17 April 2012

Report on Weekend Chant course

The Chant course was a great success this year. Nearly thiry singers took part, and were coached by Colin Mawby and Christopher Hodkinson (below).
The first Mass, on Friday evening, was accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford; the remaining liturgies of the weekend were prepared for during the chant course.
Chris Hodkinson got the more experienced group to do some wonderful faux bordon on Sunday with the Alleluia.
Colin Mawby (above), with the less experienced group.
Singers receiving Communion before singing the Communion antiphon.
Chris Hodkinson gave a fascinating presentation on semiology to the whole group.
The singers at the final Mass on Sunday.

The combination of the Chant Course with a large retreat with the Traditioinal liturgy is a winning formula. Not only is there plenty of things to sing, but the inclusion of Vespers and Compline as well as Mass means there is a good range of difficulty in what is sung, including a significant amount of Psalmody, which is the basis of all Gregorian Chant. The presence of an appreciative congregation, and a large number of children, makes the whole thing more gratifying, and really more real, than it would otherwise be.

See here for a report on the Retreat; here for more photos.

03 April 2012

GCN Weekend Chant Course

Update: I'm putting this back at the top because this is the


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The Gregorian Chant Network's annual big chant course - a three-day intensive course (Friday afternoon/evening to Sunday morning) - will take place 13th to 15th April 2012. That is, Easter Friday to Low Sunday, the weekend after Easter itself, at the Oratory School, near Reading (map).

It will be led by Colin Mawby, the composer and former Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral, and Christopher Hodkinson, one of the Musical Directors of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge. 

Each of them has an enormous experience of chant, its interpretation and performace, and having two chant teachers will enable participants to be divided for various purposes in the course of the weekend, enabling everyone to be taught in a way appropriate to their experience.

The course has always run alongside the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat. Apart from seeing the vast number of small children devoted to the Church ancient liturgy, which is always fun, this means that participants in the chant course have the opportunity to sing at a succession of live liturgical events with an appreciative audience. Each of the three days has a Traditional Sung Mass, which have a special interest because it will be the week after Easter. There is also Compline on two days, and Vespers and Benediction on the Saturday.

The headline price is £90 all inclusive (tuition, accomodation and meals), and this falls dramatically for groups of singers from the same schola, if the schola is affiliated to the GCN. (And yes, of course you can affiliate right away at no cost, if you want to take advantage of this offer!). There is also a discount for LMS members, thanks to sponsorship from the Latin Mass Society. This means that it can be as cheap at £30 a person!

£90 per person
£50 each for 2 people from the same choir or schola
£40 each for 3 or more people from the same choir or schola
£10 discount for LMS members

The GCN's hope is that the course will be taken by enough members of a given group to make a difference to performance when they get home, and not just by an individual here and there. It is up to Chant Directors to make this happen!

Download an application form or email us: info@stcatherinestrust.org