A clergyman from Chester has filled a church and a chapel with the sound of his original music, through the completion of a Master’s degree at the University of Chester .
The Rev Robert Clack, university chaplain and vicar of St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Chester, has composed a collection of contemporary choral pieces for the choirs of both his parish church and the university.
He is the first person to graduate from the university with a Master by Research in Arts and Media (MRes,) specialising in original musical composition.
Father Robert, who is also director of chapel music at the university, composed 12 pieces as a result of his practice-based research entitled: ‘Gebrauchsmusik’ Accessible Vocal Music with a Purpose. He drew on influences from composers from the 16th-21st centuries, including Bach, Howells, Britten, John Tavener, Rutter and 20th-century jazz.
Some of the church anthems have already been performed in his weekly services and the university choir performed one of his compositions, Hymn to St Cecilia, at Winchester Cathedral, for the annual Cathedrals Group Choirs’ Festival.
Father Robert said: “I really enjoyed the course as it enabled me to bring together my roles as vicar and chaplain, with my role as a musician. Additionally, as a result of completing the course, I have been able to work as a visiting lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Media at the University.”
Professor Darren Sproston, associate dean of the faculty of arts and media at the university added: “Robert has been a joy to teach. I know that the course has been a real voyage of discovery for Robert who has been a highly responsive student and made excellent progress in order to be awarded the MRes. I am very proud of his achievements.”