St Matthew’s has a talented, enthusiastic and supportive ‘family’ choir; consisting of girls and boys, and men and women. Continuing to have children and young people in the choir is an important aim.
It is one of the few Derbyshire parish church choirs able to sing four part harmony to Cathedral standard and style. In fact the choir sings each year at Cathedrals (including Derby) when the resident choir is away on holiday. The choir regularly joins with the experienced (and equally talented) adult choir from St Edmund’s, and draws on choral ‘friends’ from other churches for special services when a larger choir is an advantage. Previous members often return to sing with us when in the area.
The music (hymns, psalms, anthems, service settings, etc.) is drawn from the rich church music traditions, from medieval to modern. The choir is normally accompanied by the organ, or sings unaccompanied. It leads the musical worship at the morning services every Sunday morning, and once a month a month at the evening service of Choral Evensong.
There is no vocal test (audition) to join the choir. All are welcome, but must be able to read fairly well, so a lower age of eight is the norm. There is no upper limit!
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) ‘Voices for Life’ training scheme is available for all choir members. There are five different achievement levels internally awarded, and three externally examined; Bronze (Dean’s), Silver (Bishop’s) and Gold Medal RSCM awards. A minimum ‘White Level’ of musical knowledge and vocal skill, plus regular attendance at practices, is required to be able to sing the full choir repertoire.
Practices for the full choir are on Friday evenings, and optional soprano and tenor practices are currently on Thursday evenings. ‘Voice for Life’ sessions are individually arranged.
Each year the junior choristers are given the opportunity to compete in the Derby Arts Festival vocal solo and duet class to develop their self-confidence and vocal experience.
The social side is considered important and each month, after Choral Evensong, members gather together for fellowship. Most choir practices are followed by a session in the Paper Mill. There are also very active choir social event organisers. The choirs seeks to sing, worship and play together in Christian fellowship.
If you are interested in joining the choir, please phone John Gratton, our organist and choirmaster, on 07739 801233. This is the choir in February 2017.