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A Church of the Caterham Team Ministry: Caterham Deanery - Diocese of Southwark - Church of England
Annual Report – St. Mary’s Choir

Adult Choir

The adult choir is now reduced to 7 singers, having not fully recovered to full strength after the COVID restrictions, but still aim to provide all the usual musical services.  During the last year, we sang an anthem at Eucharist every Sunday that we were able to sing, and at any additional services (especially around Lent and Easter): we also sang an Advent service of light and the usual Carol service at Christmas with both the adult and junior choirs performing.

Early this year, we also re-instated a monthly choral evensong, which we hope to continue on most months. Although the congregations have been small, we still believe it is worthwhile continuing with the service.

COVID restrictions obviously had an effect on our abilities to sing, and after lockdown was partially lifted we restarted singing at the Sunday Eucharist – initially with only one singer each week, then as things improved with 3 singers at each service, until finally we were able to get back to full choir singing.  However, at the moment of writing (shortly before Easter) we are still not singing while processing.

After lockdown, a decision was made to relinquish one Eucharist a month to Free Spirit, instead of sharing the service.  This has given the choir one Sunday off every month, and allowed Free Spirit to make a bigger contribution to church worship.

As always, we need new singers for the choir – we particularly need male singers (bass and tenor) – so please think about whether you could be part of that Ministry.  It is not necessary to be an expert musician, just to enjoy singing. It involves a choir practice for about an hour (max) on a Wednesday evening, one service every Sunday morning, evensong about 7 times a year and occasional extra services at major seasons.

Chris Buck – Organist and Choirmaster

Junior Choir

As with other Church communities, the past couple of years have been difficult for the Junior Choir.  Not only have we had to navigate the pandemic, but of course, children’s voices change and we had to say goodbye to the treble voices of Thom and Oliver.  We would like to thank Thom, Oliver and Finlay for their huge commitment and support over the years.  Thom passed his RSCM bronze Dean’s award with commended in June 2019.

Following discussions with Trevor, Merlin and Geoff and subsequent conversations with Kate, we have moved towards a more encompassing role for the children.  Geoff has successfully recruited Junior Acolytes from Sunday School members and as part of increased participation in the wider Church community, we have included the Junior Choir, which, for Mother’s Day had around 8 participants singing with the adult choir.  Sadly COVID decimated the Christmas contribution but 4 brave girls – Bella, Naomi, Jemima and Elouise performed their two songs fantastically.

Moving forward, Yvonne and I have decided that rather than trying to communicate with the choir members via Sunday school, we need to have our own contact list.  Sadly the children were not able to participate in the Easter Sunday service because school holidays and therefore Sunday School breaks meant that they were not necessarily in Church and so unable to rehearse.

Being part of a choir is a commitment and we need to work towards regular rehearsals even though this current choir does not as yet have any plans to do any Voice for Life training.  We will further explore the hybrid way of children singing via involvement of junior church, until such a time when it may be appropriate for them to develop into more formal robed choristers.

Fiona Izzard – Junior choir leader

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