St. James’ Church has always had a choir to lead the congregation in the singing of the hymns and enrich the quality of the worship.
Today, the choir is a flourishing community which enjoys the camaraderie of music-making. It boasts a nucleus of 4 adults and 4 teenagers, as well as 6 recent recruits ranging in age from 6 to 9 years old. For Christmas the numbers increase to incorporate enthusiastic singers who cannot give commitment throughout the year.
Being a member of St. James’ Church choir means a commitment to attend the Sunday Holy Communion Service and choir practice which is on Thursday evenings at 5.15-6.15pm for the youngsters and 6pm -7pm for the teenagers and adults.
Apart from singing the hymns and the service music, for special occasions the choir often performs an anthem during the service. When possible it also sings at weddings. Each year St James’s choir joins forces with friends and colleagues at St Robert’s, Pannal, and St John’s, Bilton, to sing Evensong at one of the three churches, followed by a buffet tea. These events give our choristers the chance to perform some of the marvellous anthems written by some of Britain’s greatest church composers. Such opportunities are usually only available to Cathedral choirs.
As St. James’ is an affiliate of the Royal School of Church Music, the choir has the chance each year to sing in an area celebration service either in Ripon Cathedral or Leeds Minster. From time to time other invitations arise to participate in extraordinary events. For example, on October 1st 2016 a group of us will be joining other churches to make up a choir of 400 voices for the RSCM North and East Yorkshire Area Festival at York Minster.
Adults and children who love singing are welcomed in the choir. The practice sessions are enjoyable and fun. There are also educational benefits as young choristers are taught to sing with correct breath control, to read music and basic music theory as well as the advantages of working within the group dynamic.
For those interested in our history, there are photos in the Vicar’s Vestry of the choir in its glory days – over the years, as times have changed and church attendance waned, the choir has ranged from a large 4 part adult choir with children to the bare bones of a single melody line from ladies and girls.
For more information, please contact St James’s Organist and Choir Director, Sarah Warnes 01423 7870337