Music at St John’s
St John’s Sunday Choir
St John’s Sunday Choir was set up in 2005 to provide music for the Sunday morning Mass, apart from those covered by the Festival Choir. It sings on approximately 40 Sundays, together with Midnight Mass, Maundy Thursday and the Easter Vigil. There are weekly rehearsals on Thursday and Sunday morning before Mass and it is open to all comers, although an ability to sing would be advantageous! Apart from leading the congregation we sing an eclectic range of music from plainchant through to polyphony and modern compositions and some of our music has been composed specially for us. Opportunities for cantoring and playing the organ exist for those with suitable gifts.
St John’s Festival Choir
The Festival Choir was founded in 1963 to mark the centenary of St John’s Church and remains the longest serving active group in the parish. The Choir exists principally to sing Renaissance polyphony to more contemporary repertoire in the proper liturgical context for which it was composed. We sing the Ordinary of the Mass and appropriate motets approximately ten times a year on the main Feasts of the Church’s year. Reflective music is sung on Good Friday. The candlelit Festival of Carols and Readings at Christmas is eagerly anticipated each year.
The choir has appointed a new musical director, Graham Coatman, who has recently relocated to the area from Yorkshire, where he ran a number of choirs. Chief amongst these was Leeds Guild of Singers, described as “one of Yorkshire’s finest small choirs”. In his last season with them their repertoire included all 6 of Bach’s motets, along with music ranging from Josquin and Byrd via Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen, to Louis Armstrong and Edif Piaf! The choir were also guest performers at the Festival Les Musicales de Redon, Brittany, singing in the Abbaye Saint-Sauveur.
Rehearsals are on Wednesdays between 20:00 and 21:00 in St John’s Parish Hall. Members come from both within and outside the parish, some travelling some distance for rehearsals. Over the years the choir has maintained a high standard, which has drawn appreciative comments from both parishioners and visitors alike. At present the choir has about 20 members. We are now recruiting new singers, especially sopranos and tenors. Ideally you will have some experience of the repertoire outlined above, and some reading ability, but all that is really needed is enthusiasm, commitment and a basic knowledge of music notation. The choir is also invited to sing at a solemn High Mass in the Tridentine Rite at Downside Abbey, usually in May or June. Visits to sing in other venues will be organised from time to time.
St John’s boasts a fine three-manual Walker Organ. It was originally designed in 1966 for Hull University but was rebuilt with additions at St John’s in 2005. It is used at the three weekend Masses, feasts, weddings and funerals. There are currently four organists but we are always interested to hear from competent players who can sight read and transpose. For further details please contact
Music for Weddings, Baptisms or Funerals
To celebrate the great variety of music which is heard at St John's, a special CD was produced for the unique Jubilee year, "A Jubilee in Song". There really is something to suit all tastes. You can listen to samples from the CD by clicking on the following:
In dulce jubilo (St. John's Festival Choir)
Gloria: Mass in Eb (St. John's Sunday Choir)
They'll know we are Christians (St. Gregory's Catholic College Choir)
Salve Regina (Gregorian Chant Choir)
Ego sum panis vivus (St. John's Sunday Choir)
As someone who lives near Honiton said:
"I would like to say how much I am enjoying it. There is certainly a lot of talent in your parish. It was a wonderful idea to include all the various groups, the children and the parish congregation, too."
The cost is £12 and includes post and packing. Please make your cheque payable to St John's RC Church and send to:
Parish Office (CD Purchase)
St John's Church
Bath BA2 4AF
All money raised from sales will go into the church funds.