As we know from the popularity of choirs on television, singing in a choir, in harmony, is a very satisfying experience and pleasurable for other people. At St John’s we have an excellent choir to lead the worship singing the best of traditional and contemporary Church music. Some members are experienced musicians (some of whom are also organists and instrumentalists), while others are relative beginners. New members are always welcome
The Choir sings at the 10am Sung Mass every Sunday and on the great festivals of the Church, plus sings Evensong three times a year and Fauré’s Requiem in November. The Choir also sings occasionally at Rochester Cathedral and sometimes provides the choir for the Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong for the Diocesan Servers Festival in Southwark Cathedral every January. It sings all the daily services in Derby Cathedral for a week in August on alternate years, and occasionally sings with other choirs
The Choir’s repertoire includes six Mass settings, which are almost always congregational, but sometimes the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei are sung to classic Anglican settings, some plainsong is used for propers and responsorial psalms. Anthems range from 1600 to several living composers, including John Rutter, Grayston Ives, Peter Nardone, Simon Lindley and Fintan O’Carroll. The Sung Mass begins with a, ‘introit’ which may be an organ voluntary, a choral or solo sung item or an instrumental piece.
The Choir rehearses on Thursdays from 8.15 to 9.30pm and at 9.20am every Sunday. Thursday rehearsals include a few singing exercises, preparing music for the following Sunday (including hymns) and practising special music (mainly anthems) for the following few weeks. Sunday rehearsals last for 25 minutes and run through the hymns, anthem, psalm and anything else for the service. The programme of music is planned well in advance.
St John’s is a sociable Choir: there is monthly Wine Club, a concert by the Junior Choir in July and an annual picnic, as well as occasional outings, including recently to the Bluebell Railway and to St Albans. We also join forces with the Beckenham Junior Choir .
Anyone interested in joining the Choir or learning more about it, should contact John Webber, the Director of Music. People are welcome to attend a Thursday rehearsal, as a taster experience. It is a help if you can read music, but training can be given.