Saturday, 26 September 2009

Music Matters.

No sooner am I back from holiday and back at work in 'the day job' then I manage to get involved in musical events of one form or another! I've already written about the EF Missa Cantata in Howden for which I'm providing the music along with one or two other 'volunteers' [I didn't even cross their palms with silver, although it may cost me a pint or two later!]

More importantly, someone's coming to York, and it's not Pope Benedict - at least not yet anyway. I am of course, referring to the visit of the

Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux

to York Minster

Many things have been said about this, some quite controversially, as the Minster is one of two non-Catholic venues, the other being the chapel of Wormwood Scrubs Prison. There are various services and events being planned in the Minster itself, but there will be at least one musical event taking place elsewhere, as all the good time slots have been taken already. :-(

I [and a few others I hope!] will be singing 2nd Vespers for the Feast of

St Thérèse of Lisieux

at the church of St Mary, Bishophill Jnr - our regular venue for Chant Vespers & Compline.

The idea came about because a few of us want to to *something* connected to St Thérèse on her Feast Day whilst the relics are in York. We didn't think that the Ecumenical Service of thanksgiving for the Malines Conversations of 1921 to 1927 was really appropriate...

Thanks, to Fr Elias, the previous Carmelite Chaplain to the University of York, we're going to commemorate the visit with, we hope, a service that's a little bit, well, more appropriate! He very kindly copied and sent me chants from the Carmelite Office for her Feast Day, which I'm supplanting with Gregorian Chant and chant from the Use of York for the final Marian Antiphon. If you're in the York area that evening, please do come along. Our service is at 7.30pm, a little late for Vespers I know, but I've got to account for people who are at work and travelling some distance to be with us.

The following day, there is a Mass in the Zouche Chapel to which all are welcome, but I wanted to do something specifically on her Feast Day whilst the relics are in York, hence Vespers.

[I know that in the EF Calendar the Feast isn't until 3rd October, but I'm not getting into that argument here!]

Le 'Mini-Tour'

It's been almost a week now since I returned from holiday. I turned the invitation to sing for Brother Lawrence Lew's Solemn Profession into an even greater opportunity for me to get a few days away and even spend some time in France and quick visit to London before heading back to York.

I won't bore you with details, suffice to say that the week started in Oxford and ended with an Extraordinary Form Mass at the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Some of you may already know the Parish Priest. :-) If you want to experience a sung EF Mass in a normal parish setting, then I strongly recommend that you visit at least once! It was a pleasure to meet Mac again, who I hadn't seen since the Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral last year. It was also wonderful to meet so many others including Patricius, whose blog Singulare Ingenium is now well and truly bookmarked!

Between Oxford & Blackfen, I managed to spend some time in Kent, replenishing my stock of Real Cider with some excellent stuff from Badgers Hill Farm which I cannot recommend highly enough. I've been here once before and the quality is as good as ever. I also took the opportunity to do a little Channel Hopping over to France, where I visited Lille [where I sang whilst in Leeds Cathedral Choir] and brought back copious amounts of Rosé wine, which even accounting for the not so favourable exchange rate, was still a bargain due to the fact that French duty on alcohol is so much less than ours is here in the UK.... I almost ended up stranded in Belgium at one point due to misreading my French railway timetable, but that's another story!

All in all, a good trip. Photos can be seen here.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Brinkburn, 2009

I got home from Northumberland at about 5.30pm. After a 7.00am start, a round trip of 230+ miles including singing, I promptly nodded off for a few hours! The TV was on in the background, & I vaguely remember something about Slovenia scoring at Wembley..

Now awake again, but not completely refreshed [I'm going to have some more tea in a minute, which will probably keep me up half the night, but never mind!] I thought I'd post some photos taken at Brinkburn earlier today. It was, as ever, a fabulous occasion, and the music was very enthusiastically received. I'm already looking forward to next year, when we hope to sing the Tallis Mass we'd planned for this year until a shortage of Tenors this weekend made us alter our plans.

I'm having a well earned rest first thing tomorrow, & not doing anything remotely musical until Vespers @ Bishophill in the evening. I'll write more about this later, as, at the moment, it's only a trial to see how we like it.

Anyway here are some of the photos from this afternoon.

More can be found here.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Plans after Brinkburn

My apologies for not posting as often as I should. I can't believe it's over two months, since I last wrote anything here...

Anyway, first things first, the excellent Fr Brown has already written about the Brinburn Solemn High Mass here, so there's little more for me to add, other than that it should be a splendid occasion.

Afterwards, and after my holiday [which begins with a trip down to Oxford to sing for the Solemn Profession of a Dominican friend of mine whom I've known since he was a choral scholar in Leeds Cathedral Choir], there are musical plans afoot in Yorkshire. For those of you reading this whom I've already emailed, this is the same information! For everyone else here goes...

I know this will appeal to some more than others, so I crave your indulgence, if you're not too interested in Chant. I wonder how many people may be free on the 29th September [Tuesday evening]. There is to be a Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Howden at 7.30pm. We need singers for the Missa de Angelis. At the moment, Seishi [one of our most enthusiastic Schola Members] & I are singing the Propers, but more voices would of course be welcome! If there's a decent quorum, we could even try & sing the Dering Panis Angelicus again which will be sung at Brinkburn + possibly Isti Sunt Sancti also. We sang both pieces in Everingham on Michaelmas Day 2000.

On Thursday the same week 1st October, many of you will know that the relics of St Therese of Lisieux will be coming to York Minster. I'm proposing that our Schola sings 2nd Vespers that day which is her Feast Day in the New Calendar. I've been given the Carmelite Chants for the Antiphons & Hymn by a Carmelite Monk & very good friend of mine who some of you know, as he was the previous Catholic Chaplain to the University of York. It would be great though if some people could come along & sing the psalms with us. They're not difficult, as they'll be straightforward Gregorian tones which I can provide but only if I know you're coming! The venue for this will most likely be St Mary's, Bishophill Jnr, as it's most unlikely we'd get into the Minster, as all the good time slots are already taken. The time for this will most likely be 7.30 as well, which is the latest time I dare contemplate starting Vespers!

Looking beyond October, the full choir are booked to sing a memorial Requiem in Scunthorpe on 7th November and the Annual Carol Service in Bishophill on 21st December. New members will of course be very welcome, so please feel free to point interested singers [especially Tenors] in our direction!

For those intrepid souls who are free on Christmas Eve, and fancy being part of what will probably be the only Midnight Solemn High Mass of Christmas in the entire North-East of England & Yorkshire, please let me know. The drawback [for some] is that it's in North Ormesby where we sang in June! Plans are currently the Missa de Angelis again, [as well as the Propers] but if enough singers are free & want to take part, there may be a possibility of some polyphony. I'm meeting the parish priest, Fr Bill Charlton again on the 8th after the Haydn Mass for Our Lady's Birthday, so may know a little more about what else is planned for Christmas then.

Looking forward to seeing some of you this Saturday at Brinkburn, & everyone else soon!