducting graduate from Los Angeles State University. It will be held at the MSM on Aug 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 and Sept 7 from 8 pm to 9.30 pm.

Mary Y. T. Gan is the Principal of the Methodist School of Music.


MCS gives $20,000, TRAC and CAC send relief teams

THE Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) has given $20,000 towards the relief of the Central Java earthquake victims. The quake on May 27 has killed about 6,000 people and caused tens of thousands of people to lose their homes.

In sending a cheque for the amount to the Singapore Red Cross Society on May 31, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon wrote:

“The Methodist Church in Singapore will continue to remember the victims of the earthquake, and pray that God’s love, comfort and strength will touch them and encourage them.”

Meanwhile, Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) of the MCS sent an eight-member relief team to the affected area from June 1 to 6 to provide relief and to assess the situation.

A two-man team from the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) was also sent to the affected area to assess the situation and to work with a local non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The two Annual Conferences and the General Conference Disaster Response Team, headed by the Bishop, are monitoring the situation. They are liaising with some Indonesian Methodist pastors and their local churches.

The eight-member TRAC Crisis Relief team, led by the Rev Juliette Arulrajah, comprised two surgeons, one pediatrician, three medical aides and one children’s worker/teacher.

Besides attending to medical cases, they distributed medical supplies to about 800 adults and children, 100 blankets and 50 tents, each of which can accommodate eight adults.

They worked alongside the Gereja Methodist Indonesia (The Methodist Church in Indonesia), whose relief work was spearheaded by Grace Methodist Church, Jakarta, and Wesley Methodist Church in Jakarta in partnership with the GMI church in Jogjakarta, which was slightly affected by the quake.

The CAC team of Mr Han Hai Kwang and Mr Steven Lau from Grace Methodist Church flew to Solo on June 1 and then went to Jogjakarta to work with YBN, the local NGO in the affected area. They returned on June 8.