Friday, 30 December 2011

Video Recordings

I've recently discovered how to upload full length video to YouTube and have gone through some old footage of Rudgate events past that were caught on camera.

Here are three services, one of which wasn't a Rudgate 'do' really as my involvement was only to go and sing the Chant (Fr. Elkin's Golden Jubilee Mass 21/07/2009) but uploaded and linked to here, because I know some people would like to see it.

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, St. Alphonsus' Church, North Ormesby. 27th June 2009.

Missa Cantata: The Feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. Church of the English Martyrs. York 12/02/2011.

The sound quality on these isn't great, and the video quality not that much better, but nevertheless, they now form an important part of our archives!

2012 - The story so far.

I thought people might like to see how next year is shaping up. Not all of these events will involve the whole choir of course, but at least it gives you an idea of what many of us will be doing outside of our respective day jobs and other activities, whether they be musical or not!

St Mary's, Bishophill, York
Orthodox Divine Liturgy. A group of us have been asked to enhance the chanting (with harmonies if poss) as a member of the congregation is being received.

Ampleforth Abbey
Choral Orthodox Liturgy in the Octave of the week for Christian Unity.
As mentioned in the previous post, a reprise of the wonderful service that took place in October.

29/01/12 TBC.
Greek Orthodox Church of the Three Hierarchs, Leeds
Singing Byzantine Chant in English as part of the Patronal Feast of the parish. Details yet to be confirmed.

Church of S. James the Great, Darlington
Provisional plans to visit the Ordinariate Community there.

St Mary's, Bishophill.
Come and meet the Rudgates. A loose plan which at the moment is based on the idea of an open day for people to come and sing some lovely music, followed by a service, probably Vespers (ideally choral, but could be chanted) and then what could vaguely be called 'Fellowship' either in the Tower Room or in one of the local pubs afterwards! :-)

St Wilfred's and English Martyrs' Churches.
National Pilgrimage in honour of St. Margaret Clitherow.
As this year, except that we'll definitely be in St. Wilfred's for the Mass instead of the Minster as the Bishop of Middlesbrough is presiding, preaching, and leading the procession.

25/03/12 TBC
SS Peter & Paul, New Brighton
Possibly Solemn High Mass if the church is ready in time for it's grand reopening. It might also depend on how many Rudgates would want to be involved in another very high profile event, the day after the St. Margaret Pilgrimage and 100+ miles away.

St Hilda's Church, Cross Green, Leeds
May Devotions. Vespers and Benediction.

York Minster
A Charity Concert in aid of Homestart. As many of you know, we've never done a concert, but this is for a good cause, and good publicity too. The format is several choirs perform one piece, then all sing one or two specially composed pieces at the end. Simple, effective, and all for charity.

Ampleforth Abbey
Choral Orthodox Vespers as part of the Ryedale Festival. Not sure yet whether this will be a 'concert' setting or actual Vespers!

21/07/12? TBC
St Mary's Church, Barnard Castle
The Annual Founders' Day Requiem

08/09/12 TBC
Brinkburn Priory
The Annual Solemn High Mass

27/09/12 - 04/10/12
Schola trip to Austria & Bavaria!
Details still to be worked on, but will involve singing the Office and ideally, one or two Masses. If all proceeds smoothly, it could be the precursor to a full-blown choral tour. :-)

27/10/12 TBC
Ampleforth Abbey
Choral Orthodox Divine Liturgy

St Mary's Bishophill, York
Carols by Candlelight.

Obviously, some of these dates are a bit sketchy, and may, or may not , involve all of us. In addition to all of the above though, Compline by candlelight resumes at St. Mary's on 7th January, and will be sung on most Saturdays throughout the year at 9pm. Sunday Vespers is also resuming, but only twice a month at best, usually on 1st and 3rd Sundays. Full details will be posted to our calendar which you can access any time either by visiting our website, or just by following the link on the right of this page. You may have to scroll down a bit first though!

It may be a tad early, but when it comes, may I wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful New Year! And do come to some of our services. :-)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Our 15th Anniversary year - a review

I don't normally indulge in such things, but 2011 was, in more ways than one, a very special year for the Rudgates. It started off fairly quietly, with a handful of us going up to sing at Ampleforth Abbey for the choral Orthodox Liturgy celebrated there each year on the Saturday during the Octave for Christian Unity. A splendid occasion, followed by an equally splendid lunch! We're going to be liaising with Ampleforth more often in the coming 12 months, as we start getting more involved with the Byzantine Rite. More of that in a later post ...

The beginning of February saw the Rudgates reduced to one - me - for 2nd Vespers of Candlemas which despite the reduced numbers(!) went without a hitch, if not entirely flawless, as I improvised somewhat during the first psalm. :-) Huge thanks are due to the Anglican congregation of St Mary's Bishophill in York (where we normally chant Compline & occasional Vespers) for giving up their own regular Wednesday evening Eucharist in favour of Latin Catholic Vespers!

The 12th Feb heralded our first fully choral event of the year, a Missa Cantata tagged onto the end of a Server Training Day for those who wish to serve Mass in the  Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (EF). This took place at English Martyrs' Church, York, where we sang a Mass by a modern German composer (Christoph Dalitz) with motets by Mozart. It was difficult to tell the difference, despite a difference in composition of approximately 200 years ... :-)

March brought the undoubted highlight of our year and, I dare say, we're probably not alone in this! A truly historic, momentous and, for many, a very emotional event. This was, of course, the EF Missa Cantata celebrated in York Minster. Before we get to the day itself, I'm going to take you back to the previous summer where three people were sitting round a table in the Punch Bowl pub on Blossom Street in York discussing St. Margaret Clitherow and a potential EF pilgrimage to York. (St. Margaret being one of the patrons of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales.) It was discovered, fortuitously, that her Feast Day in the Ordinary Form (OF) Calendar - 26th March - was, in 2011, on a Saturday. That set the ball rolling Needless to say there were many obstacles to overcome before the day itself. Planning a major EF Mass for a saint who doesn't *actually* appear in the EF Ordo (she was canonised in 1970) being the first. This was taken care of by the use of a Votive Mass in her honour; as the event was going to be a major EF national pilgrimage, we felt we could get away with this, and did. :-)

The original venue for the Mass, was, we hoped, going to be St. Wilfred's Church, in York City Centre, opposite the Minster, followed by a procession via the Shambles & Ouse Bridge, to the Bar Convent, where the relic of St. Margaret is kept, (her hand) concluding with Benediction and veneration of the relic. In the event, St Wilfred's turned out to be 'unavailable' and the convent chapel was eventually replaced by English Martyrs' Church on Dalton Terrace purely for practical reasons - size and availability of car parking. So, we were left with trying to find a venue for the Mass. It was at this point, sometime back in late Oct/early Nov  2010 that Fr. Stephen Maughan, then based at English Martyrs, thought of asking about the availability of the Minster, on the grounds that if you don't ask, you don't get, so we asked, and we got! This was helped considerably by the fact that Fr. Stephen got on very well with the Minster clergy & staff during his time in York, as indeed do some of the Rudgates. :-)

The help we subsequently got from the Minster authorities was immense, despite this being an additional event on top of their other services, events and concerts that they already had planned around this time, and those of us involved at the sharp end of organising the pilgrimage, cannot praise and thank them highly enough for this.

The venues now having been secured, all that was left from the Rudgate viewpoint, was to organise both services (Mass & Benediction) and get the singers to do justice to both. The order of service put together by my sister, aided, abetted and edited by me, had several draft editions before we decided that it was fit for public use. :-) The choir, besides the core element from Greater York, W Yorks and Altrincham/Warrington had extra recruits (some who had sung with us before anyway) from Cheshire, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Oxford & London. We were also helped by the Minster Organist, David Pipe, who played superbly before, during and after the Mass. I don't know how Fr. Stephen persuaded him to give up his time, but I'm delighted that he did! The tenors coped superbly, considering that there were originally 7 which for various reasons, was gradually reduced to 3, not easy when you're singing Byrd 5 with split tenor part, so I think Laurence Price, Simon Crouch and especially Alan Hardwick (a bass who volunteered to sing tenor) deserve crediting individually.

 It's worth mentioning the Schola too at this point. I had indicated that I wanted at least 10 singers (we ended up with 12) to have any chance of doing justice to the Proper of the Mass in the huge Minster acoustic. For weeks before, I had gone to services in the Quire, wondering where the best place was for the Schola to sing from, as to sing 'in situ' in the choir stalls would have resulted in a complete mess - there are only a handful of us who've sung there before and know exactly what it's like to sing quite some distance apart from your opposite number on the other side of the choir stalls. In the end I decided on the 'Ushaw' formation of bringing the Schola out into the middle and singing as one unit. This meant drawing up a plan of who was to  sing from what position in the Quire and their place in the procession so that the Schola members could move with the minimum of fuss at the right time as some singers were polyphony only, some chant only and some both. It was like planning a military operation! We also had to factor in at this point, the movement of two of the altos to sing Sop II for one of the polyphonic pieces (Byrd's Iustorum Animae). Needless to say, the best laid plans almost came to a disastrous end, when due to the sheer numbers of people ( a gross under-estimation from the organisers) extra chairs were brought out and placed exactly where we had rehearsed the chant moments earlier - this was with less than 10 minutes before the start of the Mass! I then had to dash back into the Quire and inform those who were seated there that for some parts of the service they  wouldn't be able to see as the Schola would be directly in front of them thus impeding their view of the High Altar. The number of times I had to tell people that the spaces in the choir stalls were actually *for the choir* was also beyond belief ...

The Mass itself was a huge success. Original estimates of 400 people turned out to be very wrong as approximately 800 came. The Quire was full to overflowing, literally, as there was a huge overspill into the Nave. I can't say anything about the procession, as I had to drive from the Minster to English Martyrs' with several cassocks & other bits and pieces in order to be in place in time for the second part of the day, Benediction & Veneration. The one and (so far) only time I have ever driven whilst wearing a cassock! What took the edge of an otherwise brilliant day were some of the shoddy, dare I say, ignorant remarks that appeared in the blogosphere and some local and national Catholic papers afterwards. For example whilst the Dean of York had been present in the Minster that morning to be interviewed and also to do some other recording for the BBC, it was the Chancellor & Precentor who were present for the actual Mass, and how marvellous it was to see them there. The Mass too, more than once, was erroneously described as the first Catholic Mass to take place in the Minster since the Reformation. Utter nonsense! It was believed to be the first Mass (rightly or wrongly) in either Form of the Roman Rite to take place at the High Altar since the reign of Queen Mary I, that's something quite different altogether, but give some people an inch and they'll take 10 miles it seems ...

The rest of the year seemed like a huge anti-climax after that, but nevertheless, we were still very busy! In April, two of us chanted the services for the Easter Triduum at the University Chaplaincy in Leeds, and in Easter Week itself - the day after THE Wedding, the choir went down to Stow Minster in Lincolnshire for a Solemn Sung Eucharist, the first choral C of E service we've done for ages. It was nice to see old friends Allan Barton & Adrian Furse too, now both Anglican priests, they have both previously sung with the Rudgates.

June came, and on the 18th, we all went to Scarborough to celebrate our 15th Anniversary! The venue was St. Joseph's church, where we had sung once before, several years ago, and picked this time, because it doesn't just have a very good acoustic, but also has a very spacious choir gallery and we had a larger than usual choir for the Anniversary Mass. The Mass setting was Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli as this was the very first Mass we ever sang, way back in 1996 in Scarthingwell. Grateful thanks are due to Fr. Michael Sellars for letting us use the church, and to Martin Richardson, the organist and choir director at St Joseph's for all the arrangements on the day.

In July, we did something slightly different. We organised a Gregorian Chant Workshop! Held at St Mary's, Bishophill, where some of us regularly chant Compline and Vespers, the event was a success despite myself and the tutor, Mark Burghagen, having massive colds! Later in the month,  we sang for the annual Founders' Day Requiem held at St Mary's, Barnard Castle in memory of John and Josephine Bowes (the founders of the Bowes Museum - hence the title). For the last 7 years, we'd only sung the Gregorian Chant Requiem here, but this year finally introduced some polyphony in the form of Victoria à 4. Hopefully next year, we'll sing another polyphonic Mass setting.

In September, we returned to Brinkburn Priory up in Northumberland, our favourite location for the Annual Solemn High Mass which takes place there. We just about scraped through this time, due to having some very timid sopranos. We do need more, so if you're a Soprano, love singing, and like what we do, please get in touch!

A slight diversion later in September was singing in Oxford for the Ordination to the Priesthood of a good friend who many (if not most) of you reading this will know as fr. Lawrence Lew OP. Fr. Lawrence (or Paul) was one of the first choral scholars in Leeds Cathedral Choir, so I've known him a long time. He also had sung with the Rudgates, and as such is most definitely worthy of inclusion here. :-)

In October, several of us joined forces with other singers and choirs to sing another Choral Orthodox Liturgy at Ampleforth. We had originally planned on singing one ourselves, provisionally at St Mary's in November, which, besides being our base for Compline & Vespers, and having its own services of course, is also home to the Orthodox Community of Sts Constantine and Helen in York. However, I'd already been collaborating with Fr. Alexander at Ampleforth on other musical matters, and since this Liturgy was taking place anyway at the end of October, already involving one or two of us, it just seemed to make sense to put aside our plans for a totally separate service and take part in this Liturgy instead. It was a truly wonderful experience, featuring music sung in English, by Arkhangelsky, Chesnokov, Rachmaninov and Kastalsky, as well as traditional Slavonic chants. This Liturgy is to be  repeated on 21st January at Ampleforth, so if you're in the area and free, do go!

November came and in lieu of singing our own Liturgy, some of us sang Vespers of the Dead on Armistice Day (Remembrance Day) in memory of all those who died in the two World Wars and other conflicts. This is probably the shortest service we've ever sung, lasting some 15-20 minutes. I notice that next year, Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday coincide, so there may be some scope for a more elaborate service.

This brings me to December and our now Annual Carol Service at St Mary's. This year, for the first time, I managed to get all the Great 'O' Antiphons in, something I've been wanting to do for years! As for the rest, with music including Tavener's The Lamb, Byrd - Puer Natus, Victoria - O Magnum Mysterium and even a bit of Martin Luther in the form of Hassler's arrangement of 'Vom Himmel Hoch' it proved to be another resounding success. We also sang 'Silent Night' for the first time ever! It's only taken 11 Rudgate Carol Services before we finally got round to including it. Next year, it's going to be a congregational hymn - in German. :-)

As you can see, it's been a very busy year for us. Plans are already in place for the next 12 months which will be revealed shortly ...!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Remembrance Day. 11th November


Remembrance Day. Friday 11th November, 2011. 7pm.

Vespers of the Faithful Departed.
In commemoration of all those who gave their lives in the two World Wars and other conflicts.

Gregorian Chant sung by The Schola of the RUDGATE SINGERS.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Services/Events for October

Saturday 01/10/2011 9pm. Compline by Candlelight.

Sunday   02/10/2011 6.30pm. Vespers for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost.

FRIDAY   07/10/2011 7pm. BVM of the Rosary. Vespers.

Saturday 08/10/2011 9pm. Compline by Candlelight.

Sunday   09/10/2011 6.30pm. Vespers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost.

Saturday 15/10/2011 9pm. Compline by Candlelight.

Sunday   16/10/2011 6.30pm. Vespers for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost.

Saturday 22/10/2011 9pm. Compline by Candlelight.

Sunday   23/10/2011 6.30pm. Vespers for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.

Saturday 29/10/2011 10am. Orthodox Divine Liturgy at Ampleforth Abbey. For more details see our website!

Sunday   30/10/2011 6.30pm. Vespers for the Feast of OLJC the King, followed by Compline.

All services other than the Ampleforth Liturgy take place at the Church of St. Mary, Bishophill Junior York YO1 6EN.

In addition to all of the above, I'm resuming my vary rarely performed part-time role as concert promoter. It's usually been for choirs, but this time, it's for an extraordinarily talented musician, Dmytro Hub'yak from Ternopil, in Ukraine.

Dmytro is a brilliant bandurist (& singer) and is coming to perform in the UK for the very first time, having previously made tours of France, Germany, Poland & the USA. I had a small hand in making sure his visa application was successful!

He is appearing in York at St Mary's on two nights, 20th & 21st October. Admission is £9 (£6 Concessions). Do come if you are able to. It will be well worth it!

Further details are below.


Concert details:


(There are also links to several others)

Monday, 29 August 2011

Services/Events for September

Saturday 03/09: 11:00am to 3:00pm (approx), Church of Our Lady, Acomb, York
Rehearsal for Brinkburn Mass

Sunday 04/09 6:30pm - St Mary's Bishophill Junior, York
Vespers for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost

Saturday 10/09. 12:00pm Brinkburn Priory, Northumberland.
The Annual Solemn High Mass
Saturday 10/09: 9:00pm - St Mary's Bishophill Junior, York
Compline by Candlelight

Sunday 11/09. 6:30pm - St Mary's Bishophill Junior
Vespers for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Saturday 24/09. 9:00pm - St Mary's Bishophill Junior
Compline by Candlelight

Sunday 25/09. 6:30pm - St Mary's Bishophill Junior
Vespers for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Note: NO SERVICES the weekend of 17/18th September, as I shall be down in Oxford singing for the Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of fr. Lawrence Lew OP.

Sunday Vespers

Coming soon, to a church near you (if you're in/near York) :-)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Compline during the summer

Having ignored the regular dates for Compline in the last posting, I thought I'd let you know when it's being sung publicly for the remainder of July & August. This doesn't stop anyone of course from reciting it (or indeed any part of the Divine Office) privately. :-)

So, Compline, open to the public, at the church of St. Mary, Bishophill Junior is as follows until September.

23rd July
30th July
20th August
27th August

All scheduled to start at 9pm. The 30th July may be a little later, depending on what time I arrive back in York from the Sunderland International Air Show!

The Advantages of Being Ill...

Ok,  I really can't think of many, but during my latest enforced period of rest caused by a very nasty respiratory infection - not chest infection as first thought, (though those people who've heard me over the last few days would be hard-pressed to tell the difference) - I've had time to update this blog with something other than the latest dates for Compline.

The 15th Anniversary Mass was a huge success, despite only having the full choir available on the morning. It gets incredibly frustrating when organising rehearsals in advance to find that half the choir don't turn up at the allotted time... It's fair enough when people let us know that they can't be at a rehearsal in good time, but to not turn up at all without any reason is very poor, especially when others have driven considerable distances to be there. Mini-rant over, but I do have one other minor pet peeve. This was a Festive Mass, with music to match, and all we got at the end was the Ferial Ite Missa Est - those that have heard it, know the one I mean. I do wish Fr. Stephen would learn some of the others as they're really not difficult at all! Back to the Mass which went almost without a hitch, the only minor blemish was me starting the Offertory Proper off too high. I've listened to it since though and it doesn't sound half as bad as I feared... We also received the following accolade from an Anglican member of the congregation who remarked "our services are usually so much better than yours, but that was very good and I really enjoyed it!"

The following day saw a really truncated Sung EF Mass in York, Rossini Propers (yes, Mulier Fortis & Leutgeb, I'm not afraid to use them every now & then!) with Missa de Angelis + Credo III - President of Una Voce International please note! ;-) We we officially told at this Mass that Fr. Stephen is leaving York to become a parish priest in the north-east of the Diocese. Good for him, but a loss for us, as he's a rare breed, a priest who has an exceptionally good singing voice. He'd tipped me off the week before up in Darlington with a not-so-subtle hint that me 'might' be moving, so the news was no surprise to me! We'd both visited the Anglo-Catholic church of S. James the Great, he to preach, and me to witness what is essentially one of the best Ordinary Form Liturgies (The parish effectively use the Roman Rite taken straight out of the 1970 Missal) in North/North-East England. Couple this with some great music sung by a super choir with fine congregational hymns, and you have a sublime experience. If only the Ordinary Form could be like this in other parts of the country! I have only one minor quibble, and that would be to get the Celebrant to use the High Altar and celebrate ad orientem, but that's just my personal preference. :-) The Parish Festive Lunch (it being Pentecost) was excellent as well, prepared by catering students at nearby Darlington College.

Back to Rudgate news. Last Saturday saw our first Gregorian Chant Workshop at St. Mary's Bishophill. Although we had 20 initially registering, we ended up with 13, which is still a good number as I'd have been delighted with 10! The workshop was led by Mark Burghagen with a little assistance from me as we went on. Poor Mark was also full of cold, so to everyone who did come along, Thank you for putting up with Mark's sniffles and me coughing and wheezing my way through the afternoon! We hope to run another one in October.

Looking further ahead to the remainder of the year, we have the Annual Founders' Day Requiem at Barnard Castle a week on Saturday. I hope I'm fit enough to sing for that, as I've  already missed out on the chance to sing at Markenfield Hall this week, and it's looking more than likely that I'll miss out on the launch of the Heritage Singers' latest CD tomorrow evening which I was really looking forward to too. :-( I've been hoping to meet them for some time as they perform a very similar service to Rudgate albeit it seems exclusively C of E liturgies. We're much more ecumenical! ;-) I have already met their Director, who is now a friend - not just on Facebook! - but it would have been a good opportunity to meet the rest of the choir as well. Oh well... One of these days when our dates don't clash, I may be able to get along to one of their services. Check them out on YouTube, they're really worth listening too.

Later in the year, in September, by which time this infection should have well and truly gone, we hope to return to Brinkburn for the Solemn High Mass there. The following week, I'll be in Oxford singing for the Priestly Ordination of a friend of mine, who has since achieved world-wide cyberspace fame as a photo-blogging Dominican! I can claim to know him before he was famous... ;-) What I'm really looking forward too, is being directed by James MacMillan, who is coming not only because he also knows fr Lawrence, but has written a piece of music for the occasion & is coming (from Berlin I believe) to direct the piece himself. There are other choral goodies in the Ordination music which I'm really looking forward to.

October, apart from hopefully organising our 2nd Chant Workshop of the year, sees me reprise the role of Concert Promoter for Eastern-European Talent, something last done nearly 20 years ago. This time it's not a choir I'm promoting, but an exceptionally talented Ukrainian artist by the name of Dmytro Hub'yak (pronounced 'Hoobyak') He is a bandura player whose ability has been recognised by the Ukrainian nation who have given him the honour of 'Merited Artiste of Ukraine' and he's not even 30 yet! I've already got him one booking in York and am looking at other venues in Yorkshire whilst my contact in Ukraine (who's ex-pat half Brit/half Uke) is looking at Ukrainian clubs in the Midlands so that we can try and make this a viable tour. It goes without saying that if you know of any venue that would like to host such a remarkable young man, then do please get in touch. :-)

Also in October sees the return of the choral Orthodox Liturgies at Ampleforth. Vespers on 28th and Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on Sat 29th. A remarkable venture as you have Orthodox Liturgy in Catholic Abbey directed by one of its monks, sung by a choir largely of Anglicans. More singers, of any denomination or none will be be made very welcome! This leads me to the next major Rudgate choral event after Brinkburn, when we hope to sing yet another Orthodox Liturgy to the setting composed by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov. I've painstakingly transliterated this from the public domain edition written in Cyrillic text only, which is just as well, as I discovered errors in the original text. All we need now, are enough singers to make it a viable proposition for some time in November. A Choral Byzantine-Rite Liturgy was one of the services I wanted us to do in our Anniversary Year, so all you singers out there, whether you've sung with us already or not, if you're interested, do please get in touch, either by commenting here or via the link to our website. The venue will most likely be Bishophill Jnr, as will the Carol Service in December. Better start planning for that then, as before you know it, December will be upon us...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

For those who need to know...

We're NOT singing Compline at all next weekend due to me escaping to London for the Bank Holiday Weekend.

However, we *are* planning a Gregorian Chant Workshop scheduled for the 9th July. More details will be released later!

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Rudgate Singers' 15th Anniversary Mass

Many of you will, I'm, sure, have heard of us. Some no doubt, will have heard us sing at various services that have taken place in the North of England over the last few years. What you may not know, is that the idea to form the choir originated in prison! I used to work for the Prison Service, and a chance conversation with one of the Catholic Chaplains where I worked (Fr. Richard Aladics) led to the first Rudgate Service which took place in the beautiful catholic church in Scarthingwell, back in June 1996, where amongst other pieces, we sang the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina.

What we believed would be a one-off occasion (or annual at best) clearly didn't turn out to be the case, and we now approach our 15th Anniversary!

The 15th anniversary Mass will take place at St. Joseph's Church, Newby, Scarborough (YO12 6HT if you have satnav) on 18th June, 2011 at 3pm, and will, once again include the Missa Papae Marcelli. Other music is as follows:

Aichinger: Factus est repente
Tallis: Loquebantur variis linguis
Lotti: Regina Caeli

as well as the full Chant Proper of the Mass of Whit Saturday from the Graduale Romanum.

Fr. Stephen Maughan, who celebrated the historic Mass in York Minster earlier this year, has kindly agreed to be the Celebrant, for what we hope will be another special occasion.

Please do put the date in your diaries.

Compline by Candlelight during May

Saturday 7th May

Saturday 14th May

Saturday 21st May

All at the church of St. Mary, Bishophill Junior, York (York's oldest church), commencing at 9pm.

Young Catholic Adults National Weekend

This is a little late, so you may have already read it elsewhere. My excuse is that I succumbed to an extremely nasty cold just after Easter & haven't felt like doing much else since, apart from the Stow Minster Service.

Anyway, late or not, I'm more than happy to promote this here, although I'm a little on the old side, unless it applies to youths of all ages. ;-)


During the weekend of the 9-11 September 2011 Young Catholic Adults will be running a weekend at Douai Abbey, it will be led by Juventutem Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr de Malleray . The weekend will be full-board.

* YCA will have half of the retreat centre to itself

* There will be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung Mass, Low Mass, Confession and socials

* Fr. de Malleray FSSP head of Juventutem will preach the retreat, Masses will be in the Extraordinary form

Prices range from £5 to £51 per person per night . There are 3 options


Friday , registration from 4pm, to Sunday 11th September (full board)* or

Arrive Saturday morning till Sunday or day only

51 pounds full-board PER PERSON PER NIGHT

25 pounds for students/low waged/unwaged (or whatever you can afford) PER PERSON PER NIGHT


£35 PER PERSON PER NIGHT (full board). Self catering £25 per person per night (reductions for students:- or whatever you can afford) .


£5 PER PERSON PER NIGHT (or whatever you can afford - please bring your own tent and food ).

If you would like lunch on Sunday 11th then it will be an extra £7 each.

How to book - limited places so please reserve your place early

To reserve your place FOR THE WEEKEND (no deposit needed if you are coming for the day on Saturday), please contact the Guestmaster direct and send a 20 pound deposit (NON RETURNABLE) to Brother Christopher Greener OSB, Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, Reading, Berks. RG7 5TQ (please make any cheques payable to Douai Abbey). Please mention how long you wish to stay and any special diet.

For general enquiries about the weekend:- or any queries about the accommodation/location/lifts required please ring Damian Barker on 07908105787 or 01452 539503.

For photographs of previous Douai Retreats please see:-

Monday, 28 March 2011

Compline by Candlelight during April.

Friday 1st
Saturday 2nd
Friday 8th
Saturday 9th
Friday 15th
Saturday 16th
Saturday 30th

All at the later time of 9.30pm

St. Mary's Bishophill Junior,York

All welcome!

Who would ever have believed?.....

Picture the scene if you can. A group of people, priests and laymen, discussing the dream of having an EF Mass in York Minster, and dismissing it as fantasy! This was at Ushaw during the Training Conference in April 2010.

Fast forward a few months to 3 people in a York pub one Sunday evening after Mass, discussing the possibility of doing something in honour of St. Margaret Clitherow.

Amazingly, within a year of having dismissed such talk as sheer speculative fantasy, this is what you get!

Photos of the Extraordinary Form Mass in York Minster


Photos from Mass at the High Altar of York Minster


LMS Pilgrimage to York: report and pictures 


LMS Pilgrimage to York: more photos

York Minster Mass


 TLM in York Minster


Follow up: TLM at Tork for St. Margaret Clitherow

EF Mass in York Minster

Missa Cantata in York Minster


A memorable and solemn occasion


Shining Pearl of York


There's also a report from the local paper here.


Sets of photos are already making their way onto Flickr.


You can see some here, and here!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sing Compline for Lent.... or anytime.

I'm not going to apologise for pointing you in the direction of this excellent post by Jeffrey Tucker of the Chant Café blog network. Go and read it, and then put it into practise!

Jeffrey's post refers to the Ordinary Form in the Latin Rite. We at Rudgate use the Extraordinary Form (it keeps my running costs down, as I don't have to buy copyrighted material, rather just download it freely!)

Whatever form it's offered in, it is a tremendous spiritual offering, and one I wholeheartedly encourage you to take up, be it by yourself, or in a small group - in your own home, or local/parish church. In our case, the use of the oldest church in York (Anglican) for a Latin Catholic service has been mentioned before, and everybody is welcome to come to Bishophill Jnr. Details will be posted here each month from now on. We usually meet on Saturdays, but occasionally this gets moved to Sunday evenings due to other events/services/concerts etc that take place. This is York after all!

Besides ourselves, I've noticed locally that Compline in Lent is being advertised at Holy Trinity Church, Micklegate as Ecumenical Prayer in Lent. on 15th March & 5th April. starting at 7pm to rehearse, with a small break for refreshments, before singing Compline itself. I've no idea what format this will be in, but guess it will be similar to this. This form of Compline is also chanted by the excellent Ebor Singers during Lent at York Minster on Thursdays at 9pm, usually with added polyphony.

If you want to come to ours though, we'll be delighted to see you!

The current schedule is:

Saturday 26th February
Saturday 5th March
Sunday 13th March
Sunday 20th March
Saturday 26th March

All times 9pm at the Church of St. Mary, Bishophill Junior, York YO1 6EN

I almost forgot to mention. This is *entirely* by candlelight. We do provide everyone with their own candle though!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Year So Far...

Early in January, I relocated work-wise from Selby to the outskirts of York. This couldn't have come soon enough, as I was beginning to get worn down by the constant commuting to work more or less anywhere else *but* York, so it's a blessed relief to travel only 8 miles a day instead of over 40!

Things appear to have been rather quiet on the Rudgate/musical front, but I can assure you that is most definitely *not* the case. :-) A quick resumé follows:

In January 3 of us ventured up to Ampleforth Abbey to take part in an Orthodox Liturgy within the Octave of Christian Unity. A splendid occasion. What is rather unique about this set-up is that the Liturgy is Orthodox (not Byzantine-Catholic), taking place in a Catholic monastery, and the choir, directed by one of the monks, appears to be mainly Anglican.

It's the second one I've been involved in - the first as a singer. There was one back in October which I went to and ended up being official photographer as no-one else had a camera!

Here are some photos of that Liturgy, so you can see what I'm on about..


The rest can be seen here.

I've been in touch with the Director (Fr Alexander) since then, as there are plans for a collaboration with Rudgate to sing Vespers and another Liturgy later this year, towards the end of October.

On the Latin Rite front, we only seem to be involved in EF Masses at the moment as well as Compline (which I'll touch on in a separate post). I'm not complaining of course, as I think that the EF gives us a much better opportunity to present Sacred music in it's proper context than the OF. That said, we would never turn down an offer to go and sing an OF Mass, it's just that those invitations are very few and far between. I think the last one I was involved in as a singer was back in May. 

We've actually sung two Chant Masses so far this year and one with the added bonus of some polyphony, all of which were sung at English Martyrs' in York The latter included some motets by Mozart and a Mass composed by Christoph Dalitz as recently as 1989 which is very Mozartian in style and very singable. If you've never heard of him before, than take a look here. I think you'll find his music very appealing.

Most of the work this year though has been behind the scenes, hence the lack of activity here. We are actively involved in planning for what is believed to be only the second EF Mass in York Minster since the Reformation! (If somebody could tell me when the first was, I'd be delighted to know, because I can't think of any!) 

The Mass itself is in honour of St Margaret Clitherow, and is part of a National Pilgrimage organised by the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales and we're expecting in the region of 500 people descending on York on 26th March. I've already heard of coaches from London, Birmingham, Oxford Allerton Bywater [nr Leeds] and a minibus from Newark & that's before you start adding people from the north of England! Following the Mass, there's a procession going via the shrine in the shambles and past Ouse Bridge, near the site of her execution, ending at English Martys, where we'll be singing for Benediction, during which the relic of St. Margaret will be venerated. It's a huge task & by far the biggest service we've ever done. We have a choir of 25 singing Byrd's Mass for 5 voices + Byrd motets and a Gregorian Chant Schola Cantorum of 14, possibly 15. Spare a thought for those of us singing both - it's going to be very hard work! If you think we're overdoing it with the schola, think again, the sheer size of the building requires a good solid sound. We can't get away with just 2 or 3 here you know... ;-)

Between my sister, myself and the ever helpful Columba Aspexit, we've come up with a souvenir booklet and poster (see below). Both of these have gone through so many versions/editions it feels like we've been beta testing new software releases! The final product though has been well worth the effort.

The booklet has yet to go to press, but rest assured, if you come to York next month, it will be available at the Minster! Do come along if you can, as it promises to be a momentous occasion. 

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Christmas comes but twice a year...

Yesterday, I braved the elements, & the HGV's, and drove across the Pennines to Oldham to visit the Ukrainian Catholic Church of SS Peter, Paul & All Saints, where I have made many friends for Christmas Day. (According to the Julian Calendar). Indeed, Stefan, who I first met well over 20 years ago, is not only the cantor, but also doubles up as church Secretary, caretaker & anything else you might care to mention!

Here are some photos.

More can be seen here, though you'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Welcome to Rudgate's XVth year!

It's still only early January, and yet we already have a very full schedule of services outlined for the year. Some may not happen of course and as I'm not into the clairvoyance business, I'm not going to make any rash predictions, so this is potentially what we've got to look forward to. Not bad considering we only got a group of singers 15  years ago, for what was expected to be a one-off, or at best, annual occasion. :-) Some of these involve the whole choir, some just the Schola Cantorum & others just individuals joining with others.

22nd January [week of prayer for Christian Unity]

Ampleforth Abbey
Orthodox Divine Liturgy - in English (Directed by Fr. Alexander McCabe OSB.)
Slavonic composers
Individual singers needed.
I actually heard the group who sang for a Liturgy back in October, and was rather impressed, but I've been told that experienced singers of all voices would be very helpful, particularly for this Liturgy in January as they want to pull out all the stops so to speak for Christian Unity Week.
They serve an excellent lunch afterwards!
2nd February [Wednesday evening]
Candlemass 2nd Vespers.
St Mary, Bishophill Junior, York
Likely to be Schola only as many people rehearse on Wednesdays with other choirs.
12th February. (National Event No.1)
English Martyrs' York 4pm.

Sung Mass at the conclusion of a Nationally organized training day for servers in the EF.
26th March (National Event No.2!)
YORK MINSTER/Bar Convent Chapel. Now confirmed!
 Missa Cantata for the Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow. 1.30pm
This is going to be as part of a National Pilgrimage to York in her honour. The plan is for Mass, followed by a  procession to her shrine at the Shambles, and then later in the day, 4pm I believe, going to the Convent chapel for Veneration of her relic & Benediction.

We would need a full choir for the Mass, but could cope with chant only for Benediction, though it would be nice if we had a quorum to sing a little polyphony here as well.
Music: Byrd 5, Iustorum Animae, Ave Verum & Ave Regina Caelorum. + chant proper from the Mass of Martyr Not A Virgin. (Didn't realise such a Proper existed, so I'm glad I looked it up! I was originally going to choose one from the Common of Martyrs - you learn something new every day!)
I've had a look at the side chapels, and there are one or two that could be suitable, depending on numbers of pilgrims, but I suspect a lot of people will come to this, & we may well end up in the Nave - so we'll need to be prepared!
30th April
Stow Minster, Lincolnshire 12.PM

Confirmed invitation for the Full choir, to sing a Sung Eucharist - votive of Our Lady in Easter Week.
18th June, venue to be arranged, but hopefully, St Joseph's, Scarborough. (I have now written to ask, but haven't had a reply yet, but hopefully, it'll be here!) 

15th Anniversary Mass (Vigil of Trinity Sunday?)
The reason I'm going for this church, is that it's accessible for most of us re parking [lifts will be given to non-drivers!], and it has a generous acoustic AND a large West Gallery. Essential from my point of view, because I'd like everyone who has been involved with us for the last 15 years to be invited. (I realise some won't be able to make it, but it's the thought that counts!)
16th, 23rd, or 30th July [to be confirmed]
St Mary's Church, Barnard Castle

The Annual Founders' Day Requiem
The last 6 years this has just been the Gregorian Chant Requiem. Nothing wrong with that, but it would be great in our Anniversary Year to have a full choir to sing a polyphonic Requiem

10th September [provisionally]
Brinkburn Priory [to be confirmed]

It's usually the Second Saturday in September, weddings & other services permitting!
The Annual Solemn High Mass.
We've had a request for  RVW's Mass in G minor!
Venue to be confirmed, but probably St Mary's Bishophill Jnr,
Choral [probably Orthodox] Divine Liturgy
Full choir. Not sure yet whether it will follow the Ampleforth model of various composers, or be a composed setting by an individual. I have a full score of Ippolitov-Ivanov's Liturgy which is very singable, but it will need to be transliterated, as the text is in Old Church Slavonic. For those of us who can read it, that's not a problem, but I guess we'll be in the minority!
Monday 19th December [provisionally]
St Mary's Bishophill Junior

The Annual Service of Carols by Candlelight.
Obviously, some of this may change, as I'm working up to almost a year in advance, but this is a general idea of what we are/or likely to be invited to this year! There are some other events likely to involve some, if not the full choir. These are at the Greek Orthodox Church in Leeds, where we hope to sing, in English, a new setting of the Liturgy in Byzantine Chant. 

The others largely concerns Gregorian Chant, but MAY involve some polyphony also, as there are provisional plans for liturgical workshops to take place at Middlesbrough  & Lancaster Cathedrals. 
There will probably be other services throughout the year mainly in York, and there's always Compline or Vespers at St Mary's Bishophill on a regular basis, usually on Saturday evenings. Stay tuned! If you want to join us in what will be a very busy, but exciting year, please don't hesitate to get in touch!