Each quarter, the RSCM magazine Church Music Quarterly is accompanied by the RSCM worship planning guide, Sunday by Sunday (SbS). Arranged, as the title suggests, by Sundays of the liturgical year, the guide provides suggested lists of hymns and songs; anthems and vocal music; options for singing the psalm; songs for children; Taizé, Iona, and World Music options; and suggestions for organ music before and after the service. For many liturgical musicians and music leaders, SbS is a go-to resource that assists and speeds up their worship preparation work.
It might also surprise members to learn that the Directors of Music at some cathedrals also refer to SbS when developing their monthly music lists. “Surely, a cathedral Director of Music, knows all these musical items?” you ask. And the answer is mostly or often, yes, they/we do. However, SbS acts as a wonderful prompt to information stored in the deep recesses of the mind of all who prepare music for Sunday liturgies. I have lost count of the number of times I have been reminded of a wonderful hymn or choral work that is particularly relevant for one or other Sunday in the year, that without SbS I may have overlooked entirely.
For many non-UK based church musicians, SbS alone is worth the RSCM Canada dues which cover the capitation fee to RSCM in England (or to put it another way, pay for CMQ and SbS) and the small extra amount that goes to the national RSCM Canada Board to cover administration and running expenses. We are delighted that we are currently almost at the point of launching a “Canadianised” addition to SbS that will provide the references in the various Canadian hymn books (of all RSCMC denominations) to the hymns listed in each issue of SbS. That will certainly save much time and wear and tear on fingers which currently have to go through our various hymn book indices to find hymn numbers we can use. Watch this space for further news!