MUSIC AND CHOIR
The church of St. Giles the Abbot has a strong choral tradition and much of the musical activity in the church centres around the choir. We have an adult choir numbering around 25 and a 15-strong junior section made up of boys and girls from aged 8 - 16 years. The choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and the junior choir follows the Voice For Life scheme for developing musical skills and rewarding loyalty and achievement with coloured ribbons and medals worn over robes. .
The senior choir rehearses in the church every Friday from 7:45 pm. Juniors rehearse on alternate Fridays from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, although this becomes weekly when preparing for major choral services. The choir’s repertoire reflects the range of styles of worship at St. Giles. Mattins and Evensong are sung on most Sundays and we make use of various mass settings ranging from Merbecke’s setting for the Book of Common Prayer through to Sarah Watt’s ‘Remember’ setting of the Common Worship text. On the first Sunday of the month the junior choir leads the singing at the All Age Worship service and the adults and juniors combine for one 10 am Family Communion service each month. The choir is often on duty at weddings for which a small fee is paid.
At special times we are fortunate to be able to call upon friends who swell our ranks for services of Choral Evensong, for the Advent Carol Service and Service of Nine Lessons and Carols before Christmas. On Good Friday the choir usually performs a more substantial work appropriate to the season; in recent years this has included requiems by Faure, Rutter and Mozart as well as Stainer’s Crucifixion and Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary and, in 2016, Part 2 of Handel’s Messiah.
Both choirs have a mix of experienced singers and those who are quite new to choral singing. New members of both choirs always receive a warm welcome.
Contact one of our Choirmaster for more information.
Paul Burnett -
Paul Burnett is a Graduate of the Royal College of Music, where he studied organ, choir training, horn and orchestral conducting,
Since then he has led a busy professional career in all four departments.
As a horn player he has appeared with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony and English Chamber Orchestras, playing in the last night of the Proms and numerous other radio and television broadcasts both in this country and on tours abroad.
He has conducted his own orchestra and choral society, and was a ‘house pianist’ for TVAM, accompanying young singers on broadcasts which included a Cliff Richard Christmas Day show. One of Paul’s own young singers was a prize winner in the Chorister of the Year competition.
Paul’s musical activities these days centre on organ playing and choir training, both of which feature amongst Paul’s greatest loves. Just as the Church of England recognized and developed the importance of quality music in Church worship, Paul is excited to find that same importance given to music and the choir at Farnborough, and he looks forward very much to contributing fruitfully to the life of St. Giles.
Clive Brearley -
Clive’s interest in music began while at Taunton School when he started to learn the organ and joined the school choir.
He thought his interest in church music might die down when he left school and started on a hotel management course - the hours in the Hotel Industry don’t mix well with church music – but things did not work out that way.
Within weeks of leaving school he became assistant organist at a local church and started organ lessons in London with David Sanger, who was unknown at the time but became a World class organ recitalist - and a great friend. He soon became a church organist and choirmaster; career just had to fit around it. Holidays were often spent on musical pursuits such as madrigal singing or going to courses on musical interpretation and conducting where he made many friends for life.
After 12 years as a church organist and choirmaster, Clive spent a number of years deputising at churches of almost all denominations and musical standards and conducted a Sidcup based choir. He has been organist at St. Francis Petts Wood for the last 20 years.