Music Retreats


All music retreats are designed to enable participants, performer and listener alike, to explore the spiritual and emotional hearts of great choral works.  They are not singing or performing weekends – rather, they involve a series of talks on the works, as well as listening to the individual movements in order, and time of space for reflection on each talk – they are essentially prayer pilgrimages involving great music.   The aim is joy, relaxation, and learning.


Douai Abbey: Triduum Retreat (18th -21st April)

St. Katherine’s church, Savernake: Quiet Day for the Pewsey Benefice, 11th May.

Ammerdown Centre: “The Laughter of Mercy”: 5 day retreat on Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (26th-31st May).

Douai Abbey: “The Laughter of Mercy” on Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (26th – 28th June)

Launde Abbey: Advent Retreat on Handel’s Messiah Part 1 (6th-8th December)

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.

Latest News

Euan Tait news you will find of interest. See below the very latest.

Euan Tait Training


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.


“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

For Paul Spicer, and the Birmingham Bach Choir

For Paul Spicer, and the Birmingham Bach Choir, in thanksgiving for our own commemoration in 2014.

(for the centenary of the Armistice, 2018)

Places I won’t visit again, or you.
Places of the rainfall, still,
of men reacting to stumbling,
falling horses, of the slow choke
of all I couldn’t say to friends
lying far behind us, miles away.
Moving on, resting in the stub
of a church, my bleeding back
against the bellow of a fallen bell.
Not a word, nor the village
nor the church rebuilt, nor
the doctor’s car retrieved
from the wide-mouth main street,
but, rather, a forest among the poison
of the immoveable shells,
and birds stripped of names.

Latest News – Music Retreats


These retreats are explorations of the inner life of music, its spiritual and emotional forces, by a praying poet. While they are neither singing weekends nor do they involve in depth technical analysis, they welcome performers and non-performers alike into an experience of the works that aims to greatly enrich their imaginative response to the music and words – music as a constantly unfolding creative gift in each life. Recent participant comments – see Feedback tab.

2019: details to follow!


Ammerdown, 30th November – 2nd December 2018. *NOTE: REVISED DATE*
Unto us a child is born
Praying with Handel’s Messiah for Advent.

Euan returns to Ammerdown in 2018 to explore the joyful transformation of heart and spirit that the Messiah’s Part 1 Christmas music represents – as part of our Advent time of praying and preparation for Christmas. While the opening Symphony is both solemn prayer and a release of joyful energy that foreshadows the Christmas music, the opening numbers shows God reaching out to us afresh when we still long for redemption – touching those aspects of ourselves that are still struggling. The Christmas music sings of our new spiritual freedom, God calling to us always to rediscover His love and salvation as a new gift, almost as if received for the first time this year.

All retreats start on Friday evening and end with Sunday lunch.

Douai Abbey: Easter Retreat (29th March -1st April) Handel Messiah – mainly concentrating on Parts 2 and 3.
Easter Retreat 2018: Waiting and welcome
To walk with Jesus through love, sharing his way to the Cross; to wait for Jesus on the Easter Saturday, listening to the Holy Spirit stir in our hearts; to welcome the resurrected Christ on Easter Sunday with a “living, rushing water” joy. The new gift of each year’s Triduum is the freshness of its grace, in how we open our beings anew to the life of Christ. This year Douai offers a new way to experience this holy time: a pilgrimage through great music, Handel’s Messiah, prefaced by reflective talks to help us live this pilgrimage fully. The time will as ever be infused by the liturgies of the community in the great Abbey Church.  Participant feedback included: “Excellent speaker, with deep insights into the spiritual message of Easter…what a delight to have Euan run it…very interesting, highly knowledgeable…Euan guided us through the Easter story passionately (but gently), using Handel’s ‘Messiah’ as a conduit, and embroidered his own beautiful poetry…He led us beautifully into contact with God and ourselves…”Read more →

Choral Texts


“This extraordinary work…made a huge impact on the large audience…who described it as ‘deeply moving’, ‘powerful’ and ‘inspiring.’” (Review of choral symphony ‘Unfinished Remembering’, Newsletter, November 2014)

Euan’s visibility as a librettist is increasing rapidly among choirs and conductors in the US, UK and Europe. “Anyone paying attention to the choral world right now knows that we have a new poet on the rise in Euan Tait.” Kurt Knecht, May 2016.

“An eloquent libretto by Euan Tait…” (Commonwealth Chorale, on ‘The Wound in the Water’, 2018).

Euan’s aim is to write texts that are a powerful catalyst for music, with strong choral architecture.  

Please use the contact form for commissions.

2019 premieres & performances:

Carson Cooman: major new work for autumn 2019.

Anselm McDonnell: “Tearing as it is Woven” performed by the Dublin Chamber Choir as part of the CMC choral sketches series.

Philip Gowland: new work on the anniversary of the Kindertransport, Gloucester Festival, St. Mary de Crypt, Gloucester, 15th June.

Philip Lancaster: premiere of “Canticle I: Miriam” in St. Paul’s Bristol, 9th of June, followed by a performance as part of the Gloucester Festival at St,. Mary de Crypt, 14th June.

Mine and Janet Oates‘ cantata Birdcries will be performed together with McGonigal and my Rhythm Herd at St. George the Martyr, Borough, London on 4th May; mine and Arnesen’s The Wound in the Water receives new performances in Spain, Belgium, and across the US in 2019.  Forthcoming work includes an opera with Dominic McGonigal, Burnt Image, work with Michael Cryne, and new works with Kim Andre Arnesen.


Carson Cooman: “Christmas of the Witnesses”   (The 109th Annual Christmas Carol Services, 9th and 11th December 2018, The Memorial Church, Harvard University Cambridge, MA, USA The 12/9 service is usually live broadcast on the local radio station  (

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm: “Sing we oh song” for Pittsburgh.

Janet Oates: “Birdcries of S. Cecilia” (40 minute cantata for six soloists – fp. at the Philomel St. Cecilia’s Day Concert, Swiss Church, London, 24th November)

Dominic McGonigal: String Quartet no. 2 “Mathilde” (text for quartet with soprano, fp. Pro Musica Quartet with Chärlötte Brökër, Lumen, Tavistock Place, September 26th ).  ALSO “Rhythm Herd” for six soloists – fp. at the Philomel St. Cecilia’s Day Concert, Swiss Church, London, 24th November)

Janet Wheeler: “The Cries of Music” for choir (text for competition set piece – sung separately under six different conductors – for the inaugural London International Choral Conducing Competition, Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, 21st October)

Kim Andre Arnesen: “A Justice Call” (Sanctuary Chorus, Bellvue Presbyterian Church, WA, June 10th)

Chris Hutchings: “We Are One Voice” (Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs, 10th March)

2018 saw the release of three of Euan’s texts on the new and now bestselling Naxos CD of Kim Andre Arnesen’s work! (Catalogue No: 8.573788). The texts are ‘Flight Song’, ‘Child of Song’ and ‘Then gift I’ll leave you’.  The BBC Singers performed mine and McGonigal’s “Night Song” at Maida Vale Studios on 18th September.

Kim Andre Arensen:  ‘Song of the Soul’  (fp. Soustons, France by Quatuor Vocal Méliades and Ensemble Hope. (February 12th)

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Flight Song’ (TTBB version, fp by 450 men at VAN/Man Male choral summit at Chan Centre for Performing Arts in April).

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘My Flame the Song’ (fp Edwards Masterworks Singers, Austin, Texas, and premiered in Oslo Cathedral, May 18th).

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Falling into mercy’ (fp. Oregon Bach Festival, by Strangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, cond Dr. Anton Armstrong, July 11th)

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Searching Love’ (Texas Choral Directors Association, fp. by Directors Chorus, cond. Dr. Lori Hetzel, July 22).

Dominic McGonigal: ‘Night Song’ (Founding concert of the new professional ensemble, Philomel, Brunel Museum Rotherhithe, London, 2/11/17, and March 2018)


Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘The Wound in the Water’ a 70 minute cantata for solo soprano, chorus, piano and strings, first performance as the opening concert of Trondheim’s Olavsfestdagene at Nidaros Cathedral, broadcast on national radio. The soloist was Elin Manahan Thomas, with the Grammy-award winning Conspirare choir, cond. Craig Hella Johnson.

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘His Light in Us’ (fp. St. Olaf Choir and Dr. Anton Armstrong for the 2016 St. Olaf Christmas Festival).


Kim André Arnesen: The Christmas Alleluias, first performed by The Valley Chamber Chorale, Stillwater, Minnesota, conductor Carol Carver in December.

Paul Spicer: ‘All Saints’ Carol’ (fp. All Saints’ Northampton, UK, 20/12/15)

Timothy Tharaldson: ‘Spokes’ Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota in 2016.  In reaction to this work, Kurt Knecht of MusicSpoke wrote (May 25th 2016): “Anyone paying attention to the choral world right now knows that we have a new poet on the rise in Euan Tait. He’s been collaborating with several composers including a big premiere of settings of his work by Kim Arnesen. It’s for good reason. To my mind, Euan’s extremely lyric gift comes from a poet that you can tell was raised on a steady diet of…Wordsworth. In contrast to Wordsworth, however, I don’t find a vague sort of pantheism at the bottom of Tait’s poems. Instead, they betray a profound and rich spiritual life that make them exceptionally poignant. This very grounding is what keeps his poems from floating into sentimentality despite their lyric nature.” 

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Child of Song’ (fp. VocalEssence Ensemble, cond. Philip Brunelle., 14/5/15, 40th anniversary celebration of The American Composers Forum, i.m. Stephen Paulus).

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Love’s Onward Journey’ (fp. Manhattan Girls Chorus, cond.Michelle Oesterle with admiration and gratitude, 20/5/15, NYC).

Kim Andre Arnesen:  ‘You asked me to speak’ (fp. Kokopelli Choirs, Canada, cond. Scott Leithead. Feb 2015).


Paul Spicer: ‘Unfinished Remembering.’ Choral symphony.  Fp 13/9/14 at symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK, withBirmingham Bach Choir, Orchestra of the Swan, soloists Johane Ansell (soprano), William Dazeley (baritone).   John Quinn: “Unfinished Remembering is a moving and compelling work. Euan Tait has written a libretto which offers a thought-provoking reflection...”

Paul Spicer: ‘A Shared Singing.’   Euan appeared twice on BBC Midlands Today,  including at a rehearsal of this new National song.

Kim Andre Arnesen: ‘Flight Song’ (fp. St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong).