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LIFE - A Journey Shared

Our third recording was a selection of instrumental tracks, songs and hymns, sung by various soloists alongside the Watermead Singers - members of St Theresa’s choir who now met regularly outside of their regular parish choir commitments to promote the music of our apostolate through recordings, workshops and music events around the country.

“Life - a journey shared is an expression of our love for, and trust in, God. It is inspired by the Word of God in the Scriptures and by a sense of wonder in the universe. We trace time from Creation to the completion of life in coming to God.  The world is a garden, the child sings in the womb, life is seen in its seasons, St John and Mary Magdalen sing of their joy in knowing the Lord, and the soul sings of its search in the wilderness and its peace in finding God.

“The journey is a very human one and the hymns, songs and music in this collection can be used for parish services and celebration.  We share a common giving of life through the love of man and woman; we share a creation that is a garden of beauty and fascination; and a dream of making the world a place of love and justice and peace, of reconciliation and forgiveness.  The journey is a pilgrimage together . . .”

Thus, was our introduction to this recording.

THE BEGINNINGS . . .

Since our first two recordings, we had been meeting regularly to continue learning our new hymns and songs. More people were joining us and we had been asked to sing at various events around the country, presenting workshops at different venues in and outside our diocese. But we did not make a lot of money through this outreach. Most of what we did was voluntary and, although the apostolate was making small profits through its sales, after the expenses were met we gave what little was left to the charities we supported.  So, we did not have the necessary finance to fund a third recording.

Then Father John remembered he had produced a guide to help the people of the parish to understand the Bible.  He sent these Bible Scheme notes to Redemptorist Publications, on the off-chance they might be interested in publishing them. They were, and paid an advance royalty for the manuscript - which paid for the production of our recording “LIFE, A Journey Shared”.

The presentation was kept simple, with a one-colour insert (to save on printing costs) from a sketch drawn by Alison and over printed with letraset text.  No money this time for a word folder, so the words were typed and incorporated into the cassette sleeve insert.

THE RECORDING . . .

The singers (including our every-growing children’s choir) were booked into the studio on Saturday 23 September, 1995.  The singing schedule was very tightly planned, and we managed to record all the vocal tracks on the same day using pre-recorded instrumental backing tracks, that Alison later enhanced with additional instrumentation and Mike’s studio effects. One very rewarding and happy memory was playing the finished “Gardens” track to the singers and seeing their surprise at the orchestra that accompanied them - they had recorded only with a piano track, to which now had been added many instruments!


The Music

LIFE - A Journey Shared

And a discovery of life’s gifts

Creation “Tohu Bohu” (Instrumental) (4.22)

Book of Genesis. Originally named “Lazarus”~

 thus reflecting creation and resurrection

Gardens  (5.45)

We are made in the divine image

~stewards of God’s gift of creation

Song from the Womb  (4.37)

A cry from the womb ~

a plea for the gift of the unborn child

Roman Spring (Instrumental)  (2.50)

The pilgrim finds new understanding

and a renewed purpose in life

O Child (2.45)

The child is from God ~

each season of life is a gift

Lost Summer (Instrumental)  (3.52)

A lament for lost time

in the richness of new realisation

St. John : The Prologue  (3.17)

In the beginning was the music of the word

I Have a Dream  (4.13)

The world is a gift to be shared

Autumn Falls (Instrumental) (1.52)

A woodland walk in thanksgiving

Wilderness (2.35)

Song of Songs ~ we are lost

but God has always found us

 Magdalen  (3.56)

A life of darkness and death

brought into light and resurrection

Winter Branches (Instrumental) (1.13)

‘Tis the year’s end . . .

Return to Clonoish (Instrumental) (1.24)

The Celtic longing for home

I’m Going Home (2.52)

My Nazareth and eternity

Gardens (Instrumental)  (2.21)

“ . . .  all days, until the end of time.”

Jesus fulfils his promise each day

Listen to the music on the CD page

THE FIRST LAUNCH of “LIFE A Journey Shared”

LIFE was a national organisation founded in 1979 by Jack and Nuala Scarisbrick to provide a compassionate alternative to those faced with a crisis pregnancy. The charity’s work inspired by the principle of respect for the lives of all human beings, both born and unborn. It was one of the first anti-abortion organisations in the UK to pioneer this two-pronged approach of opposing abortion yet also providing viable long-term alternatives.


Nuala Scarisbrick had asked to use our hymn “O Child” at their 25 year anniversary conference mass in October, 1995. We had been invited to lead the music and take our recordings, books and cards with us and make them available to the people attending.


We decided to launch our new recording that weekend and, on Sunday 15 October, Watermead singers set off for The Chesford Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, to lead the people in the singing of four of our  hymns at their celebration mass - “O child”, “Song from the Womb”, “The Song of Peace” and “I Have a Dream”.


For more information on the present LIFE charity and organisation click on the logo below.




BACKGROUND TO SOME OF THE MUSIC

The earliest piece of music on this recording is “Lost Summer”, composed by Alison as part of her school exam project when she was fifteen. It was later orchestrated as a retirement gift for her father.

As the seasons of life were to be the theme running through this recording, it seemed appropriate to include the music as one of the instrumentals.

All Watermead music has a background “people” story and two in particular that are special to this recording are “O Child” and “I’m Going Home” (see below).


RE-RELEASED AS CD

In 2006 after many requests the cassette recording was transferred to a digital format and is now produced as a CD.

Click on CD picture for shop link

In the move from Birstall to St Joseph’s some of archives and artwork were lost and, unfortunately, the original picture used for the artwork of the cassette was one of these items.  New pictures and artwork were needed for the CD presentation.

Lynn had joined the Watermead team at St Joseph’s and so we asked her if she had a picture that was suitable.  She did - a pastel drawing she had done some years back, “Pathway” in the Dordogne. This she photographed, loaded onto her computer art programme, and worked on to produce the above interpretation - we had a new and colourful image for our CD insert.

“Pathway” in the Dordogne (Lynn Tooher)







“I’m Going Home” is Monty’s hymn and seemed an appropriate hymn to complete our “LIFE” journey (click to read the full story).  In March, 1996, the parish went on pilgrimage to Rome and Sheila, Monty’s widow, was going.  We decided to follow up our 1994 presentation to Pope John Paul with another Watermead Music presentation - and this time include the “LIFE” cassette along with selected pieces of sheet music.











Sheila, Fr John and Alison pictured just before the presentation (read the thank you letter)

“O Child”, or “The Song of Life” as it is also known, was first sung for Ruth (pictured here with her Grandmother) on her Baptism day. The first singer of this song had been Lorraine, artist of the “Mary Our Mother” cassette cover and stationery. Lorraine was to be Ruth’s Godmother and sung the newly-composed song as a surprise for the Baptism service.

The song is one that looks at the human journey through the seasons of life - springtime, summertime, autumn and winter. It had been composed on the day that the newborn Ruth had been brought to church for the very first time, and so was dedicated to her.

When we started making plans for the “Life A Journey Shared” recording, this song seemed a very appropriate hymn to include - and we were very pleased that Lorraine, as its first singer, was able to record it for us.

The song has since been recorded by others - Dermot on “Vivan los Ninos” and Rebecca and Matthew on “I Call You Friends”.  An instrumental version is also available on the “People of God” Music as Prayer CD presentation.

(Visit “Music as Prayer” to view a video presentation of the song)