On Sunday 5th February we were honoured to welcome Dr Francis Jackson, York Minster’s Organist Emeritus, to Ampleforth as he joined us for Mass in the Abbey Church. 

Ian Little, our Director of Music, commissioned Dr Jackson to write a setting of Psalm 150 for Ampleforth and the first performance of the piece took place during the Preparation of the Gifts in Mass.  Dr Jackson sat close to the singers in the Monks’ Choir, a daunting prospect for them, but they gave a really committed performance of the music and delighted the composer.

Ian Little said “We have been so fortunate that Dr Jackson agreed to write this motet for us, investing much time and care in creating such a magnificent work and bringing to life the verses of the psalm which encourage us to praise God in music and dance. It is a work that will become part of our regular repertoire and indeed will be heard again later this month when the Schola joins the monastic community to sing Vespers. Such is the quality of the music and its reception by our students that I hope it may be published in the future so that it can be enjoyed by many other choirs and congregations.”

Dr Jackson has had a distinguished career, primarily as an organist, but also in maintaining the choral tradition at York Minster.  He has also contributed greatly to the fund of music sung in our cathedrals and churches, some pieces of which are firmly embedded in the repertoire.  Members of the Schola enjoyed meeting with Dr Jackson over lunch following the Mass and marvelled at his ability to continue his excellent work despite the fact that he is 99 years old!  

Many thanks to Mr Codrington who took the photographs.