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Introduction

Music is an important element in the daily life of a monk.

At the daily Conventual Mass, the monastic community sings the ‘Propers’ of the Mass (the Introit, Alleluia and Communion Antiphon), along with the ‘Ordinary’ of the Mass (the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) set to the ancient and beautiful Gregorian chant melodies.  As well as the Mass, the community stops to pray six times each day, to sing the ‘Divine office’.  The words of psalms and scripture are enhanced when sung to Gregorian chants, some composed over one thousand years ago.

In the year 2009, the community embarked upon a musical project to build a choral foundation at the Abbey; the Abbey choir (2009), and Abbey voluntary choir (2010) were formed.  These choirs complement the monastic chant with choral music, so that our liturgy may be a source of inspiration and beauty to those who worship God in this holy place.

Music Lists

Music Lists

Full details of the ‘Order of Services and Music’ can be downloaded as a PDF document here

1 - Lent term 2017 - Buckfast Abbey OSM

An archive of previous 'Order of Services' will be made available in the coming weeks.

Abbey Musicians

Philip Arkwright  - Organist & Master of the Music

In September 2013, Philip was appointed Organist and Master of the Music at the Abbey.  Philip, originally born in St Helens, Merseyside, spent the previous twelve years at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
Philip graduated from Liverpool Hope University, with a combined honours degree in Theology and Religious Studies, with Music.  During his time at university, Philip was Organ Scholar at the University St Catherine’s Chapel, and also sang as a Choral Scholar at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
After graduation, Philip was appointed Organ Scholar at the Cathedral for two years, which then led to his subsequent appointment as Assistant Organist.
During this time, Philip was pleased to be involved in many areas of the liturgical life of the cathedral;  as well as the daily opus Dei (the daily round of choral services), Philip participated in television and radio broadcasts, CD recordings, concerts, and choir tours to Canada, Germany, France, Holland and Ireland, as well as venues in the United Kingdom.

In 2008, Philip embarked upon an exciting project, in conjunction with the Cathedral Choir School, to found a choir of girl choristers, giving girls the opportunity to benefit from a chorister education. The girls’ choir very quickly matured, and under his direction was recognised as the leading choir of girl choristers in the country.  The girls’ choir also developed a series of broadcasts, recordings and tours.  Interestingly, the last tour Philip organised with the girls’ choir and lay clerks of the cathedral, was to Buckfast Abbey.  Philip was pleased that the Abbey was the last place he ever conducted the girls’ choir, in his new post!  Philip is incredibly excited to start work at the Abbey, and has many plans to develop the musical tradition at the Abbey.
For all enquiries, please email:  



Richard Lea

Appointed Assistant Organist at the Abbey in September 2016. He was formally the Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and Christ’s and Notre Dame College in Liverpool and was Organ Scholar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral studying with Noel Rawsthorne, Terence Duffy and Philip Duffy. He was then Organist at the Church of St. Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire.
He was appointed Organist at the Cathedral in 1999 working with Mervyn Cousins, Keith Orrell, Terence Duffy, Timothy Noon and Christopher McElroy.  He directed for many years Wigan Choral Society, the Brixi Singers, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Cantata Choir. He has made numerous broadcasts and has recorded three discs of the music of Lefébure Wély (featured in BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains), the complete organ works of the Welsh composer William Mathias and the World Premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem (on EMI with the RLPO and Choir conducted by Vasily Petrenko).  
Reviews include - ‘it is Richard Lea’s superb playing that steals the show’ (Organists’ Review)’ ‘really first rate playing’, ‘masterful’ (Gramophone), ‘Here is music and playing that will lift your spirits (American Organist), ‘the performances are brilliant…and genuinely moving’ (International Record Review), ‘exemplary performances – 5 stars’ (Orgelnieuws). He has recently released a DVD, receiving great reviews – ‘Bravado performances’, ‘This is one of the most outstanding instrumental releases on DVD this year’ (International Record Review), ‘Virtuosic and riveting’, ‘Highly recommended’ (Organists’ Review).


Abbey Choirs

The Abbey choirs

The Abbey choir was founded in the year 2009; the Choir has since developed a wide ranging repertoire, specialising in the early polyphonic music of the sixteenth century, from composers of the English School, Tavener, Byrd and Tallis, as well as composers of the continental schools, Palestrina, Victoria and Philips. Complimenting this early music, the choir sings from a vast repertoire of the French romantic tradition, from composers such as Widor, Vierne, Langlais and Duruflé. The choir also enjoys the challenge of singing new and contemporary music of the modern Catholic composers, James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik as well as composer in residence and monk Dom Sebastian Wolff.  The Abbey choir has quickly gained an outstanding musical reputation, drawing upon singers from across Devon and beyond.

The choir gives one concert a term in the Abbey.

The choir is composed of eight Sopranos, four Counter-Tenors, four Tenors and four Basses. Applications for places in the choir should be sent by email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music  


Abbey voluntary choir

The Abbey voluntary choir was founded in the year 2010; the choir’s first director was Trevor Jarvis. The Voluntary Choir is an unauditioned choir, open to all, comprised mainly of the Abbey congregation who wish to participate in the choral foundation.  The choir rehearses on Thursday evenings and sings occasionally at the Sunday 10:30 Conventual Mass. The choir is very much a congregational leadership choir, learning hymns, psalms, motets as well as the Gregorian chant Masses.
The choir is composed of around 35 people. 

If you wish to join the Voluntary choir, please send an email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music




Concerts

Concerts

The Abbey is fast becoming a centre for the arts (and sacred music especially) in the South West, hosting a busy and successful concert series. As well as the Abbey Choir, which gives four concerts annually, the Abbey is used as a base by a number of local choirs. The Abbey has a sublime acoustics and is an inspiring building in which to make music in.

Buckfast Abbey Choir - Handel's Messiah

Sat 16th Dec 7.30pm | £10

Buckfast Abbey Choir Concert Handel's Messiah sung by Buckfast Abbey Choir and the Abbey's Chamber Orchestra. Concert starts at 7.30pm, early booking is advised - Tickets cost £10 each. Now Sold Out

Christmas Service - Friends of Rowcroft Hospice

Sun 17th Dec 3.00pm | Free with retiring collection

A service of choir and congregational hymns, scripture readings and prayers led by Rowcroft Chaplain, Rev Jill Still. With the Dartington Community Choir...

...Please click here for more up coming concerts at Buckfast Abbey

If you would are interested in bringing your choir to sing as part of the concert series, please email Philip Arkwright at


Newsletter

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Pre-Concert Two Course Meal

Attending a concert at the Abbey? Why not make an evening of it by taking advantage of our pre-concert dinners or snacks in the Grange Restaurant. Accommodation is also available in the idyllic setting of Northgate House, at a reduced price for concert goers. Call 01364 645630 quoting 'Concert Offer 1'

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Recordings

Recordings

The first review of the recent Abbey Choir CD recording from Mark Sealey of Music Web International:

"This is a compelling collection of over twenty Hymns of the Divine Office."

"There is a certainty and confidence in each relatively short work."

"The directness and clarity achieved by the Choir of Buckfast Abbey under Philip Arkwright amply support this plain purpose."

"They preserve the beauty and richness of both text and melody - largely by appealing to the lucidity of the melody coupled with the import of the text."

"Arkwright, who was born in 1983 and appointed Organist and Master of the Music at Buckfast in 2013, keeps a tight ship. One knows at least that one is in good hands."


"The works are of great beauty and convey a certainty."

"The acoustic is the oft-recorded one of Buckfast Abbey, Devon - which is a modern reconstruction dating from the early part of the twentieth century - with a beautiful balance of resonance and penetration."

...BUY NOW online

Christe Redemptor Omnium - preview
Lustris sex qui jam peractis - preview
O Lux Beata Trinitas - preview
Veni Creator Spiritus - preview
Vexilla Regis Prodeunt - preview

Visiting Choirs


Visiting Choirs

The Abbey is superb venue for a choir tour. Located in the heart of Dartmoor national park, and having residential facilities on sight, plus the opportunity to perform in the Abbey. We welcome visiting choirs, to sing at the 10:30 Conventual Mass, when the Abbey choir is not in residence.


For all enquiries, please email:  

4
Diocesan Celebration of the Feast of Saint Cuthbert Mayne

Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated Mass with the Diocesan Clergy and the Buckfast Monastic Community on the Feast of St. Cuthbert Mayne. St Cuthbert Mayne is a Patron of the Diocese. He was born near Barnstaple in Devon. He was an Anglican Clergyman when he became a Catholic and later studied for the priesthood at Douai, and was the first of the seminary priests to suffer martyrdom. Following a time ministering in Cornwall he was captured and hanged at Launceston for being a Catholic priest, on 29th November 1577.

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A Festive Banquet

Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre Proudly Presents - A Festive Banquet - A modern twist on traditional Yuletide food and customs. Accompanied by a presentation of traditional, monastic and culinary anecdotes to advise, delight and enthral!

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