Come and Sing Evensong

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2019 06:10 PM

St Mary’s in Swanage has hit the headlines with an outreach that gives would-be singers a chance to try being in a choir for just one service.

The 'Come and Sing Choral Evensong' outreach event is a once-a-month opportunity for anyone to join the church choir, and has been featured in the Church Times in their series on parish initiatives.

Simon Lole, Director of Music at St Mary’s told the paper:

"Purbeck is alive with choirs - almost too much - and I soon realised that there were lots of singers who, for a myriad of differing reasons, could not make a regular commitment to a church choir, but who loved singing choral evensong.

"This led me to think that perhaps we should exploit this by establishing a regular Come and Sing Evensong."

Team Rector Revd John Mann said:

"They have a rehearsal before on the Sunday afternoon and then you can be part of the choir for the service.

"It has been running for a year and has doubled our numbers in choir and congregation most months."

Simon Lole added:

"We invite anybody of any musical ability to come long and join our choir and experience our own 'Heaven on Earth'.

"In my view, happy singers make better singers, so tea and cake are the most fundamental parts of the proceedings.

"I have been delighted to see how our new intiative has been taking off, with a good number of singers attending each month.

"I have now decided to try and encourage even more singers to come along by inviting some distinguished choral directors to join us from time to time."

On Sunday 5 May, Dr Barry Rose OBE, formerly choirmaster at Guildford, St Paul’s, and St Albans cathedrals will lead the service. On Sunday 7 July, Dr Peter Nardone, recently of Worcester Cathedral will be the director and on Sunday 6 October, Hugh Morris, the new Director of the Royal School of Church Music will join the choir.

Simon, a well-known guest conductor himself who is one of the most sought after arrangers in the field of classical-
crossover, was also featured recently on BBC Songs of Praise.

He was interviewed on Songs of Praise following his illness last year and spoke on getting back into his musical work and life generally again. The programme also featured the choir.

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