The rock band, Margaret, performing in church during Easter. - UCANEWS.COM photo
NANNING, CHINA – One Chinese rock band does more than just play music to entertain. Members use their talents to bring Catholics closer to God and tell others about their faith.
The band, called “Margaret”, was formed in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Nanning, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in 2010. Its members, aged 20-26, comprise a vocalist, two guitarists, a bass guitarist, a synthesizer player and a drummer. Three of them are Catholics.
Nicholas Zhang Xiongtao, the 24-year-old Catholic vocalist, said they owe it to the parish for giving them a room for regular practice.
“Rock music has various styles, some of which carry negative connotations,” said Zhang. However, his band “hopes to influence people with our joyful and passionate music”.
With support from parish priest Fr John Baptist Tan Jingtuan, they have performed at Christmas, Easter and other Church feasts. This Easter they organised a rock concert at the church.
“Through rock music, we present a completely new image of the Church to the young workers and students, attracting them to come more frequently so that the parish can spread the Good News to them,” Zhang said.
Fr Tan said that the concert, which included other rock bands, a choir and a dance group of Indonesian students in Nanning, was a “bold breakthrough” for the parish. Many “curious” young people watched the rock performances in a church for their first time.
Zhang said creating Catholic rock music is “an arduous and long-term process.” He said the band got its inspiration from Eastern European rock music.
Thanks to Father Tan’s explanation to parishioners and the purpose of performing such music inside the church to evangelise, many have gradually accepted it. But some still have reservations.
Mr He Songhuan, 63, said the church is a strange place for a rock performance. He suggested the parish consider other ways to attract young people. - UCANEWS.COM