An event in which choral music, art and poetry create a space for people to lament.
“I thought it was so good, powerful in its simplicity, creative, beautiful, moving…it was very memorable.”
“It gave me much food for thought, and I appreciated the way the different media encouraged me to reflect. The sense of love and compassion which was integral to the whole event stayed with me all the way home.”
‘Lament’ was developed by Steel City Choristers, artist Louise Carr and Highfield Trinity Church as a community memorial to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lament is equally suited to other periods of reflection and mourning, such as Remembrance, Lent or All Souls.
The first Lament event took place at Highfield Trinity church in November 2022 funded by the Sheffield City Council Covid-19 Community Memorial Fund. A second event was held during Lent 2023 at Mount Tabor, Parson Cross.
Please contact us if you would like to host a Lament event for your community.
Steel City Choristers performs specially chosen pieces of choral music to encourage people to experience and process their feelings of lament. This creates a soundscape to help people contemplate the seven themes illustrated by the ‘Stations of Lament’ artwork created by the Reverend Louise Carr: Weeping, Pain and Confusion, Protest, Comfort, Truth Telling, Desolation and Emerging Hope. Videos of the pieces sung at Highfield Trinity Church are available below.
Each station of lament is introduced and then a period of reflective silence is held before the choir sings. The repetitive way in which this structure is repeated for each of the themes creates a contemplative atmosphere and allows the event to proceed without introduction or direction.
The event can be opened and closed with a song of lament for everyone to sing together.
Beautifully made pieces of textile artwork create a visual focal point for reflection on seven aspects of lament. Each piece of art is presented at a station that also includes explanatory text and materials that encourage people to stop, reflect, and process their response. People are encouraged to move around the building to experience each of the stations before and after the event. A comment book allows people to sumarise and share their response to the art and its themes.
The artist, Reverend Louise Carr, says “This work has been a deep part of my spiritual journey and recovery from some complex and difficult stories.”
Louise’s hope is that her art helps people speak the truth about the reality of their experience of existence.
Images of the artwork are available to download via the button below.
The Spoken Word
Each station of lament is introduced using words written by the artist followed by examples of people to hold in our hearts and minds at this station.
A short poem in the form of a Japanese haiku sums up the essence of the theme and leads into a period of silence before the choir sings.
At one or more stations, additional material may be shared to express the current reality of the station. At Highfield Trinity Church, heartfelt words were spoken at the station of protest about the situation in Iran.
The text and poetry developed by Highfield Trinity Church are available for use at other events via the button below. Future hosts may adapt this text or develop their own.
tears, chaos, protest,
comfort, truth, desolation:
Raw pain and grief
CHAOS AND CONFUSION
demanding new stories.
This is simply not the way
the world should be.
Let honest rage
Someone is there for you,
you for someone.
Pain once exposed, shared,
Lament deals in truth
Voices long silenced
must state it.
God’s silence, absence, anger,
our only companion.
lament proclaims a world
with which God is not finished.
This is the music sung at the first Lament event at Highfield Trinity Church in November 2022.
Words: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), and Requiem Mass
Music: Brian Holmes (b. 1946)
Hear my Prayer, O Lord
Words: Psalm 101, verse 1
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Words: Canticles 8, St John 15, I Peter 2, I Corinthians 6; Romans 12
Music: John Ireland (1879-1962)
Do not be afraid
Words: Gerard Markland (b. 1953), after Isaiah 43
Music: Phillip Stopford (b. 1977)
Music: Eleanor Daley (b. 1955)
Remember not, Lord, our offences
Words: Part of the Litany from the Book of Common Prayer, 1559
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
And I saw a new heaven
Words: Revelation 21, 1-4
Music: Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)
“We have had nothing but positive feedback about our collaboration with Steel City Choristers. The event brought together musicians, singers, artists, faith communities and local politicians and activists to remember and heal together. It offered a creative and therapeutic environment in which tears were shed and hope emerged.”
Highfield Trinity Church