THE current issue of the Westminster Cathedral Bulletin is full of good things and Clare Barbour, the editor, has this to say of the Cathedral's new Master of Music, successor to David Hill: "James O'Donnell, our new Master of Music, is a child of the post-Vatican II period. A Catholic, educated at Westcliff Grammar School, travelling up to London every weekend to study at the Royal College of Music's Junior Department where he took organ and harpsichord lessons, and finally, gaining an organ scholarship to Jesus College, Cambridge, at the age of eighteen.
"From there, he came to the Cathedral as Assistant Master of Music in the time of Stephen Cleobury, who subsequently took up an appointment as Master of Music to Kings College, Cambridge.
"For six years, James O'Donnell has worked closely with the last Master of Music, David Hill. A partnership which has been very creative, partly due perhaps to their two complementary characters. grounded in Gregorian plainchant and sixteenth century polyphonic composers, such as Victoria and Palestrina. But, as David Hill before him, James O'Donnell believes it is important that this repertoire continues to expand to include contemporary music which explores the still comparatively new area of vernacular liturgy.
"Liturgy and music must be in harmony, or consonant with one another, as he so aptly describes it. To achieve this balance, there is a weekly meeting in the Cathedral of the Liturgy Group, where the music is under constant scrutiny, along with all other aspects of the liturgy."
The benefits of university education
THANKS to Fr Alberic Stacpoole OSB, I have a story of higher education. When the Abbot of Ampleforth, (the one before Cardinal Basil Hume), was once asked what happened to those boys who failed to get into University he replied, "They are inclined after school life to give employment to those who do so".
Stella Maris girl wins public speaking award
CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Clegg, aged 13 years, of Stella Maris Convent, Bideford, Devon, who qualified for the national finals of the Schools Public Speaking Competition run by the British Junior Chamber and sponsored by Lloyds Bank. She is seen here holding her award winning cheque from Lloyds Bank.
Sr Mary, headmistress of Stella Maris Convent, tells me that the school has qualified for the national finals of the Schools Public Speaking Competition in 1986 and again in 1987.
The pupils of Stella Maris have a splendid three year record of public speakers.