At St Alphege, we are privileged to have an extremely high standard of choral music on offer. We have separate choirs of boys, girls, ladies and men, who sing on their own and in different combinations throughout the year. Christopher Martin Thomas is our Director of Music and Organist. Christopher studied at Bristol University, Berliner Kirchenmusikschule, Cambridge University and Kings College London. His most recent post was as Music Director at St John the Baptist, Keynsham. Chris can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Junior Choir is for girls and boys in school years 3 to 6. They rehearse together twice a week: on Thursdays and Fridays, and they sing at services three times a month: a Parish Eucharist and an Evensong (both with the Senior Boys) and an All-Age Holy Communion with the Band. From year 7 (in special cases, year 6) they move up to the Senior Girls’ or Senior Boys’ Choir.
Our youngest singers are the 5 to 6 year olds. They enjoy a singing and musical fun session just before Junior Choir practice on Thursdays: starting at 5.10 and finishing at 5.40, overlapping to just ten minutes with the Juniors, who always enjoy helping them along! Download the flyer below to find out more.
There has been a Boys’ Choir at St Alphege for hundreds of years and it is good to see the choir still flourishing today in an age where many churches have decided the tradition is now impossible. The talents and discipline taught at St Alphege prepare a chorister for later in life and have allowed many to pursue scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge. Famous choristers of the past include Tom Lilburn, Iain Simcock, Nigel Short (Artistic Director of Tenebrae) and Christopher Monks (Director of the Armonico Consort). The boys have a structured week of rehearsals and services but much emphasis is also placed on fun and making friends through regular trips and holidays.
The Girls’ Choir was founded in 2002 and has since seen many choristers achieve greatness, such as Alice Halstead who won the prestigious BBC Chorister of the Year award in 2008, and Katie Dobson who is pursuing a career as a professional singer. Girls tend to join us from the age of eight and sing with us until the age of eighteen; it is a great place to make friends and support one another. The girls follow a pattern of rehearsals and services each week and occasionally sing away. There are regular social activities and choir soon becomes a central focus to the girls’ lives, a part of the week to which they look forward.
The countertenor, tenor and bass parts of St Alphege Choir are provided by the Men’s section of the choir. There is a great diversity in age and background, but through the joy of music making, very different people have made friends for life and gained a hobby that is essential for the person. Our choral scholars tend to come from the treble line and join us typically at the age of eighteen. There has been recent success with our choral scholars gaining scholarships at St John’s Cambridge and Keble College Oxford. Some men have sung in the choir since they were boys; one man has been in the choir for sixty years under five directors of music. The men work hard preparing varied music to high standards but can also be found in the pubs of Solihull after rehearsals and services. New voices are always welcome by audition into any section. Applications from potential choral scholars are currently invited – please email email@example.com to express your interest. We also have opportunities for organ students and scholars – please get in touch to find out more.
The Ladies’ Choir sings on average three times a month, supported by the Mens’ Choir or in combination with our Senior Choristers. Rehearsing every Thursday evening usually at 8.15, new members are always welcome. A moderate level of sight-singing ability is a help, but individual Vocal Support sessions are offered to help with new repertoire.
Please see details of our current music list linked from the home page of this website.
Hear our Choirs – links to recordings
Here’s some links to our Soundcloud page.
Psalms 60 and 61
Magnificat from Short Service – Gibbons
Magnificat from Stanford in C
Magnificat from Dyson in D
Nunc Dimittis from Short Service – Gibbons
Nunc Dimittis from Stanford in C
Nunc Dimittis from Sumsion in A
Hail, Gladdening Light – Wood
Hide not thou thy face – Farrant
I will sing with the spirit – John Rutter
In my father’s house – Phillip Stopford
Jesu, the very thought of thee – Tye
Naylor Final Responses
Scholarships and Bursaries
We offer bursaries for choristers in Key Stages 4 and 5, ie from Year 10 upwards. We are particularly keen to hear from sopranos, but other voices are welcome to contact us. Further details can be seen in the flyer available to download below.
The Friends of St Alphege Music
Our choirs are supported by the active registered charity, The Friends of St Alphege Music, who fundraise to support the work of the choirs, and ensure that all choir members can access the best possible educational experience. Link to their page to find out more.