Music & Choir

St Barnabas Choir

St Barnabas choir has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality singing, and has a significant life of its own. In the last five years it has toured Italy twice and Germany once, giving concerts and singing at services in churches and cathedrals to great acclaim. The choir's diverse repertoire takes in the full sacred choral repertoire from early church music to the present day, including several works written specially for it.

In 2013 the choir ventured into the Weimar Republic in Germany, giving three exceptional concerts to great acclaim. A highlight was the invitation to sing round Bach's grave in Thomaskirche, Leipzig.

Music in the Parish

Music plays a hugely important part in the life of our parish. We recognise that it is through music that many people find the deepest expression of their faith, while for others it may offer a stepping stone to greater involvement with the church. We offer our music in service to the glory of God.

At St Barnabas a 80-strong robed choir of adults and children leads our singing on Sundays and Holy Days and is accompanied by the 1997 Kenneth Tickell pipe organ. A large instrumental ensemble plays twice a year for Harvest Festival and for Crib Services on Christmas Eve.

At Christ's Chapel the hymns and canticles are led by a small dedicated choir and three times a year a larger chorale sings Choral Evensong. Visiting choirs also sing Choral Evensong occasionally. Singing is accompanied by the 1760 George England organ, recently reconstructed and refurbished by William Drake of Buckfastleigh. The Chapel possesses one of the finest organs of that era in the country.
 

 

Read the Book


If you would like more information, a book describing the history of the organ and its recent reconstruction has been published by the Chapel Organist, Marilyn Harper and the St Barnabas Director of Music and project consultant, Dr William McVicker. Copies are obtainable at a cost of £5 each from the St Barnabas Parish Office. Please apply by email or telephone. The address and telephone number are on this page.

Request a Copy



Joining

The Choir of St Barnabas numbers around 90 regular members. It is directed by William McVicker. The choir is not auditioned; any member of St Barnabas who would like to come and sing is welcome to come and join us. All that we require is a commitment to regular attendance at both rehearsals and services.

Children are admitted to the choir from the time they are in Year 3. Men and women, boys and girls all sing together but there are some Sundays at which the adults will sing in the evening service and the children sing in the morning service.

Infant Choir Sign-up


The choir's primary role is to sing at Sunday morning Parish Communion services in St Barnabas Church. We lead the congregation in hymns and in the sung sections of the Communion service, and we have a wide repertoire of anthems. In addition to the traditional Anglican repertoire, these include several works written specially for us by composers such as Francis Jackson, John Casken, Paul Ayres, Simon Gottschalk and, most recently, Harry Bramma and Howard Skempton. We have a particular association with the music of Ian Hubbard, who has written numerous pieces for us, including the setting for Holy Communion we use most Sundays. The choir sings at all weddings in the parish.

Get involved

Choir practices take place on Friday evenings. The children rehearse from 6.15pm and are joined by the adult singers from 7.00pm. We aim to finish at around 8.00pm when the children have games and social activities and the adults may do a little more singing before sharing a glass of wine.

From time to time the Choir of St Barnabas gives public concerts and takes part in recordings and broadcasts. We also sing at all parish weddings in both St Barnabas and Christ's Chapel. We have made five CDs – Jubilate Deo; A Sure Foundation, Sing Nowell, Glorious and powerful God and Prayer is the Key. In 1999 the choir undertook a tour to Italy which included a performance of the Mass in G Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the Duomo in Florence. A return visit in 2009 included concerts in Norcia, Spoleto, and the cathedrals of Perugia and Orvieto, and featured the Mass of St Barnabas written for the choir in the same year by Tigran Grigoryan, one of our basses and a student of piano at Trinity College of Music. In 2011 the choir returned to Umbria and gave concerts in Foligno, Spello, Todi and Terni - the home town of our Assistant Director of Music.

Get In Touch

  • Parish Office, 40 Calton Ave,
    London, SE21 7DG
  • 020 8693 1524
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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