Wednesday, 3 February 2016

That was the weekend (& a bit) that was.

On Friday evening some of the Rudgates and friends came to Bishophill Jnr to sing Candlelit Compline as usual. We normally use the Roman Rite, but for the last few weeks have been trying the Dominican instead, in order to get more acquainted with it, after using (part of)  it on our very successful visit to Ireland last year.

Saturday morning saw me drive off up to Ampleforth Abbey to join other singers, principally from Ryedale, & Fr Alexander McCabe to take part in my first Byzantine Rite Liturgy of the weekend, served by a good friend of mine, Fr David Carnelly. Fortunately, I didn't have too much to do, other than chant the Epistle Reading using my own adaptation of Carpatho-Rusyn chant and provide 'stage directions' of when to sit and stand for the congregation!

One of the pleasures of being involved in these services, is the superb food and drink laid on for everyone afterwards, not just the singers. Such a meal at a restaurant or even a pub, would set you back a minimum of £25 - and it's all free! I just mention that here, so as to whet all your appetites in anticipation of the next Liturgy, which will be in October. That's plenty of time to ponder on such things. :-)

Even if the food doesn't tempt you, the music certainly should!

Sunday saw another morning drive to the Greek Orthodox Church in Leeds, where this past weekend they have been celebrating not only their Patronal Feast (The Three Hierarchs) but also the 50th Anniversary of the first Liturgy to take place in the church. A big occasion with various con-celebrating clergy from across the country. Byzantine chant in Greek and English being the music on offer, a complete contrast from the choral music of the previous day. In addition, we also had relics of the Apostle St Barnabas present, and were able to venerate them.

Here are some photos.

The Third of this trio of Byzantine Liturgies came in the Form of a Vesperal Liturgy for the eve of Candlemas which I sang for the small community of Sts Constantine & Helen in York as their usual chanter is recovering from a heart attack. Prayers for Elwin would be appreciated I'm sure. This was back in Bishophill Jnr, which, apart from being home to the C of E Parish and the Rudgates' base for rehearsals and the singing of the Divine Office, is also home to both Greek & Russian Orthodox communities (both named after SS Constantine & Helen).

Left to my own devices, I improvised (a lot!) and incorporated much of the Carpathian chant that I'd learned when singing Byzantine Greek-Catholic Liturgies at the University of York with the then Chaplain, Fr. Elias, who was bi-ritual.

Finally, to complete this liturgical marathon, I ventured out to the small (but perfectly formed) church in the tiny hamlet of Marton, near Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire & back to the Roman Rite to sing an EF Mass for Candlemas, complete with procession out into the dark night, which promptly extinguished most if not all the candles!

The Church at Marton is lovely, and has a very pleasant acoustic, so singing there is a pleasure, which I hope to repeat  with more Rudgates, whether that's with the Schola only, or the full choir. I don't have any photos from last night, but, in the best 'Blue Peter' tradition, here are some I took on a previous visit!

After all this singing, a treat was in store, in the form of a splendid meal at a Thai restaurant in Beverley!

This coming Friday, we'll be using the Dominican Rite for Compline again. If any of you are in the Greater York area, do come along. You can find us in York's oldest church, St Mary, Bishophill Junior at 9pm. It would be lovely to see you!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Plans for 2016

Happy New Year!

Several things have happened since I last wrote anything here. I never seem to have the time and/or the energy to keep up with this blog, so I'll try and do better this year. :-)

I won't go into detail, but we've been involved in many events and services including our first ever Choral Evensong (for the Manchester Ordinariate Mission) and a very successful overseas visit to Ireland and one, not so successful, but equally enjoyable visit to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy & Liechtenstein (5 countries in 7 days!)

We were delighted to receive several wonderful comments following the Carol Service last month, and are now starting to make plans for the this year.
The Carol Service in York has already been booked for 20th December, but before then, we already have a confirmed Solemn Mass at St. Joseph's Church in Gateshead, for the Solemnity of St. Joseph on 19th March.
We're also keeping 2nd July free for what promises to be a very special event for our 20th anniversary, but I don't want to spoil things by building people's hopes up on here, just in case it doesn't happen, as there's a lot of work to do, administrative and logistical, if we're going to pull it off!

Before then, members of the schola will be singing Mass for the Epiphany at the splendid church of St. Charles Borromeo in Hull tomorrow evening at 6.30. There are already 3 more services looming this month which could involve some of our singers.

Looks like it could be a busy 20th anniversary year!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Before we go on tour come and hear us here!
Your last chance to listen to us in public before the Schola visit Austria, returning to the same location in Austria which we visited 3 years ago. :-)

You'll need to past the URL into your own browser first!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Tours confirmed!

I'm delighted to say that we have not one, but two overseas tours confirmed for later this year. Both will probably only involve the schola due to limitations in numbers, but there are plans currently being discussed to take the full choir abroad in 2016 as it's our 20th Anniversary year, so watch this space..

Meanwhile, tour no. 1 is to Switzerland & Austria taking place from 12th-19th September with a return visit to Tirol. We were there 3 years ago, which was a hugely enjoyable experience, marred only by me developing a very heavy cold which prevented me from doing my fair share of the driving!

We'll be flying in/out of Zurich (top photo) so I hope we can spend a little time there before heading off east to Austria. The photo below is of the church of the Seven Sorrows in Imsterberg, where we sang last time & to which we have received a return invitation if we can fit it in!

Tour no. 2 is to the east coast of Ireland, being based in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.This will take place over the 1st weekend of October. More details will emerge as the year progresses, but we'll be singing in both the Catholic & C of I churches in the town as well as a commemorative service in the grounds of the former Dominican Priory.

Two of us are going across in March to check the locations, & finalise details of services etc. The fact that we'll be over there on St. Patrick's Day is entirely coincidental!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Byzantine Liturgy at Ampleforth Abbey. This Saturday, 24th January. 10:30am

This may be of interest to some readers who live locally. A fully choral Orthodox Liturgy celebrated at Ampleforth with the permission of the Abbot. I wrote about this last year. If nothing else, it's worth going for the food & drink provided afterwards!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Fresh Start? Hopefully!

I've been intending to post again on here for months. It just never happened due to being overtaken by other events - not all church music related. Discovering that the blog had been hacked as well hasn't helped!

Apparently, hackers can gain entry to individual blogs via 3rd party widgets and post what they like, advertising sites which I sincerely hope no visitor in the last few months followed.. Fortunately, they weren't able to take over the blog completely (which has happened to a number of others) so I've been able to delete all the rubbish and the widgets and all would appear to be well. Certainly there's been nothing new within the last few days so I'm breathing a cautious sigh of relief.

Like me, the Rudgates also seem to have been overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the activity at St. Wilfrid's church in York over the last 12 months. Since the Margaret Clitherow Pilgrimage, we've done very little other than to honour our commitments to Founders' Day at Barnard Castle, the Solemn Mass at Brinkburn and the annual Carol Service at St Mary's Bishophill Jnr.

St. W's now has a Director of Music which to me is a blessed relief, as all I have to do there now is sing (when time and health permit.) The latter hasn't been brilliant either over the last year & I'm still suffering from the after effects of a very bad cold/virus picked up just before Christmas.

I've decided that  we're going to redress the balance this year and try and do more with the Rudgates, rather than just concentrate on York - convenient though that is!

We already have invitations to sing for the Ordinariate Community in Manchester, a Mass honouring the Lincolnshire Martyrs, a Mass at Jervaulx Abbey and Vespers @ St Mary's as part of Medieval Open Churches weekend. This in addition to some of us singing for the annual EF Priest/Server training conference which this year takes place in the splendid surroundings of Prior Park College in Bath.

I'm particularly keen on going to Manchester, because we missed out last year due to being committed to singing at Brinkburn the same day. It will also give us the chance to experience something entirely different from the Roman Rite (in either Form) that most of us a familiar with, be that singing for a BCP style Eucharist (with additions for catholic use) or a full-scale choral Evensong, something the Rudgates haven't done before, not even for the C of E!

In addition to this there are potentially two foreign tours. There is a chance that the schola might be involved in commemorative events in Co. Wicklow in Ireland. We'll need more details before this can be confirmed. More likely is a return trip to the Alps & the Tyrol, this time flying in & out of Switzerland (probably Zurich.) The latter is likely to happen towards the end of September & plans are already being made. We might even get to sing in Innsbruck this time, something we couldn't do in 2012 due to an appointment with a fairly famous beer festival being held in Bavaria.. :-)

All in all, a potentially exciting year. I just want my health to improve, so that I can enjoy it!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


I've received a request to give this event some publicity, which I'm more than happy to do. One of our Schola members is going even though he doesn't fit the age criteria. He's certainly young at heart though!


Guest Speakers - John Pridmore, Fr. Gregory Person OP, Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP

There will be:-
Sung/High Masses
Marian Procession

Cottages (student style dormitory accommodation) £18 per person per night (incl. food).

Guest House (mostly single rooms - hotel style accommodation) £60 per person per night (incl. food).

Day Guests. For those wishing to come for the day on Saturday or Sunday - please bring a packed lunch. It will not be possible to provide food in the Guest Refectory for people coming for the day.

-Please note to guarantee your place this year Douai Abbey have requested that everyone books in 3 weeks before the start of the weekend i.e. 29th August 2014.

How to book

For more details, please see:-

Or use the online booking system at: