Dr Maeve Louise Heaney's work at the intersection of theology and music has taken her to the Philippines for two weeks for two concerts (in the cities of Manila and Cebu) and a three-day conference on Music and Evangelisation.
Working in collaboration with local musicians and singers both concerts featured Dr Heaney's own music. The first concert was an unplugged session at the Auditorium of St Thomas University, entitled For You, For Them, which also acted as a fundraiser for a new apostolate centre in Pasig, Manila. A larger event featured music from Maeve's latest CD, Break the Crystal Frame, performed at St Theresa's Auditorium, Cebu.
The Music and Evangelisation conference brought together participants from the Philippines and Singapore. Attendees were composers and musicians interested in her work in the field of theological aesthetics as it relates to music, as well as providing a forum for her ongoing research into a contextual and hermeneutical approach to musical meaning.
As reported in Concert kicks off House of Prayer Project (Manila Times, 7 February 2015), the experience made manifest the musical sensibility and potential of the Filipino culture, and its potential to enrich Western sensibility and perhaps even theology. Despite the richness of so many aspects of our tradition, Western theology needs to recover some balance in its approach to knowledge; beauty and music are one aspect of human experience that can aid in this quest, and one that is embedded in the very fibre of Filipino culture.
"My first visit to the Philippines has been a truly enriching one," Dr Heaney reflected. " I was overwhelmed by the welcome, enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.” Together with the organisers, we are reflecting on the next steps to be taken, both in musical and theological terms, so as to develop and build on this project for the future, perhaps even extending it to the involvement of other Asian countries."