Thursday, 31 December 2009

Practice time - Wednesday evenings

Due to ongoing refurbishments and other commitments within Cathedral House, rehearsals will now take place on Wednesdays until further notice.

The first rehearsal of the New Year will be on Wednesday 13 January 2010, 6.00-8.00pm. Rehearsals will take place within the Choir room, Cathedral House.

Please note members normally meet within Café Camino (map), attached to the Cathedral, from around 5pm onwards. If you cannot attend the first rehearsal or do not hear about it in time, please get in touch with us nevertheless.

Our first Vespers of 2010 will be that of St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, on Thursday 21 January, 6.45pm wihin the Cathedral.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Another Successful Gregorian Chant Course

The historic church of St Magnus, Birsay (Orkney), provided a fitting venue for Gregorian chant on Monday 14 December. The ancient evening service of Compline was sung by students on a beginners’ Gregorian Chant course. The course, led by Harray resident Ben Whitworth, ran at Appies Tea Rooms, Sandwick, during November and December. It followed a successful beginners’ course, also at Appies, last winter.

Ben said: ‘The students on the course were really enthusiastic and the quality of the singing at Birsay Kirk indicates just how much work they put in. Gregorian Chant is rightly famous for its serenity, but it requires a lot from the singers: accuracy, stamina, good pronunciation of Latin – and all this unaccompanied. I’m proud of how much this class has achieved.’

After the first beginners’ course, a number of students wished to continue meeting to learn new music. The group – known as the Orkney Schola – now rehearses regularly, and has sung at the Catholic parish church of Our Lady and St Joseph in Kirkwall. An intermediate course will run at Appies in the New Year, beginning on Thursday 21 January 2010. To book, please call Pam Farmer on 841562. The course will suit anyone who has completed one of the beginners’ courses at Appies, or who has some experience of choral singing.
Further details:

For additional information, contact: Ben Whitworth, Cribbaquoy, Harray, Orkney KW17 2LQ, tel. (01856) 771677, email: ben at, blog:

(image: Singers at the Gregorian Chant service of Compline in St Magnus’ church, Birsay; Angie Whitworth)

Friday, 11 December 2009

News from the Edinburgh Schola

The St Margaret Schola goes from strength to strength. Founded with the specific aims of rendering praise unto God, preserving the music of the Church, and promoting the use of Chant throughout the St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese, the Schola has now sung Latin Vespers (Extraordinary Form) in St Mary's Cathedral on ten occasions. This has now become a monthly event - the most recent being for the Feast of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, where Vespers was celebrated by Fr John Emerson FSSP, and St Andrew, Patron of Scotland. Vespers is now always accompanied by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament - an unexpected blessing from Our Lord.

Members of the Schola have also sang at recent Una Voce Scotland Masses at Seton Collegiate Church, the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, and also at various Requiem Masses this month. November also saw the first Mass at Torphichen Preceptory, the ancient seat of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta), since the Reformation - again organised by Una Voce Scotland.

Upcoming "Dates for your Diary" include:
  • Sunday 13 December, Vespers for the Third Sunday in Advent (St John Cantius, Broxburn);
  • Thursday 17 December, the first of the Great Antiphons: "O Sapientia" (Vespers, 5.00pm);
  • Sunday 20 December, Vespers for the Fourth Sunday in Advent (Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock);
  • Thursday 21 January 2010, Vespers for St Agnes, Virgin & Martyr;
  • Thursday 11 February 2010, Vespers for the Apparition of the B.V.M.;
  • Thursday 25 March 2010, Vespers for the Annunciation of the B.V.M.
All liturgies will start at 6:45pm in St Mary's Cathedral, Broughton Street, Edinburgh, unless indicated otherwise. We also hope to arrange for the ancient Triduum practice of Tenebrae (sung Matins and Lauds) this coming year. Another commitment of the Schola is to regular Deanery Masses in the Ordinary Form (with the Ordinary sung in Latin Chant), which we hope to progress in the New Year.

As ever, we hope you will be able to join us for our events. We hope also to continue to swell our numbers, and all interested are invited to email edinburghschola at .

Friday, 4 December 2009

Upcoming events

Members of the Edinburgh Schola will be singing at a number of events during December:

Saturday 12 December
Una Voce Scotland
Advent Day of Recollection

10.00am, Nazareth House,
1647 Paisley Road West, Glasgow


Sunday 13 December
Third Sunday of Advent

Solemn Sung Latin Vespers and Benediction
6.45pm, SS John Cantius and Nicholas Church,
West Main Street, Broxburn


Thursday 17 December
Greater Feria ('O Sapientia')

Solemn Sung Latin Vespers and Benediction
5.00pm, St Mary's RC Cathedral, Edinburgh


Sunday 20 December
Fourth Sunday in Advent ('O Clavis David')

Solemn Sung Latin Vespers and Benediction
6.30pm, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock (Glasgow)


Dates for the New Year are being finalised and will be published as soon as possible.

Practice sessions continue weekly in Edinburgh, on Wednesday or Thursday nights; for more details please email edinburghschola at .