Almost 100 musicians from parishes across the Diocese attended a music workshop on 12 November led by the acclaimed composer, Will Todd.

Gaudete! is a new Mass setting commissioned by the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, and is the culmination of a year-long project between the composer and children from schools in the Trust. BCCET Lead Chaplain Liz Boylan said, “Over the past year, we have been on a fantastic journey working with our schools and local communities writing a Mass Setting, inspired by them, that can be used by both our schools and our parishes. We wanted to create a Mass Setting that our pupils and our communities had the opportunity to contribute to so that it was both inclusive and familiar.

Composer Will Todd said, “It’s been an amazing project to be part of. I started off with listening to lots of ideas that a lot of the children had, inspired by religious texts, artwork, poems, bits of music, stained glass that they designed, which was incredibly inspiring. Then I did a series of five workshops in the five secondary schools in the Trust and we wrote music together. Every school created a completely different piece of music which was another layer of inspiration for me. I was particularly pleased that one of the pieces of music that we created in a session at the schools ended up being used in the final Mass Setting. Finally, I listened to a lot of songs that the children said made them rejoice, because Gaudete means rejoice. I had playlists from primary schools right up to secondary schools. It was very upbeat and very positive music and that’s what I tried to do with Gaudete. Hopefully, people will sing it for a long time.

The workshop was facilitated by the DCMA to help the roll-out to parishes in the area. Participants enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of music-making, some bringing along instruments, with everyone remarking on what a relaxed, fun yet informative session it had been. Among the comments received were: ‘fantastic!’, ‘inspiring’, ‘motivating’, ‘wonderful to learn new music’, ‘great to meet other singers from across the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese’. All in all, it was a great session with new repertoire learned, new contacts made, and a joyful celebration of music for the liturgy.

Free access to the music of the Mass setting has been made available to all schools and parishes in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle, to use in whatever way suits their needs and resources. There are vocal and instrumental parts, backing tracks with and without voices, and some very useful vocal learning tracks. All the resources are available on the BCCET website https://bccet.org.uk/. For instructions on how to access them please email the DCMA at: dcma@diocesehn.org.uk or Liz Boylan at: chaplain@BCCET.org.uk. The Mass setting has been approved by the National Liturgy Office.

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