We enjoy our music at St Alkelda’s.
As in many ancient churches, our services used to be accompanied by musicians and singers up in a gallery in the west end, removed during Victorian restoration (click here to see the history of music at St Alkelda’s). Nowadays, music is supported by a pool of regular organists playing traditional and contemporary hymns on our Abbot & Smith pipe organ, with a robed choir which leads the singing from the choir stalls.
All bar one of the current members of the choir sang first under Peter Read, former director of music at Solihull School and Giggleswick School, and an RSM examiner of music. With his meticulous attention to detail, he passed on his love of good music, and it was under him that the choir included for the first time the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, as well as singing, for instance, Steiner’s Crucifixion on Good Friday, in both cases then and now, drawing in more singers from the community.
The choir is currently directed by our main organist Simon Watkins who has continued in this rich vein, encouraging and challenging us. At weekly practice, we work on music for the monthly Book of Common Prayer Evensong and for special services such as Easter and Christmas, including the meditative Good Friday service, and Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. We sing a range of music from medieval Latin motets to modern settings of psalms and canticles and new repertoire in a range of styles. The choir also sings as required at weddings and funerals.
We welcome new members. If you would like to try us out for a rehearsal, do get in touch with Simon Watkins via 01729 830263.
Choir practice is currently on Monday evenings, 6-7.30 pm
Choral Evensong is held on the first Sunday of every month, at 6 pm
We also host concerts from time to time by local choirs and musicians, both professional and amateur.
For the experts: the organ is a large two-manual by Abbot & Smith from 1893, extensively renovated by Principal Pipe Organs of York in 2005. It is regularly maintained and tuned.