Monastic Music Hours at Minsteracres – March 2024

This March 2024,  Minsteracres Retreat Centre, situated in the beautiful countryside on the border of Northumberland and County Durham, is set to host a spiritual and musical journey unlike any other. From Friday March 8th, to Sunday, March 10th 2024, attendees will have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in monastic music through the event aptly titled “Monastic Music Hours.” This weekend promises a retreat into the heart of monastic musical traditions, offering a rare blend of reflection, meditation, and communal song that has echoed through the halls of time for centuries.

A Spiritual Harmony

“Monastic Music Hours” has been created by a team of experienced musicians and liturgists, namely Alison Meardon and Dominic McGonigal.  The retreat is more than just a musical event; it’s an invitation to step into the rhythm of monastic life, sung as it has been for hundreds of years.  The event is designed to let participants experience the deep serenity and contemplation that monastic music fosters, guided by the hauntingly beautiful psalms, antiphons, and motets that have for centuries added an extra spiritual dimension to monastic life.  

The Essence of the Retreat

The retreat will feature a rich programme that includes the singing of Vespers, Compline, and Mass by the schola, with opportunities for all to join in the psalms and responses, mirroring the monastic tradition of communal prayer and song. Insight sessions will provide deeper understanding into the power and purpose of liturgical music in monastic life. These sessions will explore the evolution of plainsong, polyphony, and hymnody, offering a comprehensive overview of the musical traditions that have shaped the monastic musical landscape.  There is also an opportunity of further private study into monastic life, the musical traditions of different communities and the history of these liturgies led by Dominic McGonigal, with the schola providing musical illustrations.   

A Journey Through Sound

Attendees will embark on a musical pilgrimage, starting with the ethereal plainsong of the Vespers and moving through the rich textures of polyphonic Magnificats and motets. The programme outlines each liturgical moment, from the soothing tones of the Compline to the solemnity of Mass, each designed to elevate the soul and deepen one’s spiritual connection.  

The retreat doesn’t just stop at participation and listening; it also offers moments for private study and reflection. Whether wandering among the majestic Giant Redwoods of Minsteracres or delving into the provided study booklets, attendees can explore the historical and spiritual depths of the music they’re experiencing.

A Community of Voices

What sets “Monastic Music Hours” apart is its commitment to community. Led by a team of experienced musicians and liturgists, including the talented Dominic McGonigal and Alison Meardon, the event is a testament to the communal spirit of monastic life. This weekend is not just about listening; it’s about raising voices together in song, creating a unified body that breathes new life into ancient traditions.

Friday 8th – Sunday 10th March 2024
Suggested donation £250

For further information including the full programme details for each day, together with a brief biography for each of our experienced musicians and liturgists, please follow the link below.

A Call to All for Monastic Music Hours

Whether you’re a seasoned chorister, enjoy sacred music, or someone seeking a weekend of peace and spiritual depth, “Monastic Music Hours” at Minsteracres Retreat Centre offers a sanctuary of sound and soul. It’s a chance to leave behind the temporal world and find yourself within the timeless melodies of monastic music. 

Join us for a weekend of reflection, prayer, and the communal joy of song, and let the music transport you to a place of profound tranquility and connection.