Wednesday, 24 October 2018

This weekend

Services this weekend which I have (more than a little) hand in. :-)

Friday 26/10/2018 7pm
Feast of SS Chad & Cedd
Evensong with the York Ordinariate Mission.
St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior, York.

Saturday 27/10/2018 10am
Ampleforth Abbey
Orthodox Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

I'm not actually singing in the choir for this. My role, as it has been for a number of years now, is to chant the Epistle in English, but to the authentic Carpatho-Rusyn chant which I learned from a Ukrainian friend of mine!

Saturday 27/10/2018 4pm.
York Ordinariate Mission.
Anticipated Mass for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity.
St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior, York.

If you're at a loose end on Saturday afternoon and want to come along and sing some decent hymns along with Merbecke Creed and chant Mass setting, you'll be made very welcome I'm sure! I've enclosed the link to the music below. :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Gregorian Chant Vespers

I was originally going to write a post about what I'd been doing since the last entry about the Pontifical Ordinariate Mass in York (quite a lot!) but as that would have taken some time to compose, I thought it could wait for a bit longer and be incorporated into a general review of the year's activities.

I shall talk about Vespers instead! As many of you know, members and friends of the Rudgates meet regularly at the oldest church in York - St Mary, Bishophill Junior to chant (usually) Compline from the Divine Office, and, more recently, from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I had been asked a few months ago, whether it was possible to chant Vespers more often, so we're going to introduce it on a trial basis for certain feasts and see how it goes. This of course will depend on the availability of the church building (we don't have exclusive access to it of course!) and singers. I may be capable of singing (and have done so) Hours of the Office by myself, but it's not really desirable. :-)

The first of these is at 7:30pm tomorrow evening, when Vespers for the Feast of the Motherhood of the BVM shall be sung, quite appropriate really, as it's St Mary's church. Do please come along if you're free!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Year so Far...

Up to now, it's been a quiet 2018 for the Rudgates with only a chant mass for the York Ordinariate Mission and a Requiem in the Extraordinary Form in Hedon. This has allowed me to sing with other excellent choirs such as St Austin's, Wakefield and the Middlesbrough Cathedral Consort (links to both on the right) and in such locations as Leeds Cathedral, Ripon Cathedral and (new to me) Norwich Catholic Cathedral. I've also managed to catch up with supporting/listening to the excellent Westland Singers, Clerkes of All Saints and the as yet unlinked Caelestis Consort who sing Evensong during term time at St Lawrence's Church in York. I shall rectify that omission soon!

For the Rudgates though, things are about to change! We have a Pontifical Mass (Ordinariate Use of the Roman Rite) coming up next month at St. Mary's Bishophill Jnr, where some of us sing Compline and which is also the home of the York Ordinariate Mission in addition to being a C of E Parish Church which also hosts the local Greek, Russian and Coptic Orthodox Communities. Talk about diversity!

What makes the service we're singing for particularly exciting, is that it is believed to be the first time *ever* that a Pontifical Mass, certainly in this Form, will be celebrated in an existing Anglican Church - so we're about to create another slice of history to go alongside the York Minster EF Mass of 2011 (believed to be the first Mass of it's type since the reign of Queen Mary Tudor) and Vespers at St. Mary's Abbey in York, where the Solemn 'York' Salve Regina, written for the monks there, was sung in situ for the first time since the Reformation!

If you're at a loose end on the 12th May at 4pm, do come along - especially if you like Tallis. :-)

Friday, 29 December 2017

Review of 2017

Since several people/organisations have done these already (some as early as the beginning of December!) I've decided that the Rudgates should have their own annual review, only 21 years after we first started! As we're not doing anything between now and the end of the year - and I'm unlikely to get involved in anything else due to recuperating from yet another cold - now is as good a time as any to look back.

On 28th January, some of the schola joined together with the excellent Clerkes of All Saints to chant 2nd Vespers (albeit prematurely) of Candlemas in All Saints' Church, North Street, York.

The following weekend (4th February) the schola visited St Mary's Church, Lastingham to sing Compline by candlelight in the crypt chapel. 

A lovely occasion which we are likely to repeat soon, having received an invitation to return! The Blacksmith's Arms, just across the road from the church is also highly recommended. :-)

In April, the Rudgates returned to North Street, again collaborating with the Clerkes to sing the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday.

On 21st May, the schola visited what for us was a brand new venue, the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Doncaster
to sing a full Gregorian Chant Mass, Proper, Ordinary and appropriate Paschaltide pieces. :-)

We then visited Markenfield Hall in July, joining forces with the wonderful St Austins's Choir from Wakefield to sing a Votive Mass in honour of St Maria Goretti. This was a very special occasion, as it was the first time that the Proper of this Mass had been sung in Europe. It had only been composed two years previously in Chicago for a Pontifical High Mass in St John Cantius' Church as no music for it had existed previously. The 6th July, St Maria's Feast Day, is normally only kept in the EF Roman Rite Ordo as a Feria or Octave Day of SS Peter & Paul.

When I knew the Rudgates were going to be singing for this, I did my homework and found out about the Chicago Mass, and asked their music department if we could use the Proper which they had composed. They very graciously emailed it to me by return, hence Markenfield became the venue for 21st Century American Gregorian Chant! St Austin's added to the occasion by singing the superlative Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd and other appropriate motets.

In addition to singing Compline by Candlelight and other services (mainly from the EF Catholic Divine Office) at our York base of St Mary's, Bishophill Junior, we have for the previous 3 years also contributed tho the Yorkshire Medieval Churches Festival which takes place in locations across (mainly North) Yorkshire throughout August.

This year was no exception, and we contributed to this by singing Roman Rite Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, followed by Dominican Rite Compline on the first Saturday of August. Later on in the month, The Rudgates premiered a liturgical performance of Michael Week's Choral Vespers, written for us and the church some years previously.

In October, St Mary's became the venue for the inaugural Mass (Divine Worship, Ordinariate Use) of the York Ordinariate Mission, which I sang on behalf of the schola. This was repeated in December for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

Also in October (a personal highlight for me) was the return of the Rudgates to sing in the stunning venue of St Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw College.
It's a place I have long-since wanted to return to after being in charge of the music for the EF Training Conferences held at Ushaw in 2009 and 2010. I didn't think we would ever get the opportunity after the seminary closed down in 2011, but thanks to it re-opening as a Visitor Centre which also holds conferences, concerts and occasional services, we were eventually able to go back!

We reprised the Roman Rite Vespers of the BVM, which went down so well that we've been invited back to sing next year as part of the 450th Anniversary Celebrations. :-)

In November, the Rudgates went to Hull to sing a Mass for the Feast of St Charles Borromeo in St Charles' Church.
A service that was billed as a City of Culture Event. We sang the Byrd 4 Mass with motets from Johan Kaspar Aiblinger, Tallis and Schubert.

Later in November, we returned to Markenfield Hall to sing for the Annual Mass to Commemorate the 'Rising of the North', an event that is held at Markenfield every year on the 20th November. You can read more about the Rising and Markenfield's place in it here.

At the beginning of December, we visited the lovely church of St Joseph the Worker in Heywood.
This is the home of the Manchester Ordinariate Mission, and we've been there a few times now, firstly to sing Evensong, and latterly to sing for the Advent Procession which is a wonderfully atmospheric candlelit service of readings, hymns and choir items sung here on the eve of Advent Sunday. December 1st next year is already on the calendar!

Finally, we returned to Bishophill, for our Traditional Service of Lessons and Carols,
something we've been doing now for well over 10 years.

We have lots to plan for next year already, so here's to 2018!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Looking forward to 2018

Our Traditional Carol service at St. Mary's this evening, is our last event this year. If you're within reasonable distance of York City Centre, do come along!

This is not a time to rest on our laurels though, as we already have three invitations for 2018, (no dates yet, but they will be announced as soon as they are known!)

A new venue for us, this is, in my opinion, the loveliest church in the northern part of the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough. We've been invited to sing for an Ordinary Form Roman Rite Latin Mass.

A return visit to sing in the lovely crypt chapel to sing Vespers and/or Compline by candlelight.

We been invited back to sing Vespers during the 450th anniversary celebrations! More details on these and other events and venues will be published when available. :-) 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Forthcoming Services

Friday 8th December, 7:30pm.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
In Conceptione Immaculata Beatæ Mariæ Virginis ~ I. classis

Solemn High Mass (with St. Austin's Choir)
Roman Rite, Extraordinary Form

Proper from the Graduale Romanum
Arcadelt: Ave Maria
Palestrina: Alma Redemptoris Mater
Victoria: Gaude Maria

Not sure what the Mass setting will be yet, but it's likely to be either Byrd 4 or Casciolini.

Goodness knows how much room there will be in the chapel once the choir, sacred Ministers and servers have taken their places, so I suggest if you want to go, get there very early!

Saturday 9th December, 9:00pm

St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior, York

Feria ~ III. classis

Compline by Candlelight
(The Rudgate Schola + friends)

Compline is being moved to Saturday evenings for the duration of Advent due to other events taking place at St Mary's and elsewhere.

Psalms {from the Psalter for the day of the week} 87; 102 (i); 102(ii)
Office Hymn: Te Lucis (third tune - Ferial)
Marian Antiphon: Alma Redemptoris Mater
 (from the Barnwell Antiphoner)

Sunday 10th December, 4:15pm

Vespers (with the Cathedral Consort)

Palestrina: Matin Responsory
William Smith: Responses (adapted for OF Vespers)
Office Hymn: Come thou long-expected Jesus
Psalmody and Canticles (from the Psalter for Advent week II)
Stanford: Magnificat in Bb
Mendelssohn: There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob


One of my favourite services of the year is the Advent Procession with lovely music built around the great O Antiphons. I'd attended the one at York Minster for a number of years (& sung the 'O's occasionally when I sang with York Cantores.)  I'd also been involved with other choirs' performances in different parts of Yorkshire.

I'm delighted that now, thanks to our friends in the Manchester Ordinariate Mission, the Rudgates now take part in one. Based at St. Joseph's Church in Heywood (between Bury & Rochdale) it is a wonderful choral candlelit service, and, for me, a highlight of my singing year! The church doesn't just have a splendid acoustic, it is also huge - large enough for a service like the Advent Procession to take place, so I hope we can return there often!

Here's a highlight (There is no Rose) from Saturday's service to whet your appetite for next year's, which will be on 1st December 2018, hopefully still in Heywood, so put the date in your diaries/calendars now!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Forthcoming Services

Friday 1st December, 9pm, 

St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior, York

Compline by Candlelight

Feria Sexta infra Hebdomadam XXIV post Octavam Pentecostes V. Novembris ~ IV. classis

Psalms (from the Psalter of the day of the week) 76i; 76ii; 85. Antiphon Voce mea

Office Hymn: Te Lucis (3rd tune)

Marian Antiphon: The York Salve Regina

Strictly speaking, as it's not a major Feast Day (not even a feast day either!) we should still be singing the simple tone Salve, but I had a request two or three weeks ago for something else as it was the last opportunity to sing/hear the Salve Regina before Advent. Indeed, it's not often you hear it in December either! Rather than sing the Solemn Salve, I've gone for the York Use + tropes - one for the congregation to listen to this time. :-)

Saturday 2nd December, 4pm. 

The Advent Procession (with the Manchester Ordinariate Mission)

A candlelit choral service, processing around the church to mark the season of Advent.

Sunday 3rd December, 5pm,

 St Austin's Church, Wakefield

Solemn Vespers for the 1st Sunday of Advent (Roman Rite, Extraordinary Form)