Friday, 29 December 2017

Review of 2017

Since several people/organisations have done these already (some as early as the beginning of December!) I've decided that the Rudgates should have their own annual review, only 21 years after we first started! As we're not doing anything between now and the end of the year - and I'm unlikely to get involved in anything else due to recuperating from yet another cold - now is as good a time as any to look back.

On 28th January, some of the schola joined together with the excellent Clerkes of All Saints to chant 2nd Vespers (albeit prematurely) of Candlemas in All Saints' Church, North Street, York.

The following weekend (4th February) the schola visited St Mary's Church, Lastingham to sing Compline by candlelight in the crypt chapel. 

A lovely occasion which we are likely to repeat soon, having received an invitation to return! The Blacksmith's Arms, just across the road from the church is also highly recommended. :-)

In April, the Rudgates returned to North Street, again collaborating with the Clerkes to sing the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday.

On 21st May, the schola visited what for us was a brand new venue, the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Doncaster
to sing a full Gregorian Chant Mass, Proper, Ordinary and appropriate Paschaltide pieces. :-)

We then visited Markenfield Hall in July, joining forces with the wonderful St Austins's Choir from Wakefield to sing a Votive Mass in honour of St Maria Goretti. This was a very special occasion, as it was the first time that the Proper of this Mass had been sung in Europe. It had only been composed two years previously in Chicago for a Pontifical High Mass in St John Cantius' Church as no music for it had existed previously. The 6th July, St Maria's Feast Day, is normally only kept in the EF Roman Rite Ordo as a Feria or Octave Day of SS Peter & Paul.

When I knew the Rudgates were going to be singing for this, I did my homework and found out about the Chicago Mass, and asked their music department if we could use the Proper which they had composed. They very graciously emailed it to me by return, hence Markenfield became the venue for 21st Century American Gregorian Chant! St Austin's added to the occasion by singing the superlative Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd and other appropriate motets.

In addition to singing Compline by Candlelight and other services (mainly from the EF Catholic Divine Office) at our York base of St Mary's, Bishophill Junior, we have for the previous 3 years also contributed tho the Yorkshire Medieval Churches Festival which takes place in locations across (mainly North) Yorkshire throughout August.

This year was no exception, and we contributed to this by singing Roman Rite Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, followed by Dominican Rite Compline on the first Saturday of August. Later on in the month, The Rudgates premiered a liturgical performance of Michael Week's Choral Vespers, written for us and the church some years previously.

In October, St Mary's became the venue for the inaugural Mass (Divine Worship, Ordinariate Use) of the York Ordinariate Mission, which I sang on behalf of the schola. This was repeated in December for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

Also in October (a personal highlight for me) was the return of the Rudgates to sing in the stunning venue of St Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw College.
It's a place I have long-since wanted to return to after being in charge of the music for the EF Training Conferences held at Ushaw in 2009 and 2010. I didn't think we would ever get the opportunity after the seminary closed down in 2011, but thanks to it re-opening as a Visitor Centre which also holds conferences, concerts and occasional services, we were eventually able to go back!

We reprised the Roman Rite Vespers of the BVM, which went down so well that we've been invited back to sing next year as part of the 450th Anniversary Celebrations. :-)

In November, the Rudgates went to Hull to sing a Mass for the Feast of St Charles Borromeo in St Charles' Church.
A service that was billed as a City of Culture Event. We sang the Byrd 4 Mass with motets from Johan Kaspar Aiblinger, Tallis and Schubert.

Later in November, we returned to Markenfield Hall to sing for the Annual Mass to Commemorate the 'Rising of the North', an event that is held at Markenfield every year on the 20th November. You can read more about the Rising and Markenfield's place in it here.

At the beginning of December, we visited the lovely church of St Joseph the Worker in Heywood.
This is the home of the Manchester Ordinariate Mission, and we've been there a few times now, firstly to sing Evensong, and latterly to sing for the Advent Procession which is a wonderfully atmospheric candlelit service of readings, hymns and choir items sung here on the eve of Advent Sunday. December 1st next year is already on the calendar!

Finally, we returned to Bishophill, for our Traditional Service of Lessons and Carols,
something we've been doing now for well over 10 years.

We have lots to plan for next year already, so here's to 2018!

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