Holy Trinity Choir

VISION FOR OUR CHOIR

Now that our wonderful choir can sing once again, I can set out my exciting plans for enriching our worship and musical life here at HTH.

During my 4 years in Munich I sang in an English choir in an American church (!) and sang some really amazing music which I have never forgotten. I now plan to introduce some of this music and to inspire you as much as I was inspired in Munich. Music can be life-changing and transforming, whether familiar or new. It can eat deep inside the soul and move us in ways we cannot explain, even to tears and set the hairs on the back of our neck on end. At its best music connects us with God who I am certain has inspired some of the best music ever written.

To whet the appetite, here are some pieces I plan for our choir :

  • Salvation is Created (Chesnokov)

  • Hymn to the Trinity (Tchaikovsky)

  • O for the wings of a dove (Mendelssohn)

  • O Lord, in thee is all my trust (Tallis)

  • Salvator mundi (Tallis)

  • Ave Maria (Arcadelt)

  • Teach me, O Lord (Attwood)

  • The Lord bless you and keep you (Rutter)

  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)

  • God be in my head (Walford Davies)

  • Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake (Richard Farrant)

  • Panis Angelicus (Franck)

  • Panis Angelicus (Claudio Casciolini)

  • Sanctus (quoting Pachelbel’s Canon)

  • O vos omnes (Vittoria)

  • Jesu dulcis memoria (Vittoria)

  • Ave verum (Faure)

  • Maria, Mater gratiae (Faure)

  •  

As part of my audition last October for the Director of Music role here, I taught the choir Vittoria’s O quam gloriosum which is not an easy piece, and I had to give a performance of it unaccompanied. This really stretched the choir and myself, and whilst the performance was not perfect the feedback after the audition was that the choir were impressed that I had chosen something they did not know that really challenged them rather than something safe and easy. Well, I want to say I have found 2 pieces by Vittoria for the choir to learn – much easier than O quam gloriosum but very beautiful!

As a composer of sacred choral music, I also got them to sing my own setting of Via Dolorosa which is part of a Passion work I have written. I plan for the choir to sing this next year during Holy Week.  I am also planning concerts this autumn of my music, Eden on 25 September and my Covid Requiem on 6 November. I plan for the choir to take part in both concerts which I have also written about in previous editions of Reflections. Of course it would be great to have a good turnout for both these exciting concerts.

I also enjoy listening to music, which I find very comforting and uplifting (more so than TV). I recently listened to Bach’s glorious cantata BWV29 Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir – and read a comment – “Imagine walking around with this in your head.  This was in Bach’s head and he played it for people, and wrote it down se we could hear it now … it amazes me no end.”  That is what music is all about.

But I digress. In my new role as the Bristol Diocesan representative to the Bristol Area RSCM, I look to build connections with the RSCM here in Bristol and to developing links with other churches in Bristol which have a strong musical tradition such as Henbury, All Saints Clifton, Westbury on Trym and to collaborate in occasional services. The RSCM are planning a Diocesan Choirs Festival in Bristol Cathedral on 2 October and I would like the choir to take part as it will be good for them and motivating to sing in a choir of 100!

I also plan to start up a junior choir at HTH by building links with our church school here in Horfield and look to hold a choral workshop for them and introduce them to the RSCM Voice for Life training scheme.

I am currently exploring plans for a choral scholar from the university to sing with us for occasional services when we might do something more ambitious. This was something that happened at the American church in Munich I went to, where professional singers were regularly invited to sing in services.

I also plan to re-start Choral Evensong this autumn, which I understand was well supported in the past with up to 40 in the choir from across Bristol. It would be really exciting to get that going again and some of the above pieces would be ideal for them.

As a musician and chorister, I am much heartened that there seems to be a renewed interest in choral singing in this country after the success of Gareth Malone in his Choir programmes on the TV. I enjoy the Sacred Music programmes on BBC4 most recently telling the story of Allegri’s Miserere. Fr David has even suggested that we sing that here and it would be really amazing to do so!

I was really impressed when I lived in Germany to discover that Munich has over 200 choirs. I sang in 4 choirs no less – being a tenor I was really made welcome. However, weekly attendance at choir practice was a must and you were frowned on if you missed a rehearsal. To do something properly needs hard work and preparation.

My final and ultimate dream would be to perform a Bach cantata here as part of a special service. When I visited Eisenach in Germany, Bach’s home town, I went into the Georgenkirche where Bach was baptised for a church service. As part of the service, Bach’s beautiful cantata BWV23 – Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn – was performed in all its glory, a totally overwhelming experience , never to be forgotten.

As a tenor myself and having sung all my life, I believe that singing is something that should be enjoyed and that it should be done well if done at all.

In order to make all of this happen, of course I need the support of the choir and the support of the church. Therefore I end with a plea. In order to do justice to some of this wonderful music and to truly enrich our worship here at HTH, I need to augment the choir. Therefore, I would like to invite anyone who enjoys singing to join the choir. In particular we could do with some additional tenors and sopranos.

I look forward to our future! Indeed to walk around with some of this music in our head will be life-enriching and transforming.

 

Jon Crow

Director of Music

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Requiem of Psalms

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Sheet Music