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Musical tradition continues

Sacred harmonies: St Mary’s Catholic Choir performing at a Catholic concert at St Mary’s Church, South Brisbane. Photo: Fr Nestor Sinaga OFM Cap.

Sacred harmonies: St Mary’s Catholic Choir performing at a Catholic concert at St Mary’s Church, South Brisbane. Photo: Fr Nestor Sinaga OFM Cap.

By Emilie Ng

HOSTING music concerts inside Catholic churches could be an accessible form of outreach to religious sceptics, St Mary’s Church, South Brisbane music director Nicholas Ng said.

The composer, performer and ethnomusicologist from Griffith University said a recent parish concert last week, which served traditional sacred music ensembles alongside “poppy” hymns, was an enticing way to experience the Catholic faith.

Dr Ng said the concert engaged a range of local artists to perform a wider range of sacred music that was not just founded within the Catholic Church.

Local artists included a former Anglican Capuchin friar, Brisbane Maronite priest Fr Fadi Salame and a non-Catholic Iranian singer who teaches the Catechism to three Iranian Catholic converts.

Dr Ng said concerts were a great place to invite non-Catholics because music “speaks to many people”.

“It’s not liturgical, but the music is sacred,” he said.

South Brisbane community’s cultural diversity also shone at the concert, which featured Indonesian and Mandarin renditions of the popular hymn, How Great Thou Art.

Brisbane’s Assumption friary Capuchins and Wynuum Capuchin Friar Henry Paul also gathered for their first public musical performance.

Parish priest Fr Lam Vu said the primary focus of the annual concert was the continuation of the community’s long-standing musical tradition.

“These concerts are about keeping the tradition of St Mary’s, because it’s a very musical community,” Fr Vu said.

“Music was always heavily promoted here by previous pastors, and there is a heavy music culture around South Brisbane and West End.

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