Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary
First Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday
Workshop No 6 Saturday 19th March 2011
Workshop No 7 Saturday 16th April 2011
Final workshop No 8 Saturday 11th June 2011
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Heart speaks to Heart
Heart speaks to Heart

The Gregorian Chant Course concluded with a memorable final Workshop on Saturday 11th June 2011 at St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth .

The day followed a similar format to the previous 7 Workshops with participants dividing into 2 groups under the direction of Abbot Cuthbert Brogan OSB and Christopher Hodkinson. The participants prepared the chant for Mass of the Vigil of Pentecost which was celebrated by Abbot Cuthbert and sung to a very high standard.

At the beginning of the day everyone was given a Final Questionnaire, which was a follow-up to the Questionnaire issued at the first Workshop. For those who have participated in the Course and were unable to attend the final Workshop, but who would like to comment, below is a copy of the Final Questionnaire.

Once completed, please return it to me as soon as you can.

The Workshop concluded with a discussion forum which gave an opportunity for questions and answers. Plenty of points were raised which included comments on the Course, ideas for continuing practice of the chant and how to reach a wider and younger audience. There was also a lot of interest in participating in a future course.

Finally, gratitude was expressed to Abbot Cuthbert and Christopher for their contributions to making the course such a success; and to the Cathedral Administrator, Canon Hopgood, for allowing us to use St John’s Cathedral and Hall.

If you would be interested in a similar course in the future, then please contact me.

Thank you

Neville McNally

E-mail: or Telephone: 023 92862384

More than 100 different people have attended one of the current series of Chant Workshops organised at St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth by the Schola Gregoriana Sancti Nicolai (chant choir in Portsmouth). The Workshops are part of a pioneering Course in Gregorian Chant which continued at the Cathedral until June 2011.
Each Workshop introduced a new theme. At the January Workshop, Abbot Cuthbert Brogan, the Benedictine Abbot of St Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough - who co-directs the Course with Christopher Hodkinson of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge - gave a fascinating introduction to the Divine Office (the daily prayer of the Church) and Vespers. This was followed by practical instruction in singing Vespers which the participants then sang together with Benediction in the Cathedral.
At the February 2011 workshop we welcomed the organist Neil Wright, who introduced us to the organ and its use in conjunction with Gregorian chant.

The March workshop, saw a further exploration of the use of instruments in plainchant performance, as we celebrated the feast of St Joseph. Players of melody instruments (strings, brass, woodwind etc.) were invited to bring their instruments to both February and March workshops to participate in this. Players of low-register instruments
(cellos, trombones, bassoons etc.) were especially welcome. Instrumentalists are requested to bring a music stand.
Every effort has been made to keep the Course fee as low as possible. For those who haven’t yet signed up, the individual Workshop fee is £15 and the course book (Parish Book of Chant) is available at discounted price of £10. Reductions on the Workshop fee are available for students, children and groups. Bursaries are also available on application. Please contact the organisers, the Schola Gregoriana Sancti Nicolai, as soon as possible, as follows:
E-mail: or Telephone: 023 92862384