The Missa Resurrectionis
is dedicated to the Reverend John Andrew, the 11th Rector of Saint Thomas, who, with Gerre Hancock, created the current profile of Saint Thomas’s music. Indeed, the partnership between Andrew and Hancock revived the fortunes of the choir school, a ministry of the church which looked decidedly fragile in 1971. It was the vision of Gerre Hancock and then the strength of this clergy-musician partnership which ensured the survival and indeed the flourishing of the boys’ choir at Saint Thomas into the late 20th century. Andrew was born 1931 in Scarborough, England, studied theology at Keble College, Oxford, and trained for the priesthood at Cuddesdon, an Anglican theological college in the Catholic tradition. Having been chaplain to Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of York and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury, the vestry of Saint Thomas’ Church called Andrew as their Rector in March 1972. Amongst his first actions was the change of main Sunday service from Morning Prayer to Eucharist, and then to extend daily Mass throughout the year. He introduced incense to services, iconography, the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament and, along with his musician, he grew the liturgy into something beautiful, awesome and profound. Before Hancock and Andrew arrived at Saint Thomas, Scott Cantrell noted (TAO April 2012) that “it was a beautiful church [but] with nondescript low-church liturgy and a men-and-boys choir that had seen better days. There was even talk of closing the residential choir school. [However] the parishioners cannot have imagined how the place would be transformed by the partnership of Gerre and, arriving one year later, Fr John Andrew, a British priest with a flair for both liturgy and preaching. Together, they made Saint Thomas a shrine of Anglicanism’s most transcendent worship experiences”. Andrew’s successor, Reverend Andrew Mead, offered “In the 1970s, when a choir school looked like a relic from the Middle Ages, Gerre revived it; Gerre and John Andrew provided the venue and the need for our choir school. It is not a school with a choir. It is a choir with a school”. John Andrew retired in 1996, and died in New York in 2014. He always spoke of clergy and musicians being equal partners in worship, music being the natural handmaid of the liturgy, to the point that Neal Campbell (blog post 3rd February 2012) noted that “we heard him proclaim from the pulpit that … we [organists] needed to get to know our clergy, to socialize with them … he said he [Andrew] drank liberally of Gerre’s vodka, and Gerre drained his bourbon!”. Missa Resurrectionis
was written in 1976, and, in honour of its dedicatee, is based on John Andrew’s favourite hymn tune, St Magnus. The scoring is for choir, organ, brass and timpani.
from notes by Jeremy Filsell © 2021