‘Music Unites’ – Bringing together faiths in Rugby through music

The Music Unites audience!

The Rugby Interfaith Forum ‘Music Unites’ event was a very successful, lively and colourful family occasion for all ages and backgrounds. Many thanks to St Andrew’s and the Rector, Imogen Nay, for hosting us and to all the groups and individuals that gave their time and support to make this afternoon so successful.

‘Music Unites’ was not an act of worship, but a celebration of the wonderful music used in worship in our various traditions – Christian, Hindu Sikh and Baha’i. We were entertained by a wide range of delightful music and dance.

The audience were welcomed in by the St Andrew’s bell ringers. The St Andrew’s handbell group introduced the program with several pieces played on handbells. This was followed by ladies and young people from the Hindu temple who performed a selection of dynamic and colourful pieces of devotional dance and music.
The first was a dance dedicated to Lord Ganesh (Hindus pray to Ganesh before every auspicious occasion since he removes any obstacles that come in the way). There followed a traditional dance which using sticks with the devotees singing and dancing for Lord Krishna to entertain him. To end the children from the Sathya Sai Spiritual and Human Values classes sang some bhajans (or hymns).

There followed Plainsong sung by Brian Davis from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Plainsong (or plainchant) was used universally in the Catholic Church from the Middle ages till 50 years ago when the Vatican Council introduced local translations. The prayers of the Mass were originally in Latin and when Plainchant was used, it is sung unaccompanied (as this afternoon).

The most widely known Plainsong Mass is known as Missa de Angelis, still sung in some Catholic Churches. Brian sang The Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei: The same words are used in masses by the great composers.

Kyrie Eleison: Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God of hosts…
Agnus Dei: Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

The interval refeshments were provided by the St Andrew’s Community Singers

The Rugby Sikhs introduced Sikh Music followed by singing from the Guru Granth Sahib (The Sikh sacred scriptures) which is central to Sikh worship. 

Next we heard Indian classical music played by the singer Ananditha Venkatramanan accompanied by Srividya Venkat on the violin and Thanujan Sivanesan on the mridangam (an ancient Indian percussion instrument). The roots of Indian classical music can be traced to the ancient Vedas and evolved with the Hindu tradition. The tone is an embodiment of the sacred sound “OM” that signifies the ultimate reality – so it sounds perfectly in tune with nature. The art form is devotional – an expression of love and prayer. The song (in Tamil) praises Krishna for his strength, beauty and valour. The composer, Chitravina Ravikiran, connects emotionally with Krishna and wishes his dreams come true with all his blessings.

The Baha’i section of ‘Music Unites’ was given by Julian Hellaby, an international concert pianist whose work for the Royal Schools of Music has taken him to many parts of the world. He is also an experienced lecturer and author of books on piano performance. Julian played several personal compositions and interpretations.

‘Music Unites’ concluded with the St Andrew’s Community Singers with 5 pieces:
1. The first begins with the word Shalom – a Jewish welcome. (cf.Moslem Salaam).
2. A prayer for the Lord to renew the face of the earth – and a thanksgiving to God for His greatness.
3. Part of the Benedicite which asks ALL of Creation to Bless the Lord and Praise Him and Magnify Him for ever
4. A peaceful prayer from Taize (a shared Christian community in France) and a joyful thanksgiving.
5. A prayer asking for God’s Blessing and for His love and peace to surround us.


The event collected £350 for the Jessie’s Fund charity. A big thank you to everyone for your generous donations.