‘A church or a school without a choir is like a body without a soul. Singing lies at the heart of worship and education’. –
– John Rutter
St Bartholomew’s choir is made up of men, women, boys and girls; a true ‘mixed’ choir. The choir sings at the principal services in the Parish Church, Parish Eucharist at 10:00am every Sunday morning, and Choral Evensong or an alternative evening service once a month. Occasionally there are choral services during the week and the choir will sing at weddings if requested. There are occasions when the choir sings special musical services such as Compline or a special devotional service during Holy Week. Among the many highlights of the choir’s ‘Ministry of Music’ are the Christmas Carol Service and high feast days such as Easter when the services have considerable musical involvement. From time-to-time the choir also sing light music at social gatherings.
The Benefits of being a choir member
There are many benefits in being in a church choir. For the under 16s we run the Royal School of Church Music training scheme known as Voice for Life. This ensures that singers receive a thorough training in music, the place of music worship and in Christian knowledge. The choir provides an opportunity to make new friends and contacts,and you would gain a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.
The musical skills you gain can be retained as a life-long hobby and interest.
Under 16s in particular have much to gain. Research has shown that church choir membership improves reading ability, speech, fluency in languages, team work skills, social skills, memorising capacity, time management skills, learning ability, problem-solving ability, ability to handle performance pressures (stress management), artistic ability, and neatness.
(This is quite a list, you should be queuing up!)
You are Paid
(If you are under 16 that is!) Under 16s are paid a financial reward based upon their attendance at practices and services. At present and allowing for fairly regular attendance this amounts to some £10~£12 per quarter providing a welcome supplement to pocket money. Young singers can remain with the choir to sing other parts before taking up College or University courses. There are regular social events for choristers and their families. The choir is a good social environment for both children and adults.
“When you enable a child to sing, you ensure them a gift for life which can be used, free of charge, until the last breath. It is a talent which cannot be left buried, especially in the face of the one who expects us to ‘sing a new song’”
– Revd John Bell, Iona Community
Opportunities to join the choir
We have a few vacancies for choristers at present and we encourage anyone wishing to sing with our choir to contact our Director of Music.
HUMOUR: A church magazine once printed this famous howler: “The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir”!
What is in it for Parents?
The choir would not be able to function without the support and encouragement of parents. Parents are kept informed of all that is happening and most find it rewarding that their children are using their lives to contribute to something worthwhile, whilst at the same time gaining so much from it.
St Bartholomew’s is an ancient parish church, a church having existed on the site since the Saxon era. For most of this history there are very few references to sung music or choirs. St Bartholomew’s appears to have had an organ at a time when organs were not common in parish churches. The current Director of Music observes that amongst the few references in historical documents to pre-reformation organ builders, there is a ‘Robart of Crewkerne’ mentioned. This at a time when organs in parish churches were very rare. This may indicate that the tradition of worshipping through music was going on in St Bartholomew’s at least since the 15th century. Except for the country-wide absence of church choirs during the Commonwealth after which the choir was reformed, St Bartholomew’s choir has been musically praising the Lord in parish worship ever since.
HUMOUR: Anoher magazine howler: “Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones”.
How to Join
The choir have some vacancies for boys and girls aged from 7 or so and we could always do with the services of more adult choristers. No previous singing experience is necessary, as long as you can read and like to sing, we can give you any extra training you might need! If you know of somebody who might be interested in joining, please pass on our contact details.
‘Singing reaches the parts (body, heart, mind and spirit) which few others can – why not give it a try?’
~ Sir David Lumsden, former Principal, The Royal Academy of Music