‘Music is the very soul of a great church’ as Hector Berlioz said. Here at St Michael’s, music is at the heart of our worship.
Music has been offered in worship since Biblical times; this offering is vitally important, for music has the ability to transcend words; it is the language of the spirit. Music can inspire, excite, soothe, and heal; it can unite people of different backgrounds and nationalities, it can speak to people of all faiths and of none, and it can point the way to God.
St Michael’s is fortunate to have a robed adult choir of some 15 singers (photo above courtesy of Philip Bovey). The main duty of the choir is to lead the Sung Mass on Sunday mornings, singing a variety of congregational mass settings and a communion motet or anthem. The choir’s repertoire is wide, ranging from Tallis and Byrd to Bob Chilcott and James MacMillan, via Purcell, Wesley, Mendelssohn, Faure, Bruckner and others.
In addition the choir sings the occasional full Choral Evensong, at festivals throughout the year and participates in the Barnes Music Festival.
The choir strives for high standards but is, for the most part, based within the parish and is always pleased to welcome new members. Some singing experience – whether at school or college or in other choirs – is useful. However, we are well rehearsed. Don’t be shy! If you would like to join the choir, please make yourself known to the Director of Music, Dr Martin Neary, or any member of the choir, and come to one of our Wednesday practices.
The choir rehearses on a Wednesday evening and before the Sunday Mass.
There are also regular concerts, recitals and other musical events hosted at St Michael’s. Please contact the Parish Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to hire the church for a musical event.
The organ at St Michael’s was built by Bishop and Sons in 1899, with the addition of a choir organ in 1904. It was rebuilt and electrified by Percy Daniel and Co. in 1976. In 2016 it underwent extensive renewal and improvement by BC Shepherd and Sons.
Full details and specification may be found on the National Pipe Organ Register: www.npor.org.uk – entry P00999