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Tianjin records first pipe organ DVD

Church music album an attempt to broaden evangelization effort

Tianjin records first pipe organ DVD
More than 60 choir members, ranging from eight to 80 years old, take part in the recording reporter, Tianjin

April 7, 2011

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The choir of Xikai St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Tianjin has finished recording a DVD album of hymns accompanied by a pipe organ to promote sacred music and broaden evangelization efforts. The album is the brainchild of Father Leo Zhang Liang. “I want to fully utilize our pipe organ, which has only been installed for several months, even though the original purchase was aimed at evangelization in the parish,” said the parish priest. Not every church in China has a pipe organ and the DVD enables us to share sacred music with other parishes that do not have one, he said, adding that he believes the hymns can draw people to the Church to hear this “king of musical instruments.” The first-ever pipe organ album produced by the Catholic Church in China is now in production we hope to release it during Easter, said parish lay leader Ma Bao. They will sell the DVD to Catholics, give them out free to non-faithful and catechumen and present them as souvenirs and gifts to visitors and during cultural exchanges. The album has 38 hymns in total, including ones for different church seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Easter and Lent; Marian songs; Litany of the Saints; and other singing prayers, all classical hymns familiar to mainland Catholics. Choir leader Liu Yuxiang joined the Xikai’s choir when religious activities were revived in 1980. She has witnessed changes to the choir over the past three decades, including having no accompaniment to using an electric organ. An electric organ is “less perfect than a pipe organ, which is a more traditional Church musical instrument,” according to her. “We have also seen higher standards of Church music in mainland China,” said Liu who hopes the album can bring joy and peace to listeners. The 80-member strong Xikai’s choir practices vocal music, pronunciation and basic music theory every week. The album is a collective effort of more than 60 members, ranging from eight to 80 years old. Some of them even took leave from work to make the recording. CH13899.1648
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