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Before I start, I would like to say that I am not an overly religious person and I don’t believe that anybody should force their beliefs on anyone else – things like religious beliefs are an individual choice.
Just to start off, a brief introduction to the company and the job that they do. The company is lead by two people – Jo Boyce and Mike Stanley – both born in Birmingham and still living in the area although Jo spent around ten years of her early life living in Africa. The main thing that they do is to go around the Catholic schools in the Birmingham area doing music workshops with the children, hopefully helping to make the music side of school and church a bit more enjoyable. They also hold music and liturgy workshops at different venues across the Midlands.
My first encounter with Jo and Mile was a few weeks ago when they held a workshop at my daughters school – as I went to get my daughter from nursery, Mike came out of the nursery building and told us we’d just missed the children singing. He rushed off to his next class and when the kids came out, they were so full of the music, it was unbelievable. My little one kept singing what she’d learnt all day. At the end of the day, they held a service in the school hall – I wasn’t planning on going but as I was at a loose end (husband gone to work and feeling a bit miserable and fed up) I thought ‘what the heck – I’ve nothing better to do’ I trudged back to the school for the 3o’clock start.
Well, was I glad I went! When I went into the hall, there was a chap playing the piano while all of the children settled in. when they got started, it was just Jo and Mike with guitars and no other musical accompaniment but I can assure you – they didn’t need it. The children sang songs and hymns that they’d learnt during the course of the day and there was a bit of religious talk in between. I know there are a lot of people who would call this type of thing ‘happy clappy music’ and I suppose it would be true to say that a lot of it is but at the end of the day, everyone has different tastes in music don’t they?
I don’t know if it was the type of songs they were singing or the fact that the whole school (right from nursery to year 6 – not to forget a group of parents sat at the back) was in the hall but it was a fantastic feeling to be there. The kids sang a range of religious songs during the service and as the words were mostly on the overhead projector, everyone joined in. my favourites were ‘praise to the lord alleluia’ and ‘come let us go’ – the music and singing filled the whole hall and it sent a shiver down my back – music doesn’t do that very often I can tell you! I may have felt miserable and fed up when I went in but when I came out; I felt a whole lot better. Maybe it was just getting out of the house for an hour, or maybe t was the music – I don’t know. But, if that is what so called ‘happy clappy’ music does for you, give me more!
This is only a brief description of the work of CJM music and it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the extent of the work they do. If you like the sound of the sort of thing they do, they have got a web site on the internet – www.cjmmusic.com . If you check out the site, if gives more in depth information about the company and the work that they do. You can check out all of the music releases they have made – you can even download snippets of music to get a taster, and if you like what you hear, you can order music cassettes, cd’s and music books either on the internet or through the post. You can also subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date with what they’re doing. Speaking of which, they’re doing a concert in September at a school in Sutton Coldfield with a full youth concert – my cheque is on it’s way in the post to get tickets and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.
*** UPDATE ***
Since I submitted this op, I have realised that I've got something wrong - CJM don't just work in the Birmingham area - they go all over the UK and have even done stuff in America!
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