Rejoicing with music and song to celebrate Christian festival

Rejoicing with music and song to celebrate Christian festival


A new musical creation written to celebrate a major Christian festival will make its debut performance this week at a special event in the city.

Songs of Ascension is a sequence of words and music for choir and percussion, which will be performed by Aberdeen University Choral Society on Thursday (May 5) in St Andrew’s Cathedral on King Street to mark Ascension Day.

The sequence is the work of three University of Aberdeen academics and charts the great religious progression from Easter to Pentecost. It begins with anthem texts written by Gordon Graham, Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy and a regular contributor to BBC Radio religion.

The words were then set to new music by Dr Paul Mealor, who also composed the short pieces for percussion and solo for piano with which the readings and anthems are interspersed.

Now in his third year as a senior lecturer in music at Aberdeen, Dr Mealor is regarded as one of the UK’s most creative new composers with some of his works having recently been broadcast on Radio 3. He is also Director of the University of Aberdeen Music Prize – a collaborative venture with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

The third contributor to the Songs of Ascension sequence is George Chittenden, Organ Scholar at both St Andrew’s Cathedral and the University. George is the composer of the antiphon with which the whole work begins and ends.

Professor Graham said he was delighted to be collaborating with St Andrew’s Cathedral for the special evening that features an exciting fusion of music and song. He said: “Songs of Ascension falls somewhere between a concert and a service, both a musical occasion to enjoy and an act of devotion appropriate to this major Christian festival.

“The Cathedral Choir and the University’s Choral Society will be joined by music students from the University’s School of Education and by singers from other Episcopal church choirs.”

Songs of Ascension will be held on Thursday, May 5, at 7.30pm, in St Andrew’s Cathedral, King Street, Aberdeen. Admission is free, but donations will be invited for The Soko Fund.

This recently-founded charity for higher education has the sole purpose of helping young Malawian women to contribute to the development of their country by enabling them to undertake university courses in vocational subjects. It currently supports seven women who are taking degrees in education, agriculture and accountancy at two universities – Malawi and Livingstonia. Further details of the Fund’s work is available by visiting: www.sokofund.org

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