The Rector writes ‘Congratulations to all ten who were confirmed last Saturday by the Bishop in what was the very last Confirmation Service of the year.
Congratulations also to Hilary Dring who was on that day commissioned as Diocesan Local Lay Minister (Pastoral). They were a wonderful group who had to be very patient as the big day was postponed several times due to both the pandemic and illness. Imagine that they had started their preparation way back in January 2020! I should have taken photos of that first class to compare against the one below!
And now it is finally time to ask if there are any of you who would like to be confirmed in 2022? I already have the names of 8 young people but there may be more out there! The classes will be held on Thursdays evenings, beginning on January 20th so still plenty of time to let me know. ‘
Sunday November 21st
Hymns at St Mary’s
52 Christ whose glory fills the skies
321 Holy, Holy, Holy
263 Crown him with many crowns
One of the more fascinating aspects of organ playing is the key role played in French organ playing and composition by blind organists. The tradition of training the blind as musicians dates to the eighteenth century in France. At that time a French philanthropist, Valentin Haüy, was horrified by the treatment of the blind who often had to resort to begging to eat. He managed to raise funds to set up a school for the blind and soon realised that music could be an extremely useful tool for publicity.
In December 1786, a small choir and orchestra of blind musicians performed for Louis XVI at Versailles and soon were performing widely in Paris. The school survived the French Revolution and moved to a new facility in 1843 built at the instigation of the poet Alphonse de Lamartine. The system of Braille helped the students to read and learn music from 1852 onwards. Some of the most famous organists of the nineteenth century such as Louis Vierne were educated there and at the Paris Conservatoire. The last two blind organists to study and teach at the Institute, Gaston Litaize and Jean Langlais, retired in 1967.
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Random Notes CDIII
This my third Random Notes on a developing theme of IT and sustainability.
As I write this I am reading an article for The Register about the need for the “Tech Bros” to step up and do their bit for the environment and climate change. There are two things to note here:
First, The Register is not known for excessive tree-hugging.
Second, their targets are Tim Cook, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg Andy Jassy. Andy Jassy is Jeff Bezos’ replacement. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has attracted huge criticism recently for taking William Shatner (Captain Kirk) on a brief trip to space at enormous cost. Leaving aside Shatner’s rather poetic response to being propelled beyond most of the atmosphere, Bezos’ rocket expelled mostly water, the by-product of burning hydrogen and oxygen.
It’s very easy to criticise space travel as wasteful because it’s extremely visible and its promoters are predominantly male “Tech Bros” like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. But Musk in particular has hugely driven down the costs of satellite launches and his company, SpaceX, is managed by Gwynne Shotwell, most assuredly not a “Tech Bro.”
But none of this lets them off the hook. The Register’s point is that the climate crisis should be used as a driver to make our hi-tech IT gadgets far more sustainable and repairable. In the past I have mentioned the Fairphone, which is both. But it is hardly mainstream. Apple, Tesla, Amazon, and Google have done an excellent job making their supply chains extremely competitive. Now it is time to make them ethical and sustainable.
There are numerous problems to be solved: Car and phone batteries are made partially of rare earth minerals. These need to be phased out in favour of something that is easier and less environmentally damaging to mine, and that doesn’t involve child labour. Our gadgets need to be much easier to repair. We need to stop designing for obsolescence. What’s wrong with a washing machine that lasts 10 years? Finally, we need to break the cycle of endless upgrading and waste.
This is where Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla and also Google could show some leadership. They have the means to make their products sustainable. But do they want to? Maybe consumer pressure will make them.