St Matthew's Church
Blackmoor and Whitehill
St Matthew’s maintains a traditional robed 4 part choir, an increasingly rare institution outside the Cathedrals and larger Parish churches. Our ministry is to offer the best we can to God through the music of our regular services - hymns, worship songs, anthems and liturgical music. The Anglican tradition has a rich musical heritage stretching over at least 15 centuries and the choir’s repertoire runs from Gregorian and Anglican chant to the worship songs of Graham Kendrick, taking in the music of England’s “Golden Age”, the 16th Century, through to challenging, modern music and including works of the great classical composers, from Bach and Handel through to Vaughan-Williams and Elgar. Our Music List includes over 100 pieces, many of which we sing in common with those august choral establishments in the Cathedrals and university chapels.
We practise on Friday evenings for an hour at 6.45, preparing music for the regular Sunday morning Eucharist, occasional Choral Evensongs and special services and events throughout the year.
Both lay and clergy visitors invariably comment on the high standard of the music at St. Matthew’s - this is down to the commitment and spirit of the choir members - we believe that music is not notes on the page, but a fresh creation every time we sing, however familiar the music. Music has a unique ability to put the soul in touch with the awe, majesty and love of God, and that is what we seek to achieve with every hymn or anthem. This has been the raison d’etre of the English Choral Tradition since the arrival of St. Augustine from Rome in 597 AD and St. Matthew’s Choir is delighted to play its part in perpetuating a tradition that has been described as “a cultural glory unique in the world.”
We welcome new members - all you need is enthusiasm and the ability to sing in tune. William Byrd said “Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing!” Well, men, if you have difficulty singing hymn tunes it may be because you are a bass! Why not come and join us and sing the part that is comfortable for you? Ladies with the same problem are probably altos - no excuse then! If you would like to join us please contact me to arrange an informal voice trial.
Robin Helliwell, Choirmaster.