BY Daniel Harkins | June 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

2 MARTIN AELRED

UCM concert aims to support priests who suffer poor health

A renowned singer is to bring Gregorian chant to St Andrew’s Cathedral to raise money for priests who are in poor health.

The Union of Catholic Mothers’ Glasgow branch is hosting a charity concert for both current and retired priests who are suffering from poor health.
The show, titled Midsummer’s Night Concert, is to be held on June 21 at 7.30pm in Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Cathedral, will be headlined by classical tenor Martin Aelred, who has performed in New York, Las Vegas and the Holy Land.

400 people will see Mr Aelred (above) perform traditional Gregorian and Byzantine sacred chants, complimented by a candlelit ambience.

UCM vice-president for Glasgow Archdiocese, Karen Smith, said: “Martin sings in lots of different churches. We approached him in regards to performing at the event, and he said it sounds great! The choir then approached Martin and offered to sing a few songs that night too.”

The UCM, having started more than 70 years ago, have annually given donations to sick priests and other charities alike.

“Every year we pick a charity to donate to, and give a percentage of it to sick priests, and this year we thought we could just have one big event for priests in particular,” Ms Smith said, adding that if enough people show interest, there’s a chance that coaches could be ran for the convenience of the attendees.

Ms Smith said she hopes Archbishop Philip Tartaglia will be able to attend so they are able to give the cheque for the money raised directly to him on the night, which he will then divide up to go towards helping various sick priests in need.

Tickets can be bought for £10 -£15, and organisers hope to raise between £3,000 and £4,000.

Ms Smith hopes the concert will show that the UCM are still going strong after so many years. “Many think the UCM doesn’t really exist anymore,” she said. “Whereas we’re still on the go after more than 70 years, so it’ll let people know we’re still very active.”

Ahead of the concert, Martin Aelred spoke to the SCO.

“It’s got the makings of something much more to come I hope,” he said, noting that the UK, particularly Scotland, has had so little concerts of its kind.
“I’ve been studying Greek and Russian for the past three months, and the more I’m getting into it the more I’m getting excited about it. I’ve been touring for nine years around the world, but have never really done anything like this. It’s all come full circle.”

He added: “I think Glasgow’s a very artistic, diverse city, and I think for a Glasgow boy to put on a Gregorian, Byzantinian show is something that’s very artistic.”

“This is my first concert singing in sacred chant. ­Studying it has been something completely different—I mean, I’m a classical opera singer! This is a totally different concept, and doing the Byzantine scale is something completely different, so it’s pushing my vocal range to extreme low and high notes.”
Mr Aelred has an elaborate range of different synth samples in place to compliment his sound, which he hopes will emulate a 40-piece Gregorian choir, as well as visual projections to match the words he will sing in order to give people a sense of what exactly he is chanting.

Highlighting the spiritual side to the music, Mr Aelred said: “It’s basically prayers, except with music, so it’s designed to uplift people, to take you from a static space and transcend you to a much more spiritual place.”

He added that because of the concerts good cause, he hopes similar events throughout the UK and beyond in the name of charity can come to be, in order to help others as well as bring a niche genre of music to Catholics in the West.

— Tickets can be bought from UCM representatives in some Glasgow archdiocesan parishes. If you wish to buy tickets online, or require more information, contact karensmith7979@googlemail.com

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