‘Music is the very soul of a great church’ as Hector Berlioz said. Here at Saint Michael’s, music is at the heart of our worship.
At Saint Michael’s, music is at the heart of our life, and we are fortunate to have a robed choir of some 12-16 singers from all walks of life and a range of ages. The Choir sings a diversity of music including congregational mass settings, psalms, hymns, choral anthems and motets. The Choir’s repertoire is wide, ranging from Tallis and Byrd to Bob Chilcott and James MacMillan, via Purcell, Wesley, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Fauré and others. The Choir strives for high standards and is one of the best church choirs in the area.
Essential qualities for the role include:
- Some experience of singing in a choir.
- An ability to read music
- A positive attitude to working with others.
- A commitment to the choral scholarship scheme across the year as described here.
- Able to commence singing from September/October 2021 – January at the latest.
Desirable qualities for the role include:
- Sight-reading skills.
- An existing interest in choral music, particularly church music.
- Enthusiasm for developing musical skills for the future.
The Saint Michael’s Choir usually sings every Sunday during term time at the 10am Sung Mass. In addition, there are a small number of Choral Evensongs during the year and other choral services such as mid-week feast days. Naturally Christmas, Holy Week and Easter are important times of the year that fall in the school holidays, and preference will be shown to candidates who may be able to sing at either or both of these times of year.
We expect choral scholars to sing for at least 75% of services. This enables flexibility for half term and other occasions that may arise connected with education or family events. Times away will need to be agreed as far in advance as possible with the Director of Music.
Choral Scholars will be expected to attend the rehearsal that immediately precedes services on Sundays (usually starting at 9.15am) and other services. The Choir also rehearses on a Wednesday evening from 8.15-9.30pm. We expect Choral Scholars to attend the majority of Wednesday rehearsals, subject to discussion with individual candidates and taking into account their musical abilities and other commitments.
We are fortunate at Saint Michael’s to benefit from the expertise and experience of distinguished musician, Dr Martin Neary, former Master of the Choristers and Organist at Westminster Abbey and Winchester Cathedral. He has a lifelong passion for sharing his love of music with young singers. Choral Scholars will benefit from his guidance and support during their time with us.
By custom, the Saint Michael’s Choir sings with the English Chamber Singers in a significant concert during the Barnes Musical Festival. Choral scholars will have the opportunity to take part, if they wish and are able to attend the relevant rehearsals.
During the year there may be opportunities for some choral scholars to receive additional fees for singing at wedding and funeral services, however this is entirely at the discretion of the Director of Music. Other benefits might include the possibility of rehearsing or performing in the church, church diary commitments permitting.
The honorarium for the year is £750, payable in three instalments of £250 at the end of each term, subject to a satisfactory report from the Director of Music. An award of an additional £250 is available, at the discretion of the Director of Music, to those who have shown commitment to the Choir and particularly for attendance at Christmas and/or Holy Week and Easter, thereby taking the honorarium up to a possible £1000 for the year.
The Saint Michael’s choir is a friendly group of singers of a variety of ages. They enjoy welcoming new members and socialising together. We hope that scholars will benefit greatly from joining this supportive and encouraging community.
Safeguarding procedures are in place for those below the age of 18, with all relevant church officers having an enhanced DBS check in place. There is also a dedicated Safeguarding Officer.
In addition, Saint Michael’s is a member of the Inclusive Church Network and committed to being a place of diversity for those who are LGBTQ+ and encourages applications from a diversity of ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds.
A note about singing and Corona virus –
At the time of going to press, some restrictions on singing are ongoing and we recognise that there have been concerns about singing in relation to coronavirus. Obviously, it is to be hoped that the situation continues to improve and we are committed to ensuring that all members of our choir are as safe as possible by undertaking measures such as restricting numbers, maintaining social-distance and regular testing as appropriate. Please talk with us if you have any concerns or questions about this.
How to Apply
Saint Michael’s Choral Scholarships
The Parish Office
c/o Saint Michael’s Vicarage
39 Elm Bank Gardens
London SW13 0NX
Or by email to: [email protected]
Due to half term, the deadline for applications has been moved to 4pm on FRIDAY 11TH JUNE
Shortlisted candidates will receive an invitation to come for a conversation with the Director of Music and a short and friendly audition.