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!

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