Organised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) the Big Sing is open to all churches and takes place on Saturday 16th September in Assembly Buildings, Belfast. One of the organisers, Rev. Karen Campbell, explained that it was also a wonderful opportunity to just come along to the evening celebration at 6.30pm and listen for free.
“Previous Big Sings have seen singers and musicians come together to learn new music. I am really pleased that we have over 200 people coming this year for a day of fellowship, encouragement and I hope fun, as well as practical help, as it’s also hoped that the workshop and resources will be useful to everyone in planning their own harvest event.
“I have been so encouraged that there is still an appetite for coming together to sing, and even more for doing so to bring honour, praise and glory to God. There is still time to register and actually take part in the workshop itself, but for those who would just like to come and listen in the evening, they will be more than welcome,” she said.
Local musician and music director, Esther Church, has written Harvest Home as a suite of pieces that take a different angle and reflect different aspects and themes of harvest. She explained that seasonal and other special times in the church calendar still have a certain resonance, “Christmas, Easter and harvest are times when we really have something to sing about and speak of God to those around us,” Esther said.
“However, I also acknowledge the challenge of finding fresh, creative and accessible musical and liturgical materials and there are definitely more materials available for Easter and Christmas than for harvest.
“A harvest hymn familiar to many of us goes: ‘Come you thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home…’ In farming and rural areas there has always been this strong tradition of people ‘coming home’ for the harvest – to help and to celebrate. This invitation to return and the idea of homecoming is a powerful theme in the Bible that flows through the suite. All of the songs focus on our need to return home to God, to take our part in His kingdom harvest in a fresh and new way.”
As well as singing this especially written suite, all those who come along to the event will have the opportunity to look at other creative resources and take part in an evening celebration.
Talking about the day, Rev. John Murdock, convener of PCI’s Worship Committee, which is responsible for organising the event said, “Based on personal experience of the previous events, whether you are an organist, choir leader or singer, not only will you enjoy the great experience of singing along with a large group of people, but you will also learn some new music, which you will be able to take back to your congregation and use in your Harvest Thanksgiving services of worship.”
For more information visit the events section here or telephone +44 (0)28 9032 2284.