A few weeks ago, a friend asked me when I would be producing my “mass”. This was after a rather unsuccessful experiment with a piece I wrote for choirs trying to sing live together using Zoom – it was specifically intended to use the latency/delay inherent experienced when using the internet but problems with different microphone sensitivities meant that a pleasant sound was never achieved.
I had never considered writing a mass and didn’t have a reason for doing so but a seed must have been planted in my mind.
During the next few weeks – more of staying at home almost all the time, except weekly shopping and occasional walks – my mind has been all the many things for which I am thankful. This has included the key workers we clap for at 8 o’clock on Thursday evenings. Quite rightly, teachers, shop-workers and council workers are being thought of at this time in addition to all the NHS and health workers as they continue their essential jobs for the community. They must be placing themselves at greater risk by continuing to work but their efforts benefit us all.
Allied to this was the thought that many have made sacrifices for the greater good by heeding government advice and staying at home. There are so many stories of people who have missed out on important occasions such as attending weddings or funerals because they accept the wisdom that it is better for the community, if not themselves as individuals, if they stay at home. To me, these sacrifices make them heroes in their own way.
These thoughts came together in the idea of writing a mass for “everyday heroes” – an expression of gratitude for all those who make sacrifices to benefit the community.