The Great Turning music event composed by Prof. Rev June Boyce-Tillman will be performed at Winchester Cathedral next week

The Great Turning music event composed by Prof. Rev June Boyce-Tillman will be performed at Winchester Cathedral next week

It’s not often that I say I wish I was going to be in church next Thursday but I’m disappointed I won’t be at The Great Turning musical event created by composer, music education, interfaith advocate, Prof Reverend June Boyce-Tillman.

The Great Turning, a new work composed by June will be an extravaganza featuring local community choirs and schoolchildren, over 400 performers at the stunning location of Winchester Cathedral, England.

June was a fellow contributor to the Stories of the Great Turning book, edited by Peter Reason and Melanie Newman created by the inspiring VALA Co-operative publishers  (my Hollywood project is included at the start of the chapter ‘Artful Inquiry’ of artists who are responding actively and deeply to issues of sustainability). This book is based on the The Great Turning frame-work of ideas and actions created by ecophilosopher, activist and educator Joanna Macy who for many decades has supported personal and community engagement for an urgently needed new socio-ecological paradigm that has ecological concerns at its centre. 

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June was at the book launch last April that I and a few friends attended. I was astonished by many of the contributors works presented in this book but June’s skill set of connecting interfaith perspectives, music, and spirituality to ecology was breath-taking. Drawing on her love of many faiths, music and nature I wasn’t surprised to learn that she is a St. Hildegard of Bingen expert and leads the Hildegard network* (An in-depth and fascinating talk by June on St Hildegard  can be seen here

This is how June describes a previous interfaith concert she organised – that  combined interfaith worship, singing, dance, the visual arts and ecology:

“It started with a sharing on the theme of ecology. Here a great net was set up – slung between two church pillars; during the sharing children made pictures of wind, rain, pollution and trees that were pinned on to it. At the same point bundles of ribbons were attached and each person present was given one to hold to show that all the cosmos is connected through the shared environment. When the ribbons were stretched out over the heads of the assembled company it looked incredible – like a giant maypole; as the closing Shalom was sung, tears poured down people’s faces at the share beauty of the symbolism”,

June Boyce-Tillman, Stories of the Great Turning, 2013, p.175

This is a previous event June organised last year – a music composition and event she titled ‘Song of the Earth’. If you are near Winchester you might like to go The Great Turning – do let me know if you do.

June Barbara Boyce-Tillman MBE (born 1943) is a prominent UK academic specialising in music, spirituality and theology, particularly women’s role in church music. She is Professor of Applied music at the University of Winchester and was ordained as a deacon of the Church of England in 2006. Professor Boyce-Tillman read music at St Hugh’s College, OxfordOxford University, before completing a PhD at the Institute of Education. Her doctorate on the development of children’s musical creativity was widely published nationally and internationally. Her work includes research on Hildegard of Bingen and many articles on interfaith dialogue. She is the founder of the Hildegard Network. Professor Boyce-Tillman has performed one-person shows combining music and story-telling across the world and is a composer of religious music. Her compositions and recordings include The Healing of The Earth (1997) and Hildegard of Bingen – A Life Apart(1996). In March 2008, June conducted the Southern Sinfonia at the Anvil concert hall in Basingstoke, for the premier of her new piece Step Into The Picture. This was a collaboration between the University of Winchester, Southern Sinfonia and Hampshire County Council. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours. (Wikipedia)


* ‘St Hildegard of Bingen’s beliefs in the connectedness of all creation, original blessing, the power of music to connect us with God, have spoken powerfully again in our own age, partly because of the work of Matthew Fox in the area of creation spirituality. This popularity has led to the formation of the Hildegard Network for people interested in these issues’. (The Hildegard Network)

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