December 14, 2011
Musical Legacy of Healey Willan Entrusted to the Canons Regular
Mary Willan Mason Johann Sebastian Bach, Healey Willan is the most prolific composer of church music. His daughter Mary Willan Mason, has managed the Musical Estate of Healey Willan, since his death in 1968. While Maestro Willan’s music is known and loved by church choirs, organists and instrumental ensembles the world over, much of his music is no longer in print or has never been published. Thus we are happy to announce that Mary Willan Mason assigned the responsibility of continuing the musical legacy of Healey Willan to the Canons Regular by legally entrusting to us his musical estate.
The preservation and renewal of the Church’s treasury of sacred music has always been a major part of the charism of the Canons Regular.
Fr. Scott HaynesUnder the direction of Fr. Scott Haynes, S.J.C., the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, has formed the Healey Willan Society in consultation with Mrs. Mary Willan Mason, for the purpose of fostering the musical heritage of Healey Willan. The society will seek to bring back into print as much of his musical works as possible as well as foster an increase in the public performance of his musical works through audio, film, radio, the Internet and television.
When Maestro Willan, on his deathbed, asked his daughter who would promote his music after his death, Mary promised him she would do it. “As Healey Willan passed the baton to her, he entrusted Mary with the preservation of his musical patrimony. Now Mary has passed that baton into the hands of the Canons Regular,” said Fr. Haynes. After 43 years of performing this labor of love, Mary Willan Mason says, “I hope and think my father’s question is finally answered and that he is content—all that I could possibly ask.”
Mary Willan Mason visiting the Canons Regular in December
Fr. Frank Phillips, C.R., Superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, awarded Healey Willan the ‘Cantian Medallion’ posthumously, in recognition of the excellence of his liturgical music. Healey Willan’s daughter, Mary Willan Mason, received the award on behalf of the entire Willan family.