24 April 2001

An ethereal masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach which was lost to the world in the 18th century will be sung for the first time in Queensland at a special service at The University of Queensland next week.

Dr Richard Swann will direct the University Chorale and the University Chamber Choir Concentus at the 10th anniversary Thanksgiving Service which will be celebrated at Mayne Hall at The University of Queensland's St Lucia campus on Wednesday May 2 at 5.30pm.

Dr Swann, who is lecturer in choral conducting and aural studies at UQ, said the authorship of the Bach motet Der Gerechte kommt um was of particular interest to music scholars.

"It bears an uncanny resemblence to a work by Bach's predecessor Johann Kuhnau despite a change of key and the addition of oboes and strings in a gentle and serene accompaniment," he said.

Both the Bach and Kuhnau pieces will be performed at the Thanksgiving Service, held each year to honour people who have donated their bodies for University teaching and research purposes.

The annual service, where the donors' families and friends meet with University staff and students, is a common celebration of thanks to honour the donors and their bequests.

Music will be an important part of this year's service, with the University String Ensemble led by Spiros Rantos also performing.

Organising committee chair Dr Walter Wood of the University's Anatomical Sciences Department said the Thanksgiving Service had been so successful since its establishment, the model had now been adopted by other tertiary institutions in Australia and New Zealand.

Students from biological science and health care courses take an active part in the event.

"There will be a symbolic lighting of candles as University staff and students come together in recognition and appreciation of the generous bequest made by each donor," Dr Wood said. "The service is an important step in the grieving process for relatives and friends of the donors."

"Prayers will also be said for the comfort of families, and for staff and students in the hope they will gain maximum benefit from the knowledge being offered."

Donations assist UQ students of Anatomical Sciences, the Mayne Medical School, Schools of Dentistry, Human Movement Studies and Pharmacy, and the Departments of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology and Audiology.

Dr Wood said the benefits for teaching and research extended to such groups as surgeons, nurses, beauty therapists, chiropractors, naturopaths, the Queensland Ambulance Service, the Australian Army Medical Corps and other universities.

This year, the names of the 52 men and women who were donors in 1999 have been inscribed in a special Book of Remembrance and will be read out during the service.

The interfaith service, embracing Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, will be led by the Reverend Cyril Muller. He will be supported by University chaplains, Rabbi Uri Themal, Rev Ian Howells, and Imam Moulana Abdul Quddoos.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay will give the welcoming address.

A floral bouquet will be presented to each donor's family. Service details are available at the web site: www.uq.edu.au/news/events/thanksgiving.html

For further information, contact Dr Walter Wood (telephone 3365 3387) or email: communications@mailbox.uq.edu.au.