The Choir

The Choir

St John's Church Choir & Organ

St John’s Choir is an SATB (that means we sing in four parts, Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass) choir affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). Along with the Music Group, we lead the singing at the 10.30 am Family Communion Service. At the 6.30 pm service we lead the singing of hymns, anthems & psalms.

We also sing at Baptism and Wedding services. At the time of writing there are 11 members in the choir (including Paul Ellis our Choirmaster).

Joining the choir

We are always on the lookout for new members, especially men. Choir practice is on a Wednesday evening at the church. Experience is not necessary. You would start off for a few weeks singing with the choir only at practices so that you can see if belonging to a choir is your thing. After you take a very small and easy voice test (based on the RSCM white level) before singing at services.

If you would like to join the choir see our Organist & Choirmaster (Paul) after one of the services.

Organ

The present organ at St John's was installed in 1949 and is still described as one of the best in the Diocese. The previous organ was 'old and its action worn out' according to a report the year before by Henry Willis & Sons. It was recommended to the church that the organ be rebuilt completely, using as much of the old organ as could be salvaged, at a cost of £2,000. The church would have been without an organ for many weeks. Canon Anthony Dixon (vicar at the time), however, had come to hear of an organ for sale in Bristol. Henry Willis & Sons originally built this organ in 1901 for the Wills family (of Tobacco fame) in their house in Southfield Road, Cotham, Bristol. Willis rebuilt it in 1919 at which time tubular pneumatic action was fitted. It was on the first floor of the building with the blower and bellows on the floor below. The casing was made of Walnut.

The house, still containing the organ, was sold to a Mr W. Maddox who owned it until 1948 when the local authority requisitioned the house (this was because of the post-war housing shortage) in order to convert it into flats. The organ was boarded up until St. John's bought it.

The organ was purchased at a cost of £2,900, £1,550 for the organ itself and the rest to dismantle, transport and reassemble it into an organ chamber that had to be enlarged for it to fit in (we don't have an organ loft, we have an organ cellar!). Pauline Collier's book on St. John's Church (1986) quotes Canon Dixon, as commenting: "I wonder that I had the nerve or faith to bid £1550 when we had barely £100 in the organ Fund".

Henry Willis & Sons were again responsible for rebuilding the organ into St. John's. The action was renewed in 1986 (to Electro-Pneumatic action) by David Wells Organ Builders, Liverpool, a 'swell indicator' was added, the drawstops replaced, some pistons added and some stop changes were made at the request of the then organist.

Download the Present Stop List - Click Here

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