Sing and save an historic choir
- THE YORK PRESS
One of Ryedale's longest- established choirs is under threat due to
declining numbers of singers.
For decades, the choir at St Gregory's Minster, in Kirkdale, between
Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside, has sung for Sunday services, weddings
and concerts - as well as paying visits to Norwegian and English
The Saxon place of worship has maintained the tradition of four-part
choral singing for many years, but now the choir is short of singers -
particularly men with bass and tenor voices - which means its very
existence is threatened.
The Rev Andrew De Smet, the priest-in-charge at Kirkdale, said: "We
need singers who have a pleasant voice - and at least a basic grasp of
reading music - to sing Sunday by Sunday. We also need people who can
sing for special services and concerts." He said St Gregory's was
unique in a number of ways. "It is known across the world as an
important centre of Christianity stretching back well over 1,000
years," he said. "Visitors come from near and far to appreciate its
idyllic charm and to take part in the prayer book services, with music
which is sung weekly by both choir and congregation.
"The choral tradition is particularly unique in these days when robed
choirs are fast becoming a thing of the past, in town and country alike.
"For many years, we have been able to maintain a strong four-part
choir, affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music, but quite
recently we have lost a number of members through death and others who
have moved out of the area."
The choir sings a wide-range of music from all periods across the past
700 years, including Book of Common Prayer services of Holy Communion
and Matins, with the occasional Evensong.
Weekly rehearsals take place in the Minster on Thursdays from 6.45pm.
Mr De Smet said: "We are determined that our longstanding choral
tradition should not be lost and will continue to flourish for many
years to come.
"There must be people out there who enjoy singing good church music
and would like to join our ranks. Please think seriously about this."
If you are interested in joining the choir, phone Mr De Smet on 01439
770760 or email him at andrewdesmet@..., or phone Leslie
Mathews on 01439 771609.
The Minster is also looking to appoint a new director of music. Phone
Mr Mathews for more information.