Music Retreats

PRAYING WITH MUSIC:  MUSIC RETREAT DATES FOR 2018!

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.

In 2018, Euan is again exploring Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah as part of Ammerdown’s Advent preparations.  Follow the link for details. Recent participant comments – see Feedback tab.

2019 dates will be posted soon below.

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

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

For Paul Spicer, and the Birmingham Bach Choir

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

*ZONE ROUGE*
(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

Good Friday 2016PRAYING WITH MUSIC: LATEST MUSIC RETREAT DATES

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!

2018:

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

Choral TextsCOMMISSIONS & PUBLICATIONS UPDATE

“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, gerontius.net 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.

2018 sees 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’.

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

2018:

NEW TEXTS:

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 https://memorialchurch.harvard.edu/event/109th-annual-christmas-carol-service The 12/9 service is usually live broadcast on the local radio station  (WHRB.org).

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)

FORTHCOMING:

collaborations for 2019/20 include new works with Carson Cooman and Michael Bussewitz-Quarm.  Forthcoming UK commissions include a new work with Philip Lancaster and an opera, Burnt Image, with Dominic McGonigal.  New European commissions include a new piece with Kim Andre Arnesen.  Further details to follow.

NEW PERFORMANCES:

mine and Arnesen’s The Wound in the Water in the US and Europe in 2018, and continuing performances of Flight Song, including its UK premiere with the Bournemouth Male Voice Choir in 2018.  The BBC Singers performed mine and McGonigal’s “Night Song” at Maida Vale Studios on 18th September.

2017 Premieres:
With Kim Andre Arensen: February 12th: “Song of the Soul” premièred in Soustons, France by Quatuor Vocal Méliades and Ensemble Hope. April 22nd:
TTBB version of the bestselling “Flight Song” (extensively recorded on YouTube), premiered by 450 men at VAN/Man Male choral summit at Chan Centre for Performing Arts. May 18th: “My Flame the Song” commissioned by Edwards Masterworks Singers, Austin, Texas, and premiered in Oslo Cathedral.
July 11th: “Falling into mercy” commissioned by Oregon Bach Festival and premiered by Strangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, and Dr. Anton Armstrong July 22: “Searching Love” commissioned by Texas Choral Directors Association, and premiered by Directors Chorus, and conductor Dr. Lori Hetzel.

With Dominic McGonigal: ‘Night Song’ (2nd November, London, for the founding concert of the new professional ensemble, Philomel). Further performances of this work in London, March 2017

Euan has produced a wide range of choral works with the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, including two major works: The Christmas Alleluias, a five movement piece, was performed by The Valley Chamber Chorale, Stillwater, Minnesota  and conductor Carol Carver in December 2015, and The Wound in the Water, a choral symphony, which will be performed in Trondheim by one of the leading choirs in the world today, Conspirare, conducted by Craig Johnston, with the British star soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, at the opening concert of the 2016 Olavsfestdagene.  Of their shorter works, Flight Song, dedicated to the St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong, has now sold thousands of copies, and is performed regularly across the US, including at Carnegie Hall, NYC. Other pieces include Child of Song, written in memory of Stephen Paulus and first performed at a memorial concert for him.  Flight Song is published by earthsongs, and their other works by the Santa Barbara Press, CA.

In the US, he wrote the text for Spokes, music by Timothy Tharaldson, which was performed by Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota in 2016. Euan is now developing other projects with other US choral composers. 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.” http://musicspoke.com/blog/score-week-iii-spokes-timothy-tharaldson/

In the UK, 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.  Among comments on the libretto were John Quinn ‘s “Unfinished Remembering is a moving and compelling work. Euan Tait has written a libretto which offers a thought-provoking reflection not only on why Remembrance is important but also on the challenges that remembering our war dead should pose.”  Euan has also written the text of a new Christmas carol, All Saints Carol, with Paul for All Saints Northampton, which was first performed there on 20th December 2015. He is now developing a number of new works for the UK.

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.