Hymns becomes broadcaster’s forum

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Cooranbong, New South Wales

Journalist and broadcaster Geraldine Doogue will talk about religion in Australia during a concert at Avondale College of Higher Education celebrating the Christian tradition of hymn and song singing.

Geraldine brings to Hymns and Songs a personal Christian commitment, a generous ecumenical spirit and several decades of experience in exploring the spiritual heart of Australian culture.

Geraldine returns as compere for the seventh Hymns and Songs of Praise, which Avondale will host on its Lake Macquarie campus in August. The host of ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra and ABC Television’s Compass will also answer questions about religion and journalism in Australia during an extended interview halfway through the concert.
 

Geraldine Doogue will return as compere of Hymns and Songs of Praise but will also feature in conversation talking about religion and journalism in Australia.


“Geraldine brings to Hymns and Songs a personal Christian commitment, a generous ecumenical spirit and several decades of experience in exploring the spiritual heart of Australian culture,” says senior theology lecturer Dr Lyell Heise. He is producing the concert with Valmai Hill in their roles as director and assistant to the director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific’s Institute of Worship.

Backed by the Institute of Worship Orchestra and led by Avondale vocal ensemble The Promise and soloists Albert Mataafa and Marian Moroney, Hymns and Songs of Praise will be highly participative—the audience will serve as a massed congregational choir. The “energy and quality will far exceed what is normally possible in a local congregation,” says Lyell.

The concert will open with the premiere performance of prize-winning composer and local Cooranbong resident Blake Robinson’s composition Sky Passage, with Blake guest conducting the orchestra. Among the hymns and songs to follow are The Old Rugged Cross and Softly and Tenderly. Young Avondale alumnus and composer Benjamin Milis will also guest conduct a performance of his song Worthy. The similarly named, and popular, Worthy Is The Lamb closes the concert.

Inspired by the BBC Television program Songs of Praise, Hymns and Songs of Praise celebrates “the timeless music and lyrics that continue to inspire Christians” and “the contemporary expressions of praise that are a tribute to the ongoing creativity of Christians in the worship community,” says Lyell. Offering praise to God in a musical form is also biblical, with Avondale Conservatorium director and The Promise artistic director Aleta King noting the Bible’s use of psalms and songs. “Understanding and celebrating our spiritual roots strengthens us in our identity and purpose for the future,” she says.

The Institute of Worship first presented Hymns and Songs of Praise in 2005. Lyell and his colleagues have since taken the concert, and the orchestra, to every mainland state in Australia and, this year, to Auckland and Papatoetoe in New Zealand.

Hymns and Songs of Praise with Geraldine Doogue, Avondale College Seventh-day Adventist Church, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 7-9 pm. $20 (single), $15 (concession/student), $40 (family—two adults and two or more school-age children). Visit <www.avondale.edu.au/onlinestore> to purchase tickets.