Services

Services Summary

Euan has developed strong partnerships with a variety of fellow professionals, delivering highest quality training, librettos and retreats to colleagues on time, while being able to deliver a responsive service to different client needs.

Euan believes that his service delivery should put client requirements at the centre of his planning, whenever developments are required.

Retreat Leader

I am an experienced retreat leader, liturgist and preacher.  At the Ammerdown Centre link, I have led all the Quiet Days and developed a new retreat called Praying with Music (see below).  I’m now being invited by outside organisations to lead retreats – see below for recent evaluations.

I am now working on the following projects:

  1. Waymarks of the Gospel, a new book of meditations based on the Gospel stories.
  2. Praying with Music, a book of meditations of the spiritual and emotional meanings of great music.

A sample of the feedback I’ve been getting:

19th April 2014: Easter Saturday Quiet Day, Chepstow Priory.

Dear Euan,
On behalf of the Parish of Chepstow, I should like to commend you for the Quiet Day which was organised and led by you at St. Mary’s Priory, Chepstow on Holy Saturday.
As feedback I should like to make the following observations about the day:
The ancient Priory Church had been prepared in advance in a way which lent itself well to the monastic history of the church. Stations were carefully situated throughout the building to give space and opportunities for prayer and reflection. The themes at each station led the participants on a journey around the central theme of the day ‘Called by Jesus’. These prayerful spaces were each accompanied by thought provoking visual aids to draw us into a theme for contemplation. They were placed in a way that created sacred spaces which were sensitive to the particular chosen areas of the church building.
The day allowed each person to choose how much or how little they wished to partici- pate in. However the high points of the day were the ‘Waymark’ talks which took place between the times for quiet reflection. Euan Tait has a special way of drawing you into a place of deep refection as he develops his theme throughout the day, allowing each per- son to reach their own level of contemplation.
The day was also complemented by an art workshop where Bible texts were chosen to create imaginative stations of the cross, which were then assembled and painted.
We all benefited from the way in which Euan led this Quiet Day on this most holy of days as we were drawn into the mystery of the Vigil of the Resurrection. He is without doubt the most sensitive and inspiring leader of a Retreat that I have ever encountered.
Our heartfelt thanks go to you from the Parish of Chepstow,
Yours in our Lord’s service,
Revd. Christopher Blanchard. Vicar of Chepstow

Exeter Cursillo Advent Quiet Day participants (December 2012):
Superb presentation at the right pace. Well written aims to meditation and thought. The soft, seated delivery is right as the subject dealt at times with emotive feelings…Excellent preparation & printed guidelines, spoke clearly, friendly and approachable…Offered the retreat as our own time – to do and join in or not. Relaxed and easy to talk to at the meeting time before starting. Pictures (or one) very helpful…Good pictorial helps. Talks on paper to take away. Gentle simple but incisive talks in lovely language. Gentle humour helpful. Advent song gorgeous. Euan’s joining as ‘one of us’ during the course meals etc much appreciated…Spoke clearly and slowly…Very well prepared. The materials are excellent and will be useful to think and meditate on over the Advent season. The pictures are inspirational and the questions thought provoking…Gave a lot of food for thought and time for reflection after each launchpad[talk]…I found the presentation helpful, prayerful, relaxing and meaningful… Speaking slowly and with conviction, making it all sound simple…Far exceeded my expectations, beautifully led and the right level and pace for me. I liked the handouts to refer to afterwards and will help me when I go home…Spoke slowly, was clear in his presentation, both verbal and visual. Material was useful during the day, also to take home when more time to study scripture. Session before lunch very helpful to me at the present time…Good quality presentation and materials.”
Quiet Day participants:  2012: “Well prepared and good material, created a very peaceful and prayerful atmosphere…A day of peace that feels like a week’s holiday…his initial welcome, introduction and explanation were excellent, so too the thoughtfulness and helpfulness of the Waymark contents. Euan’s spirituality shone through…gave choice for our own personal response, introduced the Reflections in his facilitating style which guided our private meditations. I found the Waymark format more meaningful for me…Euan was gentle and courteous, attentive to our every need. The day was profoundly spiritual…. good presentation- good questions, it makes one think and challenges us…made me feel at home, gave freedom/space, gave clear instructions, prepared thoroughly, challenged and reassured…inclusion of everyone…reflections very helpful, encouraged from notes to look at bible readings in a different way…day was well structured and had a narrative flow that kept my attention focussed, the questions were a real prompt to meditation. ..”  2013: Lent Quiet Day – “reflections well and deeply researched…very well written and presented material, well paced, thought provoking…generated a feeling of calm and inclusiveness.”  Eastertide – “was very sensitive to the needs of the group, nurtured and fed the group, I found the material very helpful…clear, concise programme, inspirational notes…prepared an empathetic space and presence…made us feel relaxed and welcome. encouraged our freedom to be where we wanted to be and included us…led the day with encouragement, but without intruding…”

From participants at 2012 Easter retreat: “The musical contributions made by…Mark and Euan were really outstanding…please convey my gratitude and thanks to all the staff and particularly to Mark and Euan…”

Praying with Music participants: 27th October 2012 (Bach Mass in B Minor): “Presented, explained and interpreted the music in a way which enriched my experience of the Eucharist, and made it even more meaningful. Also, rest for a weary soul. Thank you so much!…Good presentation, relaxed. Enthused, provided fresh insight…wonderful insights, cheerful, welcoming, warm…excellent combination of music itself, meditation and reflection, all of it really came from the heart…attention to detail. Everything from the heart and deeply felt…Wonderful! The printed material is excellent both for now and the future…” 16th March 2012 (Bach Passions): “presented the course very well, structure of course is excellent, good mix of meditation, music, quiet time, looking forward to similar courses…wonderful meditations, very welcoming, very centred on God’s love for us… made us feel comfortable (physically and mentally). Very well prepared…”

St. Bartholemew’s, Wootton Basset: “Thank you for all your wonderful prayers.”

Portrait

Librettos and Poetry

 

 

COMMISSIONS

Euan’s aim as a librettist is to write words that are a powerful catalyst for music, with strong choral architecture, and which speak in the widest possible way for the spiritual longings of a very diverse society.  I delight in writing for choral composers, and feel there is a growing passion for shared singing among the public, and would love to be there to offer new words for composers to enjoy shaping into their own music.   Please use the contact form for commissions.

Euan’s visibility as a librettist is increasing rapidly among choirs and conductors in the US, UK and EU.

Euan has now produced a wide range of choral works with the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen. Two major works have recently been premiered.  The first, The Christmas Alleluias, was performed by The Valley Chamber Chorale, Stillwater, Minnesota,  and conductor Carol Carver in December 2015. The second, The Wound in the Water, was first performed in Norway’s great cathedral in Trondheim in July 2016 by Conspirare under Craig Hella Johnson,in the presence of government ministers, and was broadcast on national radio. Of the shorter choral works, Flight Song, dedicated to the St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong, was performed across the US, including at  Carnegie Hall, NYC.  December 2016 saw the widely praised premier of a new Christmas work, His Light in Us, under Anton Armstrong (also viewable on YouTube). See also the “Choral Music” section at http://www.kimarnesen.com/#!works/c1h6a which includes publication details of these works.

Euan’s first choral symphony libretto, Unfinished Remembering, with acclaimed music by Paul Spicer, was first performed on 13th September 2014, with the Birmingham Bach choir, the Orchestra of the Swan, and soloists  Johane Ansell (soprano)  and baritone William Dazeley. The vocal score is currently being prepared for a second printing for further performances, and Euan appeared twice on  BBC Midlands Today,  including at a rehearsal of his and Spicer’s new National song,  ‘A Shared Singing’.

Euan is developing other projects, with international choral composers, including an opera.

Response to Unfinished Remembering libretto (2014):

“laden with intensity and meaning…Tait generates a kind of counterpoint akin to David Pountney’s triple-layered text for his Royal Academy and Juilliard School student opera Kommilitonen! (the music there by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies)… it works staggeringly well in one key respect: there is the feeling of not just unease, but danger in the air. Battered by cruellest memories, we are reliving – just as Great War veterans, or Holocaust survivors, the bombed and the battered, the displaced and disquieted anywhere, must relive – the horrors of trauma, and seeking to preserve something, even some kind of ideal, from the rubble. ‘Who was the boy surrounded by hate and stabbed to death in our streets? What was his name? He was our dream architect…’. The endless questions boil down to one thing: a mutual, universal quest to discover our humanity.”  http://seenandheard-international.com/2014/10/premiere-of-paul-spicers-exciting-new-choral-symphony-makes-a-strong-impact-in-birmingham/

Kim André Arnesen, on the anthem text Flight Song:  ” I have had time to both read and sing your poem, and I think it´s beautiful. Just what I had in mind with a poem about singing, but keeping it universal and as you say, being valid for many people. And it really appeals to young people. And I feel it´s spiritual as well keeping it universal…t’s been a pleasure working with you.” (April 26th 2014, via email)

“The text by Scottish poet and retreat master Euan Tait opens with the line “All we are we have found in song.” Arneson’s setting of the poem was given a ravishing reading by the choir, and it truly seemed that the group of young people on stage had found themselves in song and (that they are) “alive to love, we sing as love.”Worcester Telegram & Gazette – telegram.com Worcester, MA, 2015

Response to A Shared Singing, the new national song for the Military Choir Birmingham, 16th November 2013:

“A Shared Singing” was also wonderful to hear and sing: somehow I think it could well be in the canon of patriotic songs in the decades and centuries ahead. I was not the only one who had that unmistakeable catching at the heart and slight crack in the voice, because of the words and their music, which goes with such songs, and if that is any sort of harbinger of things to come, well… what more is there to be said? … I can only say thank you so very much: it has a rightness of time and place which so rarely comes.”  Barbara, singer, Birmingham Bach Choir.

Euan Tait Training

Trainer

Between 1995-9, having worked in horticultural and craft projects with learning disabled clients, I developed a small work project for L’Arche Bognor Regis as their Workshop Leader, including meeting the specific needs of retired clients and opening a small shop in a high street location, selling cards by our talented designers, candles and rugs woven by clients.

In 2001, excited by the possibilities of employment for clients with learning disabilities, I became an Employment Co-ordinator/Job Coach for Connect in Swindon, working with mainly young adult clients to develop effective training programmes for them, seeking new work training opportunities with local employers and helping clients to develop their skills to such a standard that lasting employment would result. Then, in 2009, I was offered the post of Skills Factory Coordinator in Enterprise Works, Swindon, a social firm in the same building as Connect. This involved working with local schools and colleges and designing, and delivering work training projects to young clients with Asperger’s, autism and learning disabilities.

In 2010 -11, I helped deliver employment skills training to groups from Jobcentreplus as part of Energy2’s new employment training initiative in Swindon. I also took part in launching the Safe Place scheme in Swindon (2011). This is a scheme designed to enable people with learning disabilities to access the community safely by having safe shops and business in the community as safe places in the event of emergency. It meant going out to across the town to introduce the scheme and enable businesses, some of whom were very sceptical at first, to implement it. See our radio interview, and the Safe Place scheme across Swindon, for the successful results!!

I have continued to deliver training as Ammerdown’s Interfaith and Training Officer (2011-13), working with staff, customers, and outside agencies as part of Ammerdown’s community work.  I have developed and delivered new courses at Ammerdown which have received very positive responses.

Testimonials

“The song writing was awesome…it was fun writing the lyrics…I enjoyed the song writing…I didn’t know about Emmett Till before.”  Sidcot School Philosophy and ethics students on my Song Lyric writing course, April 2013.

“Your stimulus material was of a high standard, matching the importance of the content. ”  Charlotte E.S. House, Teacher, Sidcot School, Somerset, April 2013.

Song Lyric Writing courses, 2012:   “I have heard nothing but very positive comments from staff and students about the retreat day at Ammerdown and about your song workshops. It hit all our buttons, as they say – the spiritual content was strong and appropriate for the age group, there was a significant dimension of cultural history and the kind of work we do on tolerance, and the music dimension was of course perfect for our specialist interest in performing arts. I hope the students brought a good attitude to all the workshops, but from my point of view it worked very well. Thanks for all your hard work. I would also add that I thought your manner with the students was excellent. Very kind and encouraging, with good pace and use of resources – I think you have a natural flair for teaching! Best wishes Raymond”
Raymond Friel MA(Hons) NPQH | Executive Headteacher , St Gregory’s Catholic College

“She went on to add that if it weren’t for the training & mentoring she received at Energy2, she would never have gone ahead with this course and was most grateful for Euan’s support in helping her regain her lost confidence. Well done Euan!”
Jennifer Dsouza Administrator, Energy2

“A big thank you to all of you at Ammerdown for making my trial volunteering weekend such an enjoyable experience. Euan is a brilliant trainer, a real professional.”
Jenny Daniels, trainee volunteer, Ammerdown.

“Good afternoon Euan, I would like to thank you for your support in designing and delivering the Ready Steady Job courses that we have been running over the past few months. The wide age range and mixed ability levels, including learning disabilities, have made the training groups a very positive challenge. I would like to compliment you on the ease with which you have been able to relate to each client and build rapport within the groups. You have demonstrated a genuine understanding of their needs, which have been strongly orientated towards practical and visual learning, and have applied appropriate learning techniques and materials, for example role play, imagery and group interviews. Consequently, the feedback so far from our clients has been excellent. Well done, Euan.
Best regards Elaine” Elaine Graham, Training Officer at Energy2work

“Hi Euan, I was at a meeting with Sally Grubb last night when she mentioned your work with her students. She said she had had feedback from one of her team about your direct and positive interaction with [student], particularly on one morning when no one had managed to engage with him apart from you. She also commented on your skill to see the positive in people and again [student’s] name was mentioned. I wanted to share this with you and your managers – well done you! Best regards Ann”
Ann King, Supported Employment Project Manager at Energy2, Swindon Borough Council