Modern mass gains nod from church

18:35, Dec 03 2012

The Southern Institute of Technology has produced its own small slice of heaven - a mass approved by the Catholic Church.

The mass was composed by the head of SIT's music department, Peter Skerrett, and has been accepted as an official piece of music for the church.

Mr Skerrett said the piece was composed in a four-part harmony for choirs with soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections.

He said most masses in the Catholic Church were typically based on classical pieces from the likes of Beethoven but he tried to work in more contemporary elements. "The possibility exists for me to take what I have [written] and easily make it a rock mass."

He was apprehensive about submitting a mass that varied too far from traditional styles, but said getting the next generation involved in church was important.

"It is my belief that we really need to look at the younger people because we're losing them."

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Mr Skerrett said his favourite point of difference in his mass was his use of jazz chords.

He said he would not receive royalties, and had given the piece of music to the church.

The mass was picked up by Verdon College's Panache Choir and had its debut at St Theresa's in North Invercargill on November 4 to "a warm reception", Mr Skerrett said.

Di Lenihan, who leads the Panache Choir, said they really enjoyed learning it. "Parts got stuck in my brain. Some tunes just get stuck in your head."

She said the choir enjoyed the piece.

"I definitely think it's worthwhile congregations singing [the mass]." Jamie Howells-Cosson is an SIT journalism student

The Southland Times