All Saints Staplehurst Choir
During the Covid-19 Lockdown, the All Saints Staplehurst Choir and band have been practicing and recording pieces for Sunday services and special occasions such as Christmas and Easter over the internet. These recorded pieces have been incorporated into Sunday Zoom services and uploaded to YouTube.
- Lockdown Choir/Band Music 2020 and 2021 Playlist (YouTube)
- Lockdown Choir/Band Christmas Music 2020 Playlist (YouTube)
- Lockdown Choir/Band Easter 2021 Music Playlist (YouTube)
The choir rehearses on Friday evenings between 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm, or thereabouts, in the Church.
Normal Sunday Morning Service is 10.00 am. until approximately 11.30 am. and Evening Services, 4.30 pm. until 5.30 pm. in winter months and 6.30 p.m. until 7.30 pm the rest of the year.
All Saints’ Music
The Choir is a four-part one composed of 12 regular, enthusiastic and able singers. For certain events, it is augmented, and it is accompanied by two experienced organists on a rota basis, playing an excellent Willis organ, which has recently been refurbished and is regularly tuned and maintained. It is an amateur choir, always looking for new members, and, whilst it tries hard and well to perform to a high standard, it would welcome anyone with an interest in choral singing. There are no auditions and no special musical requirements other than enthusiasm!
There are 6 sung services a month and the choir sings an anthem at each of them, singing additionally an introit and usually a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis setting at the monthly Choral Evensong, including the Hylton Stewart and soon the Stanford and Sumsion stings.
The annual Christmas Carol Service is an excellent traditional and well-attended event, and Holy Week now features not only the established Good Friday meditational service with a range of appropriate musical items; but also, on Maundy Thursday the Stripping of the Altar undertaken whilst the Allegri Miserere is sung. The 2018 Summer Concert featured the Vivaldi “Gloria”, and also a collection of more contemporary solo items from works such as Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar, reflecting the broad interests of both choir and congregation.
In the last few years, we have sung:
- Faure’s Requiem Mass
- Handel’s Messiah
- Stainer’s Crucifixion
Recent Anthem’s sung include:
- O Magnum Mysterium – Lauridsen
- Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach
- The Lord is my Shepherd – Goodhall
- All things bright and beautiful – Rutter
In addition choir members and guests sometimes perform arias such as Comfort Ye and He Was Despised from the Messiah and My Lord and Saviour from Bach’s St John Passion.
We have a wide range of single-sheet anthems in our library and we also have full sets of the following anthologies:
- Oxford Easy Anthem Book
- Anthems Old and New selected by Chris Tambling
- Classic Melodies for Choirs
- Bob Chilcott Anthems
At Christmas, the choir always presents a traditional Festival of Carols and Lessons, and at Christmas Eve sings a wide range of carols for the midnight mass. At Advent, this year, we sang a wide range of music at our Advent Choral Service of Light; and, later in the r year, we present a range of music for Holy Week, for our Good Friday service and for Easter Sunday and following Sundays. On Good Friday this year, we were joined by a professional bass and a professional cellist.
Whilst clearly choral singing in church has a serious purpose as part of the worship of the church, the intention is to make it enjoyable and open to anyone who wishes to join us for an hour on Fridays at 7 pm and at several of the monthly services.
Weddings are an important part of the choir’s work and we are particularly keen to ensure that those couples who are seeking a musical wedding are able to approach their preparation for their service in partnership with the choir if they so wish. Couples are encouraged to come along to one of the two wedding music evenings the choir specifically sets aside each year to help couples choose suitable music that they want to hear and that their families and friends will want to sing. Couples are strongly recommended to seek the advice of the Music Director in order that their requirements can be discussed. If you want to know more then please download the Wedding Music Leaflet.
The aim of the choir is to “be with God through music”, and to make music to the glory of God. We aim to inspire others through the medium of music, to lead the congregation in the singing of hymns and sacred songs, and also to support the said parts of the services – always working to the highest standards.