13/03/2016 Songs of Praise


13/03/2016

Josie d'Arby visits Birmingham Children's Hospital to discover how 'Singing Medicine' is helping patients on the wards. Plus the Heart and Soul band putting the swing into hymns.


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Transcript


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SINGING

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If you listen very carefully, you may just hear the sound of singing

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and it's coming from in here.

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I've come to the award-winning Birmingham Children's Hospital

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where once a week a group of choristers visit the wards

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to give the children a dose of medicine, Singing Medicine.

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Staying on the theme of music, we hear from Heart and Soul,

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the swing band on a mission to jazz up traditional hymns.

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It's up to us to try and use it to praise the Lord

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and you dinnae do it like that.

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And to mark St Patrick's Day on Thursday,

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I'm in Ireland to find out more about the man himself.

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Much of today's programme is about the joy of singing,

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something we know all too well on Songs Of Praise

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and as our first hymn tells us, we have plenty to sing about.

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This is Ex Cathedra.

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Based in Birmingham,

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the choir perform a wide range of music including many sacred pieces.

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It's made up of professional and trained amateur singers.

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But on Fridays, members of the choir sing rather different songs

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here at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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-# Got to get ready

-Got to get ready... #

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The project is called Singing Medicine and started

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when nurse and Ex Cathedra singer Sally Spencer came up with the idea

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to bring singing to the children on the wards.

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Aw!

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Shall we do one more?

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I think it's very hard. It's very tough being in hospital,

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I think not only for the child,

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but for the whole family.

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We're working with children who can be very, very poorly

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and, of course, that can be

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very distressing for a family.

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We don't know from week to week how they are, where they are,

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or whether, indeed, they'll even be there next week.

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We think, OK, what songs are we going to do,

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how are we going to use them?

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We have to read how that child is feeling or perhaps the parent

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and use songs that are appropriate to the mood.

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# Round and round and round you go

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# And you choose another partner and away you go. #

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-# Sian wants strawberries

-I'd like carrots... #

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Some of the children have to spend long periods in hospital

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undergoing demanding treatments.

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Three-year-old Amaru is having dialysis

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which means he's confined to his chair for four hours at a time.

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I think it's amazing.

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He always really appreciates it.

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Obviously, sitting here for four hours.

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# I think it was a lion... #

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It takes him away from that,

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instead of just sitting down and being on dialysis.

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Hello, Naga.

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-ALL:

-Hello, Naga!

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They always bring a happy, happy vibe to the children.

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Does it help the children physically?

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I think so.

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They feel scared, they might feel angry, so sometimes just bashing

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on a drum for a few minutes is a really good thing.

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There is lots of research around and lots of anecdotal evidence

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to the fact that we get children moving,

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we get them breathing deeper which can help their chests.

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HE ROARS

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Does your faith impact what you do, does it support it?

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I guess it does really.

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It's part of me and singing for me, Singing Medicine, is about

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people singing together and I get that from my Methodist background.

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Everything that I do

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through my faith is through singing

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and being able to come here

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and to sing with the children,

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it's putting it into action.

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They can choose the different songs that they want to participate in.

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I think that's really important that a child does feel

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that they have got some control over the environment.

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# My dog is a good dog... #

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And those choices are happy choices.

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They can lift you and give you that feeling that

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there are good things that happen

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in hospitals as well as things that have to be done in hospitals.

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# My dog is a good dog

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# Yes, he is. #

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13-year-old Rhia is a patient on the neurosurgery ward.

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That was a brilliant session, I really enjoyed it.

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Why did you request Singing Medicine today?

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They've been coming to me for a long, long time.

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Ever since I was young.

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And whether you're busy, whether you're quiet,

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whether it's a boring day, whether it's a sad or a happy day,

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they always end up leaving with a smile,

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and then you end up still smiling and then you end up singing it.

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It's just really funny.

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Here at Birmingham's Children's Hospital,

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they've got this gorgeous chapel

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where parents and children can come for a time of reflection

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away from the ward

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and where they can get support from the chaplains.

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Our next song is one that has proved a source of comfort

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for many during difficult times.

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Here it is, sung by the group Celtic Woman.

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# When I am down and, oh, my soul so weary

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# When troubles come and my heart burdened be

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# Then, I am still and wait here in the silence

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# Until you come and sit awhile with me

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be. #

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Now, from Irish voices to Scottish musicians

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and the Heart and Soul Band

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that's putting the swing into traditional hymns.

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INSTRUMENTS BEING TUNED

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I'm Robin, and I'm a Church of Scotland minister.

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My name's Jo Hood and I'm a parish minister.

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I'm Mark. I'm a parish minister.

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I'm Alec and I'm a parish minister.

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My name is Douglas Clarke and I'm an accountant.

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I'm Hugh Thomas and I'm an environmental regulator.

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I'm Andy Shuttleworth and I'm a retired firefighter.

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-ALL:

-And we are the Heart and Soul swing band.

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Around about three years ago,

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we made a go of getting a start to some proper music

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and we did that really in conjunction with Richard Michael.

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A-one, two, three...

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He's a fantastic jazz educator and our mentor from start to finish.

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Uh, uh, uh-uh, uh...

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Too often in church, you know, we get stuck in a Germanic,

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Presbyterian tradition of playing pretty dreich, slow, mournful music.

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And that music can sound uplifting.

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It should be. It should be a joyful experience

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to come to church and sing and too often it's not.

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Listen, can you just feel this?

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HE PLAYS A JAZZ INTRO

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I'm not doing...

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STATELY CHORDS

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I've got to get rid of, you know,

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six days of being a minister or acting in a certain way.

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Now when they come up on stage, I want them to forget all inhibitions.

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I want them to come up there and let the music speak through them.

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-One, two, three...

-THEY PLAY

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Stop. Lousy attack.

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Your body language sucks.

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It's got to be much more positive.

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See, the body language is really important

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because too often people talk about, "Well, I like rhythm.

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"Rhythm is very important to me and rhythm helps me..."

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It's not that, it's rhythm, rhythm, rhythm,

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and you can feel that groove.

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Douglas, set the example.

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Yeah! Man, this kid's on fire.

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If you can turn that tap on so that it just lets the music out,

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everybody will go out of here rocking.

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# I'm ready, God,

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# So ready head to toe

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# I'm ready, God,

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# So ready head to toe

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# I'm ready to sing I'm ready to swing

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# Let's go. #

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One of the great joys of arranging this kind of thing is

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to take the old songs who've had a wonderful life of their own,

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and see if we can bring them into the 21st-century.

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# All people that on earth do dwell... #

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Stand up!

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Very often, the audiences say to us afterwards, wow,

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we'd never realised that you could sing in that way.

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# Oh, enter then his gates with praise... #

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Music to me is a God-given gift.

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We have that gift and it's up to us to try

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and use it to praise the Lord and you dinnae do it like that.

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# Praise, laud, and bless his name

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# Always

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# For it is seemly so to do. #

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APPLAUSE

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And now let's hear that hymn sung in a more traditional style.

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With St Patrick's Day on Thursday, Richard Taylor is in Downpatrick

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in Northern Ireland, walking in the footsteps of the great man himself.

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Now, if you had been walking in these beautiful fields in Ireland,

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say 1,600 years ago, then you might have come across a young slave boy

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tending a flock of sheep.

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Nothing strange about that for the time, except that this slave boy

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was actually English

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and he was going to go on to become this fellow.

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St Patrick.

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Patron saint of all Ireland.

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Patrick wrote an account of his early life, his Confession,

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which astonishingly is still with us.

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Patrick writes that he was born and raised in England

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and that as a young man, he was not interested in religion at all.

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At the age of 16, he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery

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in Ireland where for six years, he worked as a shepherd in the fields.

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Alone, he contemplated God

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and in prayer he committed his life to Christ.

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He escaped, made his way back to England,

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but God was calling him back and he would spend the rest of his life

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here ministering to the people, founding churches and preaching.

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One of the most famous legends of St Patrick involves a shamrock.

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According to legend, Patrick was preaching one day on the Trinity -

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God the father, God the son and God the holy spirit.

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The crowd just wasn't quite getting it so Patrick bent down

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and plucked a shamrock and said,

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"Look, it's one plant, but three leaves."

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Whether the crowd was any the wiser,

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Patrick's sermon gave Ireland one of its great national symbols.

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I've popped next door from the cathedral

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to the St Patrick Visitor Centre to meet Dr Tim Campbell.

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When Patrick was working as a missionary,

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-what was he actually doing?

-He says that he converted tens of thousands

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of people and really

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there couldn't have been that many people living here at the time.

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There were no motorways, there were no towns,

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there were no villages.

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So he seems to have gone from one settlement to the next.

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He would create one church and then he would go to another place

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where they didn't like the look of him.

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They would imprison him,

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the previous converts would bail him out.

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He would then create a congregation.

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He would go to the next place where they didn't like the look of him,

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they'd put him in prison, and he started the process again.

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So he talks about being imprisoned many times.

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He endured a lot.

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He did endure a lot and in his Confession,

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which is a very important piece of history,

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not just for Ireland but for Britain as well,

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it's the start of our history -

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"Ego Patricius, peccator rusticissimus."

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Those were the first words that were ever written down.

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We had a great oral tradition here,

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but people couldn't read and write until Patrick came.

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Why is Patrick still so popular today?

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Patrick is celebrated around the world and for us

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here in Northern Ireland, he is someone who continues to,

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as well as being our oldest historian,

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he continues to be someone who is very relevant

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because he brings people from all faiths and traditions together.

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What better role model in Northern Ireland

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than someone from Britain who became the patron saint of Ireland?

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Patrick's final resting place is believed to be

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here at Down Cathedral, marked by this stone.

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St Patrick's Day with its green bunting and parties

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and glasses of stout has become such a global phenomenon

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that it's easy to forget that behind it all, there's a real man

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and a remarkable story.

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So I'll leave you with the words attributed to the great man himself,

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St Patrick's Breastplate.

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# Let's find out what Josie needs

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# I'd like spinach... #

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Earlier in the programme, I joined Singing Medicine,

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a group of vocal coaches from the choir Ex Cathedra,

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on their rounds here at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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Many of the children here have to face the prospect of days,

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weeks, even months in hospital

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and singing is something they really look forward to.

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For nine months,

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13-year-old Tally Leigh was on the children's cancer ward.

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She had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Sadly, Tally died last November but with the help of her mum

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and Singing Medicine she's left an important legacy.

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# Butterflies flying through the sky

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# All you see is fireflies... #

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We'd always sung in the church choir,

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so singing was probably her favourite thing to do.

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# Pretty colours on their wings

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# I see those butterflies... #

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So when you heard of Singing Medicine at the hospital,

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you knew it was something she'd really enjoy.

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It was a very good escape.

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If she was too poorly, they'd just come and sing to her or check

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she was all right and say hello, sing random songs to her.

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Not only did Tally sing songs, she also had a talent for writing them.

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# It's good to smile when life makes you sad... #

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When she was well enough for us

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to actually have a proper Singing Medicine session with her,

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we asked her if she would teach us

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some of her songs as well as us teaching her some of our songs,

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and that's how it came about,

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that she was teaching us this wonderful song.

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And they were chatting to her and they said that they were

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going to record a CD, but they wanted children's input into it,

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so, ever the "wanting to be involved in everything" child that she was,

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she taught them her song.

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If we made a mistake, she was straight on it

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and although she could hear the harmony parts in her head,

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she wasn't able to write them down so we came up with some

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harmony ideas and ran them by her and then she would choose

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what she thought was going to work,

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so, yes, she was very, very clever in that respect.

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# Turn your sad face upside-down

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# Life should never get you down

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# Turn your sad face upside down

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# Think of happy things... #

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It's quite exciting really

0:27:070:27:08

because she always wanted to be known for doing things well.

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So now she has a song that she wrote to inspire people

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and to make them happy and it's on a CD

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and actually, it's one of her dreams.

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One of her dreams has come true that way because hopefully

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when people hear it, they will smile.

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She always smiled, she made the best of everything

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and she encouraged poorly children around her to do the same thing

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as well, helped them have nose tubes put in

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and would always have time to make sure people were happy,

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even nurses.

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We like happy nurses.

0:27:430:27:45

And, Jane, how is your faith?

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It's difficult at the moment.

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You kind of need to blame somebody, but I can't.

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I can't blame God.

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I can't blame anybody really.

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I just have to think about Tally and think about her faith

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and think about how positive she was and I'll get there.

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I'll get my faith that she had,

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I'll get the faith that she had back.

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# May the Lord bless us

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# And keep us

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# May the Lord smile on us

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# Shine his light upon us

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# May the Lord lift us

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# Turn his face towards us

0:28:490:28:54

# Give us his peace

0:28:560:29:00

# Give us his peace

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# Blessed we came to this place today

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# And blessed now we will go

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# In the name of the father

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# The spirit and the son

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# May the Lord bless you

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# And keep you

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# May the Lord smile on you

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# Shine his light upon you

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# May the Lord lift you

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# Turn his face towards you

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# Give you his peace

0:30:260:30:29

# Give you his peace

0:30:320:30:38

# Go now in peace

0:30:400:30:44

# Go now in peace. #

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Well, that's it for this week.

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Next week, it's Palm Sunday

0:31:010:31:03

and John Craven puts on his walking shoes

0:31:030:31:06

to join the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, on his six-month long

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pilgrimage around God's own country, Yorkshire.

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Now though, our final hymn encourages us all to sing.

0:31:130:31:17

Josie d'Arby visits Birmingham Children's Hospital to discover how 'Singing Medicine' is helping patients on the wards. Plus the Heart and Soul band putting the swing into hymns.


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