Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Ushaw MMX

What a week! Very intense and very rewarding. There are a number of blog entries already in circulation regarding the Conference itself, notably from Fr Brown, Joseph Shaw, the Middlesbrough LMS blog and last but not least ( as I shall always refer to him from now on) the legend, Fr Wilfred Elkin! A very good selection of photos can also be seen on all these, and I'll add more to the Middlesbrough LMS Blog once I've converted all the video taken into DVD format, though this will be of inferior picture quality to the photos taken by roydosan.

Our Schola of 6 deserves special credit for coping with 15 services in 4½ days, so, a huge thank you to Louis Hurst, Nick Iannicelli, Anthony Dickinson, Christian Spence & Jeremy Boot in addition to yours truly, who not only prepared the Orders of Service, but also choir folders containing all the music and acted as Cantor for the week. That's *not* the reason why my cassock was episcopal purple, but I've explained that elsewhere, so won't go into it here!

Christian gets a special mention for conducting the three polyphonic Masses during the week, and thanks are also due here to those Rudgates & other volunteers, particularly Laurence Price, who came along on Thursday & sang the Victoria Requiem a 6, and to Antiphon, especially Paul Berry who helped organise this, who came on Friday to sing Palestrina's Missa Aeterna Christi Munera and other motets. It's the second year running that we've collaborated with Antiphon for the final Mass & it's an ambition of mine to see both Rudgate & Antiphon combine some time, perhaps at Brinkburn, subject to availability of singers.

I'm not going to forget the organist either, Robert O'Farrell, who also deserves special praise not just for his playing, but also for driving over to York on the following Sunday evening from Lincolnshire in order to play for the [now] monthly Missa Cantata!

Now, I mentioned 3 polyphonic Masses, only the latter 2 of which were public. The first of these was a private Mass in the chapel of St Charles Borromeo putting into practice an excellent idea from Louis, a very talented musician currently at the RNCM in Manchester. Consequently 3 of us sang Byrd's Mass for 3 Voices in what was a very intimate & rewarding acoustic, therefore adding an additional service to the other 15 which we were already scheduled to sing!

The week for me went by far too quickly, and more or less consisted of getting up very early & getting to bed very late and in between, singing services, rehearsing for more services, eating the splendid food prepared by the caterers and spending as much free time in the bar as possible! Before we knew it, we were processing out of the final Mass singing the Te Deum, a last minute addition into the the Order of Service that hardly anyone else knew about!

All the services were recorded, for "training purposes" you understand (one of the in-jokes of the week, another being our own 'CCTV' masquerading as a cam-corder!) So, there is a very distinct possibility of CD's & DVD's becoming available, but it's going to take me ages to go through all the recorded material. I shall post something here when it's all done.

We're hoping to to back next year & in anticipation, music is already being planned... :-)

Before then, and of much more immediate concern, there's the small matter of Gregorian Chant workshops to attend in Wakefield & Middlesbrough, and one to organise, hopefully in Birmingham. More later!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

THE Wedding!

This is a little experiment. I'm sending this from my phone to see if
it will upload to the blog as I'll have no access to a computer @

After a round trip of some 600 miles, I got back to York from Glasgow
at midnight after singing for Colin & Helen's Nuptial Mass. A lovely
couple, who I Met in Fife 2 years ago on the first St Margaret's
pilgrimage. Who can ever forget Sext on the beach(!), but I digress...

The weather was perfect, & the music wasn't bad either! For a scratch
Schola, all but one of whom I'd never met until yesterday, we
acquitted ourselves very well indeed. The church was lovely too -
definitely merits another visit next time I go to Glasgow, & it won't
be another 26 years before I do!

I would love to have stayed for the festivities after the Mass &
catching up with friends old & new + some on facebook who I finally
got to meet(!) but I had to get back to York as I still have
conference admin to sort out before setting off this evening.

Helen & Colin, in the best Russian/Ukrainian tradition, may I wish you
Many Happy Years!

On to Ushaw!

Mike Forbester

Monday, 5 April 2010

Gregorian Chant Workshop

I make no apology at all for lifting this direct from the Diocese of Middlesbrough's Newsfeed which I subscribe to via Google Reader!

Saturday May 8, 2010

9:30 am
Saturday 8th May 2010 from 9.30am to 5pm at St Alphonsus’ Catholic Church
95 Westbourne Grove, Middlesbrough, TS3 6EW
In this day-long workshop we will learn and sing some of the most beautiful chants in the repertory of Gregorian Chant, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and based around the context of a Sung Mass. We will immerse ourselves in the sound, technique and language of this ancient musical style, working toward an authentic and beautiful performance at the end of the day. We will also discover the links between Chant and Polyphony.
The music we will study in the workshop will include:
  • Mass IX (Cum Iubilo)
  • The Propers of the BVM
  • Marian Processionals
  • Gregorian Hymnody
  • Marian Polyphonic Motets
All materials (an introduction to Gregorian Chant, scores and helpful resources) are included in the cost of the day. Beginners and more advanced singers are welcome. Registration Fee: £5.00 – No Fee for Students
To register please contact us at email@saintalphonsus.org.uk or telephone (01642) 245043. Further information may be found at www.saintalphonsus.org.uk

Friday, 2 April 2010

Sacred, Beautiful & Universal

During my enforced lay-off from any service [so far] this Holy Week due to this infernal cold, I managed to watch a DVD that I'd received from the US a while ago, and never got around to looking at, until now.

It's interviews and edited highlights of the the nineteenth annual Sacred Music Colloquium, sponsored by the Church Music Association of America.

Whilst not everyone's cup of tea I suppose, it turned out to be one of the most fascinating and inspiring 56 minutes I've spent in front of the TV for ages. All I'll add here is if you're in the UK and you have ANY interest in Music & Liturgy [in either form of the Roman Rite] then you need to go here and buy one! Mine cost $30 which worked out at £20.42 including postage.

I think it's money well spent.

Go on, buy one.


And then we'll discuss the possibilities of such an event happening over here in the UK.