Music students play leading role in Gaelic mass

Music students play leading role in Gaelic mass

Music students from the University of Aberdeen will play a leading role in a celebration of Gaelic music and language taking place in Aberdeen this weekend.

On Saturday (June 24), the St Andrew's Cathedral choirs and Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney will perform a mass entirely in Gaelic at St Andrews Cathedral.

The annual event, which is now in its third year, is held to honour Saint Moluag, an Irish bishop who founded the Diocese of Aberdeen in 566 AD.  It is considered to be one of the north-east’s most important Gaelic language events.

The mass will see the premiere of the ‘St Andrews Mass’ for double choir composed by Sarah Rimkus, a PhD student in music composition.  Her work will be performed by the Cathedral Singers, which includes a number of singers from the University including Kathleen Cronie and Ross Cumming, who will give solo performances. 

Sarah, who is one of several American composers currently studying music composition at PhD level with Professor Paul Mealor and Dr Phillip Cooke, composed her new work specifically for the occasion. 

She said: “The St Andrews Mass features two choirs - a full choir which sings the mass text in the traditional Latin, and a semichorus of soloists which sing in Gaelic. 

“This brings together these diverse segments of Aberdeen and Scotland’s religious and musical heritage in one unique composition.

“The music will be performed by the Cathedral Choir and Choral Scholars under the direction of Cathedral music director Professor Andrew Morrisson, alongside soloists Ross Cumming, Sam Paul, Sarah LeBrocq, and Kathleen Cronie, who is a fluent Gaelic speaker.

“This composition is a large work of mine that forms the bulk of the first half of my PhD, and I’m really looking forward to hearing it performed for the first time.”