RSCM Music Sunday is a celebration of the music and musicianship that plays so vital and beloved a part of church life. Music Sunday salutes, in words and music, the creativity, discipline, effort, and dedication of singers, instrumentalists, organists and music leaders in local churches.
It is a day to recognise and thank God for the endeavour of people – young and old, professional and amateur, administrator and practitioner- who create the wonderful music that inspires and deepens our Christian worship. It is also an opportunity to celebrate their progress and development as church musicians by awarding RSCM medals, admitting new members to the choir, or welcoming new musicians.
Every year, churches across the UK and overseas celebrate Music Sunday. The Revd Richard Coles, Vicar of St Mary’s, Finedon, Northamptonshire, television and radio presenter and erstwhile pop musician, has allowed us to share his church’s Music Sunday celebrations. Choral Evensong, including music by Purcell and Gibbons, is led by Finedon’s Director of Music, Jonathan Harris. He and the Revd Coles speak about the importance of music in this rural parish church.
You can also hear Richard’s sermon in full here:
RSCM Music Sunday 2017 will be held on or around 18th June 2017.
2017 marks the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal School of Church Music. On 6th December 1927 the inaugural meeting of the School of English Church Music took place in the Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey. There, under the chairmanship of the Dean of Westminster, Sydney Nicholson’s vision and plans were defined and the society that became the RSCM was brought into being. This year’s Music Sunday will celebrate this anniversary.
Churches and communities around the UK and overseas will join in celebrating Music Sunday on this day, and over the following weeks. (We fully understand how challenging it can be to fit an event into a busy schedule, so please hold your Music Sunday event on a different date if you wish.) Details of events this year and a summary of celebrations from previous years can be found on the Events tab above.
RSCM Branches in other parts of the world may be running a similar event on a different date. Please contact your local branch for details. (Note: much of the information given on this page will be helpful to anyone running a Music Sunday event, but some details are specific to the United Kingdom, in particular the guidance on Gift Aid.).
The funds raised by Music Sunday are shared equally between your church or community and the RSCM. Locally, you might choose to raise funds for choirs, music libraries, or to support church music in whatever way is needed locally. The RSCM will use the money you raise to support its work of training and supporting church musicians everywhere. Importantly, you will also be raising awareness of the key role of music in worship.
We hope that the contents of this page will help to inspire your event and make it a success – musically, spiritually, and financially. Use the tabs above to find out more. And don’t forget to let us know what you are doing in advance by sending us a completed booking form.
Information and resources are available on the website. But if you have any questions, requests or suggestions for prayers, music, etc., please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the RSCM office on +44 (0)1722 424851.
If you would like to hold a Music Sunday event, you will first need to get the support of your church musicians and church governing body. You may find the attached document helpful in addressing some of their questions about why your church should support the RSCM through a Music Sunday event, or in proposing the RSCM as a designated charity: Presentation points for Music Sunday .
Whether you choose to organise a special concert, a welcoming ‘come and sing’, or simply make a collection in support of the 50:50 campaign, we hope that your event will not only raise funds for your church and the RSCM but also celebrate church music and musicianship Ideas for events are available here: New Fundraising Ideas. Musical and liturgical resources are found on the next tab of this page.
Donations to your church and the RSCM are more valuable when UK taxpayers sign a Gift Aid declaration form (an extra 25p for every £1 donated). In 2017 Gift Aid envelopes will be made available to RSCM churches to use for their collections. Please indicate how many you require on the booking form.
Please send a copy of the Gift Aid envelopes to RSCM together with the funds raised. Be sure to keep the original envlopes for your own records.
If you prefer not to use envelopes, you can record Gift Aid donations on the following list: Gift Aid List.
If you are holding a sponsored event please use: Music Sunday sponsorship form
IMPORTANT: all the guidance on Gift Aid given here applies only to the United Kingdom
Book your event with the RSCM, so that we can keep in touch and publicise your event: Music Sunday Booking Form 2017. We will list your event on the Music Sunday webpage and include details of a selection of events in our national promotion of Music Sunday.
NB: If you are a RSCM Area Committee organising a Music Sunday event, please use the usual Area Event Registration Form.
Most importantly, tell your congregation and community about your event – and why you are holding it. Explain with passion why music is such an important part of worship and invite others to share that passion. Leaflets explaining how the RSCM supports church music locally and nationally, and about Music Sunday specifically are available from the RSCM. You will also find some useful tools through the following links: Guidance on marketing and PR; Press Release Template
You can use the RSCM Music Sunday logo on promotional materials, service sheets etc for your event.
Step 6 – Report back and make your donation
Please let us know about the success of your event using our Feedback form. Your feedback helps us to report to the wider world about how successful Music Sunday has been, and will provide valuable guidance when planning future Music Sundays.
Feedback, donations (payable to RSCM) and Gift Aid forms, envelopes, and Music Sunday Gift Aid report should be sent to:
Development, RSCM, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EB
2017 marks the 90th anniversary of the establishment of what was to become The Royal School of Church Music. On 6th December 1927 , in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey, the inaugural meeting of the School of English Church Music took place.
We hope that you will join with us to mark this anniversary as part of Music Sunday. Resources to mark the occasion will be made available in the new year. Musical resources can be found at any time at RSCM Music Direct.
Issue 52 of Sunday by Sunday featured a new setting of Psalm 150 by David Ogden, suitable for use on Music Sunday. Find instrumental parts and a full score on the Sunday by Sunday page
And if you are welcoming new choristers to the choir during your Music Sunday service or presenting awards, the Voice for Life Chorister’s Companion makes a wonderful gift. Details can be found on the RSCM Music Direct webshop here: Go to RSCM Music Direct
In 2016 Music Sunday marked the 90th birthday of our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen.
Some of the resources are listed here
The Revd Helen Bent has provided additional prayers for use in 2016, celebrating the Queen’s patronage of 600 charities including the RSCM:
Her Majesty the Queen has approved two Collects for use during services celebrating her 90th birthday this year. These are available to download below, together with two graces for use at church and community gatherings circulated by the Liturgical Commission.
Other suggestions for music, readings and prayers for a service or concert for Music Sunday:
Suggested music and readings from Sunday by Sunday issue 76
Suggested music and readings from Sunday by Sunday issue 52
Suggested music and readings from Sunday by Sunday issue 41
Additional readings and liturgy
More worship planning resources for royal occasions
An anthem has also been specially composed by Malcolm Archer, and a sample of the anthem is available below. When you book a Music Sunday event using the Booking Form, you will be eligible for a discount on the anthem from RSCM Music Direct.
Sing We Merrily sample copy
RSCM Affiliates may also download without charge an introit by Richard Shephard – O worship the Lord. Please note the instructions at the bottom of the first page. Download Richard Shephard’s O Worship the Lord
A map showing details of where Music Sunday events took place in 2016 can be found below. Please zoom out to see the events that happened across the UK and the world.
A HUGE THANK YOU to all those who have taken part in Music Sunday in recent years. It has been a wonderful celebration of music and musicians, with churches and choirs around the globe marking the occasion. We are grateful for your efforts and imagination!
Events to come in 2016:
Events held in 2015:
|Date and time||Venue||Event|
|Sunday 12th June at 4pm||St Margarets Church, Olton, Solihull||Organ recital ‘Music for Royal Occasions’ followed by afternoon tea and choral evensong. A small exhibition of events in the locality and church from 1926 will be displayed.|
|St John the Baptist, Tisbury, Wiltshire||The musicians at St John’s church celebrated at Parish Communion, and donations were made for the RSCM and for the music of the church.|
|St Paul’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, Texas||Solemn Eucharist for Choir Appreciation Sunday, including Boyle’s anthem Thou, O God, art praised in Sion, and blessing of crosses. Reception.|
|St John the Evangelist, Friern Barnet||In Memoriam – a ‘come and sing’ Fauré’s Requiem memorial event. Acclaimed choral conductor Robin Osterley and professional singers Penelope Manser and Leon Berger led the workshop/rehearsal, with accompanist Kelvin Thomson, followed by the concert.|
|St Mary the Virgin, Finedon, Northants||Come & Sing Choral Evensong A service to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Music included James MacMillan’s Give me justice, canticles Brewer in D and Bruckner’s Os Justi.|
|REME Corps and Garrison Church of St Eligius, Arborfield Garrison||An ecumenical RSCM Music Sunday service, shared by members of the Roman Catholic and Anglican/Protestant congregations. It included anthems performed by the Arborfield Military Wives Choir, sacred songs by the ecumenical church choir, organ voluntaries, other vocal items, and rousing congregational hymns! Followed by coffee, tea and cakes.This will sadly be the last RSCM Music Sunday in St Eligius Church, as it will cease to be a military church when Arborfield Garrison closes at the end of October 2015.|
|St Mary’s Church, Dalmahoy, Kirknewton||Organ recital. Alan John Phillips, Resident Organist at St Mary’s since June 2014, made his Scottish debut on the Hamilton/Willis organ. Music included the ‘Gorgeous Georgians’, Rheinberger, Hollins and Sibelius, plus Sailor’s Hornpipe, Wedding March and more! Retiring collection split between St Mary’s and the RSCM.|
|St John the Evangelist, St Raphael, France||Organ dedication service – a special service to welcome the installation of a larger electronic organ, involving three organists and the choir, with a retiring collection for RSCM Music Sunday. On the following Sunday, our regular communion service also featured Music Sunday.|
|Great Gransden Church, Cambridgeshire||A family communion service with extra music, including anthems especially suitable for Music Sunday. All the hymns were chosen by members of the choir, and choir members led the intercessions which included a musical response. Junior members of the choir were presented with their annual prizes during the service.|
|St Mary’s Church, Nantwich||Two communion services which both included Darke in F, in celebration of RSCM Music Sunday.|
|St John the Baptist, Burford, Oxfordshire||Holy Communion Service: Patronal Festival and RSCM Music Sunday. “The Music Group and the Parish Choir joined forces to lead a service marking our Patronal Festival and RSCM Music Sunday. As we are still raising funds for the redevelopment of our medieval church hall into a new space with modern facilities to support a growing church and to serve the needs of the local community, we will split our collection 50:50 between this project and the RSCM.”|
|St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton||Choral Eucharist (boys and men), including Byrd’s Five Part Mass and Ave verum corpus. Choral Evensong (girls and men), including Holy, holy, holy by Hoddinott, Morris responses, Murrill in E, and I saw the Lord by Stainer.|
|St Mary de Haura, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex||A Festival Service for the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta held in the historic Norman church of St Mary de Haura (St Mary at the Harbour). The service was led by the Reverend Ann Waizeneker and Stuart Hutchinson, Director of Music and incorporated material from the RSCM publication, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.|
|St John the Baptist, Tisbury, Wiltshire||A come and sing evensong for the feast of St John the Baptist, on RSCM Music Sunday. Singers from local churches joined Tisbury Parish Church as part of their Patronal Festival, directed by Stuart Robinson.|
|St Andrew with St John the Baptist, Crewe||Strawberry Tea and Songs of Praise. Café Church with strawberry tea and selected Christian music as background. Followed by Songs of Praise with hymns chosen by the choir and congregation, prayers from the RSCM, and readings on the lives of composers and hymnologists. This included an explanation of the RSCM and the Chorister’s Prayer, and the story of local hymnologist John Ellerton.|
|St Bartholemew, Wickham Bishops, Essex||Choral evensong for RSCM Music Sunday, including Purcell’s Thou Knowest Lord, Noble’s Canticles in B minor, and the anthem Fill us with love by Musson (arr Sutton).|
|St Mary, Harrow on the Hill||“Chester” Evensong – a service of Choral Evensong (BCP) including the annual presentation of Awards to junior choristers, originally given in memory of Ronald Chester, a member of our choir who gave his life on active service in WWI. The service also marked the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, using some material from the RSCM’s festival service Thy kingdom come, including Give me justice by James MacMillan, Sumsion’s Canticles in G, Holst’s Turn back O man, and God be in my head by Philip Wilby.|
|St Andrew, Bemerton, Salisbury||Hymnspiration – led by Barry Ferguson, was an opportunity for people to choose a favourite hymn, explain the choice, and sing the hymn as a congregation. Retiring collection was divided between St John’s Place project and the RSCM.|
|Eastington Church/Cotswold Edge Parishes, Glos||A celebration of church music and bring-and-share picnic. The church marked Music Sunday with a special service celebrating church music, where members of the church choir and congregation sang some of the UK’s favourite church music. Following a short service, there were refreshments and a bring-and-share picnic in the churchyard.|
|St Margaret’s Church, Topsham, Devon||Choral evensong for RSCM Music Sunday. The service was preceded by an organ and choir recital by organist Barry Rose, the choir of St Margaret’s, and Helena Paish, current BBC Young Chorister of the Year.|
|St Mary’s Church, Tickhill, Doncaster||A “Songs of Praise” style service, including a breadth of music for modest choirs to inspire and refresh regular weekly worship. The event was directed by John Marsden, Organist and Choirmaster at St Mary’s.|
|Dawlish Methodist Church, Devon||A morning service with hymns chosen for Music Sunday, with a brief history given of the composers. The choir sang Ernest Sand’s Sing of the Lord’s goodness.|
|St Andrew’s Church, Shifnal, Shropshire||Annual cake stall in aid of RSCM Music Sunday and church funds.|
|St Leonard’s Church, Bursledon||Tea and tunes – a vintage tea party with singing, arranged by the church choir.|
|St Giles Church, Bredon||A combined communion service for the Bredon Hill Group of Parishes, with hymns and communion music selected by the choir. Retiring collection for RSCM Music Sunday.|
|Dewsbury Minster, Yorkshire||“At Dewsbury Minster we really made a effort for Music Sunday. At the morning service we had trumpet and organ starting with the Vaughan Williams arrangement to communion, and the choir made a pledge at the start of the service to re-commit to leading God’s people in worship. There was a thank you card and huge box of chocolates for the choir from the Rector thanking them for all we share in music. l got a card and beautiful slate plaque too. In the evening we focussed on the bell ringers and their calling us to worship each week – the service was centred around the inscription on the eight bells at the Minster. Very effective, the hymns were rousing and joyful. We sent a donation to RSCM. We really used the set prayers for the day and one of the bell ringers and choir members lead the prayers. We were truly blessed that Sunday.”|
|St John’s Church, Osmotherley, Ulverston||Choral evensong with collection for Music Sunday.|
|St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow||“Choral evensong was huge success with about 130 singers, from the Diocese of Glasgow an Galloway, and some friends from St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, and from Dunblane Cathedral. We have split the proceeds between the RSCM and our own Music Endowment Fund.”|
|Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New Zealand||The St Mary’s Singers (the cathedral’s occasional choir) were on duty at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. Included in the music lists were Scarlatti Exultate Deo, Pitoni Cantate Domino and Vaughan Williams’ Let All the World.|
|St Mary-at-Finchley, London||Donation.|
|St Michael’s Church, St Albans||“Having bemoaned the fact that we get to sing relatively little challenging music on a Sunday morning and only get one evensong a month I persuaded the vicar to let us do a ‘proper’ mass setting. I chose Haydn’s Little Organ Mass. We’ve never done anything like it before and it was thoroughly enjoyed by choir and congregation alike. At communion we gave the congregation a bit of a shock with the Hallelujah Chorus. We sing from the back of the church and it was hilarious to see all the congregation’s heads turning on the first “Hallelujah”. To top things off we handed out the three recently awarded Dean’s awards to Rosanna, Jo and Imogen – the first examined awards in our junior choir’s short existence.
“It was a great excuse for a bit of choral indulgence but feedback from the congregation was universally positive. We will definitely repeat it.”
|Holy Trinity Parish Church, Wavertree, Liverpool||Donation.|