The hook of faith
In the mid 1990s, American band Blues Traveller released a song called ‘Hook’. It is a song that is actually intended as satire. ‘Hook’ in this instance refers to the hook of a song – a short riff, or musical phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing. The lyrics of this song actually say explicitly that the singer can say anything at all – people will hear the hook of the song and listen regardless of the message. They were right - it became a hit.
Why? Because this song sneakily used a chord progression that was already famous, beautiful and compelling. It is Pachelbel’s Canon in D but transposed to the key of A. So, when people heard the song in 1995, they heard a familiar song that they would have heard many, perhaps 100s of times.
Pachelbel’s Canon was written in the late 17th century but fell into obscurity for centuries. It was revived in 1968 (with a slower tempo) and some orchestral additions. It then found itself inspiring a number of pop songs ranging from Go West by the Village People to I Should be so Lucky by Kylie Minogue to Basket Case by Green Day. It has been used in Les Misérables, and was the backbone of Puff the Magic Dragon.
So, when Blues Traveller wanted to make a point about how we will often yearn for the loved, familiar and comfortable, they chose this song.
It connects for me to the nature and purpose of our Catholic schools.
I am currently completing enrolment interviews for next year’s Prep class. The first question I ask parents after pleasantries is ‘Why have you chosen Mary MacKillop Catholic College?’. The answers are often about the Catholic character of the College and the desire for Catholic values, teachings and expectations. It underpins the fact that, in 21st century Australia, the Catholic school is often the place where Catholic families come to find faith, and very often many return to that faith after they themselves have children.
My learning in this process is that for so many, THAT is the hook. The Catholic school today aims to speak to a wider moral direction about how we bring our students fullness of life, how we treat our neighbour and how we respect the dignity of others. We are speaking a language that is crucial, familiar, and aspirational: but also 2000 years old. We are living in a selfish, fractured and divided time, so being within the framework of those expectations is so incredibly important right now.
Thank you very much for supporting our College as we apply ourselves to that work.