Choral singing is now more popular in UK than playing football. According to the first Big Choral Census, 2.1 million people sing in choirs while only 1.8 million play football. The number of UK choirs has grown substantially and now stands at around 40,000. Recent TV programmes have demonstrated how singing can be enjoyed on many levels and people with little or no experience can produce a decent - or even good - sound. St. Giles has played its part in this increase and now has 3 singing opportunities, one of which should suit almost everyone.


Let’s Sing Group

After less than a year of its existence the Group has found itself with a temporary ‘minder’. At my first session, towards the end of September, I arrived not really knowing what to expect. I was really pleased, and quite excited, to find that not only all of the 20 people who came could sing (actually, almost everyone can) but they could all do it in tune, which not everyone can do!

The great thing about singing is that it can be done on so many levels. You definitely do not have to be able to read music to do it - there have been solo singers who have had a very successful career without being able to read a note - but it does help if you can understand something of the way it is written and the terms that are used, so we spend a bit of time in each session looking at some of the basics of notation and markings in music.

Of course, the main aim of the Group is just to enjoy having a bit of a sing. Not everyone enjoys singing everything so we try to mix things a bit: we sing some church music but also plenty of secular music as well, including songs from musicals and even one piece that was published in 2017. Now is the time to join in.

The group normally meets in the church on the 4th Saturday in the month from September to June from 10.00 - 11.30 which includes time for coffee and a chat. One or two people came to the original ‘trial’ sessions last year but were not able to make subsequent dates due to family commitments etc. and they will be very welcome to have another go.

Senior Church Choir

This has around 20 members, some of whom have many years experience and read music well, whilst others are relatively new to singing. The choir rehearses from 19.45 to 21.00 every Friday, also at 17.55 on Sunday and sings at 2 services on Sunday plus occasional weddings and funerals.

The primary purpose of a church choir is to lead the singing at services and we spend much time rehearsing for that but we also aim to sing an anthem every week and also sing a full choral evensong at festivals.

Advent and Christmas carol services and a larger work on Good Friday also give us plenty to do. The repertoire includes some of the best of Anglican church music; for example, at the forthcoming Patronal and Harvest festivals the music will include two settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Charles Villiers Stanford, ‘Hear my Prayer’ by Mendelssohn and ‘O how Amiable’ by Vaughan Williams.

To anyone thinking of joining us this may sound a bit daunting. However, being alongside more experienced singers makes singing much easier; all the choir members are very welcoming and always happy to help newcomers. The choir has an unusual and rather special relaxed approach to working really hard! Those who are interested in swelling the ranks are very welcome to come and try singing at a couple of rehearsals or even just watch what happens for an evening or two.

Junior Church Choir

The Junior Choristers normally join from 8 years old upwards and can stay until school leaving age but they are also welcomed into the adult choir in their late teens if they wish to make the move.

  Photos from a recent Junior Choir 'Social' 

Some join with the adults at special services. Practices take place in church, on average, fortnightly from 18.30 - 19.30. The choir sings at the 10.00 All Age Family Worship Service on the 1st Sunday of the month and at the 10.00 Family Communion Service on the 4th Sunday, also at weddings, at the service of 9 Lessons and Carols before Christmas and at the 4 children’s carol services on Christmas Eve.

New members - probationers - are given instruction on the basics of church choir membership. After passing a few tests they become full members. They can then progress through the Royal School of Church Music’s ‘Voice for Life’ training scheme, learning to read music and how to use the singing voice in the best way.

At present the choir includes a number of really good young singers and this enables us to try doing more and more ambitious music. There are vacancies in the Junior Choir from time to time and I am always happy to discuss the possibilities for membership with parents.


Nine Lessons and Carols

Sunday 7th January 2018 6.30pm

There will be another opportunity to hear this year's nine lessons and carols service on Sunday 7th January at 6.30 p.m. which will also be the feast of the epiphany.  The choir will sing again the wonderful anthems that we heard at our carol service but with the addition of some epiphany hymns. 

This service will also be a fundraiser for the organ appeal and members of the congregation will be invited to make a donation (suggest £5).


Clive Brearley - Choirmaster 

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

contact sitemap directions home home