St Giles’ Choir is currently recruiting new junior choristers. If you’re 7 to 11 years old, enjoy singing and would like to join our fantastic musical team, we’d love to hear from you!
We held an open evening in October – but we’re always looking for new members at any time of the year – drop us a line using the online form here and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as we can. If you’d like to get in touch in person, Ashley (Director of Music) is always available to have a chat after our main Sunday service has finished at 11.30am.
Please read on for more information about St Giles’ Church and our choir.
About St Giles’ Church
St Giles’ Church is part of the Church of England (C of E) and there has been a Christian presence on the same spot in Camberwell for over a thousand years! In 1086, an important book of records known as the ‘Domesday book’ described Camberwell as having ’22 villagers and 7 small-holders with land for 6 ploughs, … a church, 63 acres of meadow and woodland providing 60 pigs’. It’s changed quite a bit since then!
In 1841, the medieval church (probably the third building on the site) was destroyed in a devastating fire. Three years later, the church had been rebuilt and our earliest record of a choir at St Giles’ dates from when the choir sang at the service to open the new church – nearly 175 years ago.
Our church is dedicated to Saint Giles, a Holy man who lived by himself in a cave in the deep forests by the river Rhône in France over 1500 years ago. One day, a royal hunting party shot an arrow at a deer that Giles had been protecting. The Saint held his arm out and let the arrow strike him, saving the creature. The King held Giles in high esteem and was deeply ashamed – he immediately ordered a monastery to be built in his honour.
To this day, our choir music folders have an emblem on the front, showing a deer and an arrow to remind us of this story.
What does the choir do?
In our practice room, there is a very old set of choir rules and aims on the wall – you might have to brush some dust off to read them! But they still apply today. Perhaps our most important aim is to enhance the worship for the people who come to church each Sunday. To do that, we try to be a welcoming, hard-working group of individuals – who come together as a team each Sunday to perform beautiful music.
To be able to perform music though, we have to practise. And every Friday evening at 7.15pm in term time, we rehearse for an hour. We have another quick rehearsal at 9.30am on Sunday morning and then we’re ready to perform at the 10am Parish Mass which usually finishes around 11.30am. We also sing at special services throughout the year, such as choral evensongs and Christmas carol services.
It’s not all hard work though!
We organise pizza nights, there’s a yearly choir trip (e.g. to Thorpe Park) and choir members also have the chance to visit Morland Chorister Camp in Cumbria which brings together choirs from all around the UK. Here’s a picture from our trip to the London Dungeon – scary!
We need your help
To keep our musical tradition at St Giles’ alive, we are always looking for new choir members. We’ve recently had a big group of choristers leave for university and you could say that we’re in a re-building stage at the moment. We’re very keen to have a new group of junior choristers who can go through our training scheme together at the same time.
Frequently asked question!
You don’t have to be ‘religious’ to join our choir. Members of any faith – and none – are welcome and whilst our role is to enhance worship for the congregation, there’s no reason not to enjoy the music and the challenge of performing. There are also lots of people who aren’t regular churchgoers who come to listen to our choral evensongs to appreciate the music, the ‘timeless’ quality of the words and the beauty of the church. All our very welcome.
What we need from you
Joining a choir does require a commitment. Time is more precious than ever in the 21st Century but we’re confident that the benefits are worth it. The basic commitments are:
- To attend two or more Sunday services each month (excluding August)
- To attend as many Friday rehearsals as possible (in term time)
There are also special services throughout the year, such as choral evensongs and carol services. We are flexible though and we can discuss individual circumstances to make things work for everyone.
What we can offer
In return for your commitment, you will:
- Learn how to use your voice well and develop performance techniques
- Receive free music theory lessons
- Go on choir outings and sing in amazing places
- Work towards RSCM music medals which recognise standards of musicianship
- Have the opportunity to apply for a music scholarship with discounted lessons
- Work hard but have fun!