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We asked Dr Stuart Pegler, our Director of Music, for his views on the value of a church choir
We are fortunate in England to have a wonderful tradition of Choral Singing.
A Church Choir provides a breadth of music in a Church which would not be possible otherwise. Its primary function, from a day-to-day point of view, is to give a good lead to the singing, and to make Worship an uplifting experience.
Whether leading traditional hymns, or newer ones, the support of a good choir can bring the singing together in a very exciting shared act of worship.
A choir can also introduce music written especially for Choirs, which simply would not be heard otherwise, from 800-year old Plainsong right through to catchy numbers written very recently by John Rutter. This rounds out and heightens the worship experience, so that we can all feel kinship with the writers and musicians who have sought to express their Christian feelings over the centuries.
There is also a community side, in that a group of people who enjoy singing can get together in a very English way, to develop their skills in a Christian environment, working as a team to bring to life beautiful music, week by week. This is particularly important for children, who are given a good musical training, and can bring their developing musical knowledge to life by actually singing what is written down on the printed page.
Outreach is also an important part of a Choir's work, both month-by-month in visiting local residential homes, and particularly at Christmas time when many local organisations like to have a special visit from the Choir.
I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. - 1 Cor 14.15
We have at All Saints' Church a fully robed, forward looking and very enthusiastic choir. The choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and adult members and several of our juniors now proudly wear the ribbons of membership.
Whilst we are always ready to take up new musical challenges, we are at the same time sympathetic to newcomers and will give them every possible help and encouragement. At the present time we have in the region of twenty members singing all four voice parts - soprano, alto, tenor and bass - but there is always room for more. We would particularly like some more juniors as these are the young people who will help cement the future of church music in general and our choir in particular.
We aim to enhance traditional worship by injecting a varied and exciting variety of music.
Our junior choir is open to enthusiastic boys and girls aged eight and older. This is an excellent opportunity for children to develop their musical skills in a safe and happy environment. No previous experience is required as all new entrants will be fully trained to medal standard. Junior practice is held at All Saints Church from 7.00pm to 8.00pm on Thursdays, the juniors joining with the seniors for the second half hour of this practice.
The juniors are under the care of Stuart our Director of Music who is a qualified teacher - contact Stuart on 01621 850530.
Children under eight may apply and will be contacted at the appropriate time.
Become a part of our choir family
Have you ever thought of giving a church choir a try? If the answer to this is "Yes" then please feel free to turn up at one of our practices which are held on Thursday evenings between 7.30 and 9.15.
It is only fair to point out that singing in any choir requires a great deal of hard work, commitment and dedication and ours is no exception to this rule. The end results, though, are well worth the effort.
So what calls will we make on your time (apart from choir practice)? We have a sung Eucharist every Sunday at 10 a.m. with the exception of the first Sunday in the month which is usually a family service (Worship for all) where the choir is not needed. We also have a choral Evensong on most Sundays and this is held at 4.00 pm. in the winter and 6.30 pm. in the summer. There are occasional mid-week evening services around the time of the major festivals (Easter, Christmas etc.) besides occasional weddings and funerals. Whilst we would expect a reasonable level of support from choir members for all our services, it is not obligatory to be at every one.
A typical service will include Hymns, Anthems, Canticles and Masses in a variety of settings as well as one of the most beautiful of musical communications - the Psalms. A challenge? Yes, indeed, a big challenge but, as has already been stated, the newcomer will be given every help and encouragement and the end results are so very rewarding.
Go on, give it a try. We can guarantee you will work hard but also that you will have a lot of fun along the way. What have you got to lose?