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Our work in services
We are involved in the main service (not 1st Sundays) as a robed choir and part of the procession at the start and end of the service. We lead in the congregational hymns and responses. We sing during the administration. (There are two points: one at the start of the administration, the other while the congregation are taking communion: we sing at one of both of these times).
The choir practises each Friday (except on public holidays and in December during Christmas. The choirmasters meet at the start of each month to plan a provisional programme of music for services. All choir members are asked to give, and keep updated, details of practices, services and other events to which they are able to commit themselves; and the programme is based partly on these details; but mainly on the content of the services ahead.
The music for other parts of the service is more or less unchanging (with very minor variations between the A and B services).
We resist the temptation to ‘shut down’ during the holiday season, and operate normally throughout the summer. Our busiest times of year are, unsurprisingly, Advent/Christmas and Passion/Easter. In Advent, as well as ‘guesting’ at the Carol Service at Ridley Church, we lead the Ash Carol Service. This has now settled into a pattern of readings, selected by the Rector, and normally six congregational hymns or carols and six choir pieces, though it is likely that this balance will change, in the direction of more congregational involvement. The midnight service on Christmas Eve follows essentially a familiar Eucharist pattern, with additional choir contributions (to cover the longer time-span of the administration). On Maundy Thursday we provide reflective music for the first part of the vigil (now settled as about ten pieces); and we sing an anthem at the main Easter Day service.
We provide a choir when requested for weddings and, occasionally, funerals. As these inevitably take place at ‘non-standard’ times we simply recruit available members as best we can. Numbers are occasionally thin, but we trust this is understood, not least by the couples and families. We exercise what ingenuity we can to provide the music they request!
By agreement choir members do not take their individual fees for weddings (though younger members are given a token amount). Instead the fees are pooled in the Choir Fund, a restricted fund of the PCC, which is used for our own purposes, including social events and the purchase of new music (although provision and renewal of standard music and books for services is at the expense of the PCC through the General Fund).
Beyond the services, we engage in a range of other activities, which vary year by year: the choice is to a large extent dictated by members’ wishes, although there is something of an established pattern - carol singing (local venues and Trafalgar Square - collections made for charities), an ‘instant’ (an open event, with, usually, a small profit for the PCC), and perhaps an autumn event (most recently, for example, a sponsored sing).
If you would like to join our choir or would like any further information about our choir please contact the Choirmasters: John Harding on 01474 879500 or Nick Noakes on 01474 874122.