On Walsingham Way: An Early English Pilgrimage

Holy Cross Monastery (Monastic Church of St. Augustine), 1615 Route 9W (or Broadway), West Park, NY 12493

A musical exploration of the famous Marian pilgrimage site in Walsingham, England, featuring James Ruff, tenor and Early Gaelic Harp in ballads, poems and music of the three periods of importance to the site: Medieval pilgrimage, Tudor destruction and lamentation, 20th century restoration. A singular journey of devotion...

I was supposed to head to Walsingham itself on March 15th, 2020 when Covid stopped us all in our tracks. Though I still plan to visit someday in person, this concert is a virtual pilgrimage of sorts for me.

One of the earliest Marian shrines, according to legend, Walsingham was founded in 1061, where Mary appeared to a noble Saxon woman asking her to build a replica of the Holy House in Nazareth. It subsequently became a beloved and important center for pilgrimage in England - second only to Canterbury. After some 500 years welcoming pilgrims, it proved a victim of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, passing into a haunted place of cultural memory. The shrine was restored almost 100 years ago by Anglican priest, Alfred Hope Patten.

In my concert, I'll be weaving stories of the shrine, its founding, flourishing, destruction and restitution, with music contemporary in time and place: medieval Marian sequences and antiphons, Middle English Marian devotional songs, as well as the remaining relics of the famous Elizabethan Walsingham Ballad - which even show up in Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet - serving to enflesh and embody Walsingham's rich spiritual story in music and word...

Tickets ($15) available via phone or email at Holy Cross Monastery: (845) 384-6660, guesthouse@hcmnet.org

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