Sunday, 10 August 2014

Poor Clares and a short, but happy, work interlude in my holiday

Sorry for the interruption of service, so to speak, but I was quite tired on returning to Sussex, so had a duvet day before I started my days of teaching with the Poor Clares at Arundel. No rest for the wicked !

We had a wonderful holiday, the weather was fantastic, hence my lobster impression by week two, and the children so much enjoyed the swimming, the shopping and the divine cuisine! They are now talking about the 'next one' - best get a few dozen more pupils.........Agh !

The Poor Clares were as lovely as ever, and as I had not been for about 6 months were hungry for imput as well as a bit of outside vocal discipline. In two weeks it will be for Sr Ambrose her golden jubilee and so the sisters were preparing the music for this important event. It is such a privilege to work with both the sisters and the music chosen by the sister for whom it is the great day.

We worked very hard on the Resurrection Mass, a rather modern setting of the mass, and very adaptable to what ever vocal resources are available. The accomplished Crossbush ladies can manage the three parts with relative ease, yet as with my own pupils and singing group, they still need reminding about the basics - vowel shapes, staggered breathing and opening their mouths !

The Gloria in this setting is quite beautiful and has been swimming around in my brain ever since. It has a real sense of building, starting off in unison, turning into two parts and for the final section adding a descant, so the end has a feeling of triumph and resolution. Interestingly, the two main soprano voices at the convent are both away at the moment on extended visits home or to the sister house in Kenya, so as often happens, other voices surface out of the dark and fill the space. On this occasion all three soprano voices are either French or Portugese ! Both Sr Graca and Sister Geraldine have stepped beautifully up to the mark and made a gorgeous and strong tone in the descant, even up to the top G's, which is a practically unknown note in the general Office music. They were ably helped by a visiting sister on sabbatical from Provence, Sr Mariannique who has a sweet and centred voice which could manage all but the very highest sections !

Now and again is it so good for the higher voices to have a jolly good blast ! We all need to blow away the cobwebs sometimes. Saints, sinners and everyone inbetween !

Have a read of Sr Graca's story............


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