Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Birth of a Schola

Approximately a year ago an idea of forming a schola for St Dominic's Dursley came to fruition through a generous benefactor who sponsored a Plainchant workshop led by Rupert Bevan (a former Westminster Cathedral Head Chorister).  The day long workshop was held in February 2013 at the Marist Convent in Nympsfield and was attended by twenty people.

Out of this one event the schola was formed.  Paul Rouse became the schola Director, almost by default, as it transpired that he had the most musical knowledge and experience of singing Gregorian/Plainchant.  Paul, who is a trustee of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, saw an advert for the workshop, by chance, in St Mary's C of E Church in Wotton-under-Edge where he goes once a month to sing Evensong and was the last person to put his name down to attend.  What a blessing that was! 

There are a nucleus of about ten people who regularly sing in the schola and they come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, the youngest being an eleven year old boy. The schola is made up of three parishioners from Dursley and others coming from nearby parishes or further afield such as Bristol or Prinknash  All members of the schola share a love of music and an appreciation for the Latin Mass. Ian Anderson, who is an experienced cantor did not attend the workshop but saw the advert in a magazine.  A former choir boy, he has Grade 8 Singing. Trefor Jones is a regular altar server for Prinknash and the Latin Mass Society. Damien Fairhurst sings at Prinknash and loves to sing plainchant.  James Belt from Bristol also enjoys singing and is a member of the Bristol Juventutem schola.  Obre Arundell was brought up on the Latin Mass and attended a convent boarding school where she sang in the choir.  They had Latin Mass every day.  She sees the schola as being a wonderful opportunity for her to return to the Mass of her childhood.

The schola sing at the Missa Cantata's held on the first Sunday of each month at 5.30 pm at St Dominic's.  They have one rehearsal, two weeks beforehand between 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm in the church followed by tea and cakes in the hall.  There is a second rehearsal just before the Missa Cantata from 4.00 pm until 5.15 pm.

If you are interested in maybe joining the schola then please contact Paul Rouse on 0117 9374372.

Schola members Director Paul Rouse, back row: Damien Fairhurst, Sue Whitney, Ian Anderson, front row: Obre Arundell, James Belt, Sara Harvey-Craig and Trefor Jones. 

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