Sunday, 1 February 2009

Prayers and Practical Help needed!

The cat is well and truly out of the bag!

As has already been reported by Fr Ray Blake, the legendary Fr Z, Fr Michael Brown and also advertised in this week's Catholic Herald, the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales have made public their plans for a Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham.

Quoting from the press release...

"The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham, one of England’s most prestigious seminaries.

The conference will run from Monday 20 April to Thursday 23 April 2009 (i.e. Low Week) and will feature Traditional liturgies in Ushaw’s magnificent neo-Gothic St Cuthbert’s Chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be guest lecturers and all participants will receive 1962 Missals and altar cards.

Daily devotions will include Lauds, Vespers, Benediction and Rosary.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284) or downloaded from the LMS website,"

What's this got to do with me?

Well, I've been asked by the organiser to provide the Gregorian Chant schola and the polyphonic choir!

This is a HUGE task for one person (particularly as I'm not a professional musician) and it therefore should go without saying, that I'll need considerable help to get enough singers + organist on board to do ourselves justice.

I don't wish to compete with the excellent Schola Sainte Cecile who provided the chant at the Merton Conferences, or the polyphonic choir which, I believe, was provided by one of the Oxford Colleges, BUT I do need reasonably confident chanters for the Schola, who will need to cope with the demands of Mass & the Divine Office for the duration, and a balanced polyphonic choir to sing Byrd's Mass for 4 voices, and motets, O Quam Gloriosum, Ave Verum and Regina Caeli for the Solemn High Mass on St George's Day which will conclude the conference.

There are 12 weeks to go between now and the Opening Day. I have, at the moment, 2 singers for the Schola, and the Director of music for the polyphony. Much work needs to be done! I'm also very much aware, that this is a working week and several people who form the backbone of the current Rudgate Singers & Schola won't be able to take annual leave at that time. It is, fortunately, before the start of the University Summer Term, so I'm praying like mad that we get some musically gifted students involved!

There are two things that I'd like readers to do. Firstly, pray for it's success, as this is the most important event that we have ever been asked to be involved in, and also let me know of singers who wish to take part. We need men for the Schola for all 4 days, and at least 8 people for the polyphony on St George's Day (Thursday).

As and when I get more information, I will post it here!

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