Music, Choir & Organ – Contact Melvin Hughes 01737 241355
Betchworth has a strong and important choral tradition which has benefited from the installation of a fine new Kenneth Tickell pipe organ in 2014. Choral evensong is sung each month and Betchworth services usually include an anthem.
The Betchworth Choir leads the liturgical services of the Church and sing at most Weddings supported by the new Kenneth Tickell organ (2014) . A range of sung Communion settings are used for the Parish Eucharist – Aston, Ives, Nardone, Shephard, Tambling and Rizza. The monthly Evensong is a full Choral Evensong with a choral setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, as well as choral Responses together with an Anthem. Choral Matins is predominantly based on Anglican chant versions of the Canticles (although the Jubilate is often sung to a setting). The music covers the standard repertoire with some more unusual/difficult items drawn down from larger Parish Church/Cathedral repertoire. There is a tradition of singing an anthem at each service and the Choir repertoire has continued to expand as we have exploited further the contents of a new, modern anthem book. We continue to use traditional hymns with a selection of modern hymnody using ‘Ancient & Modern, Hymns and Songs’.
The Service of Nine Lessons with Carols remains the musical highlight of the year and follows broadly the King’s College, Cambridge scheme and features the traditional readings in the King James version, carols for congregation and choral items by the Church Choir which are selected from all periods of composition between medieval and modern. Whilst it is important to maintain the tradition, care has to be taken not to turn this into a museum piece and much care is exercised in introducing variations on the form. The Congregation may be asked to sing one less well known Carol and the Choir work hard to introduce new Choral settings of Christmas texts (often newly published).
We need a larger pool of singers to draw on and would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining the Choir. The commitment is not huge and we are very flexible.
Choir practice is on Friday night at 7.45, except on the first Friday of the month, from September to July.
A new organ comprising 2 manuals and pedals with 26 speaking stops was built and installed by Kenneth Tickell & Co Ltd of Northampton in 2013/2014. It has tracker action, slider soundboards and electric stop and combination actions with a full range of console accessories (divisionals, generals, a stepper system and independent sequencer) and comprises 1,602 pipes. The organ case of light European oak was designed to match and blend with existing furniture within the chancel. The opening recital was given by the International Concert Organist , Thomas Trotter, on Saturday 31 May 2014. The specification (including photographs)can be seen on the National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR) at: www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K01208
Since 2014 we have aimed to Thomas Trotter for 2 Recitals a year which have been given by a number of organists including Margaret Phillips, Peter Wright, Stephen Disley, D’Arcy Trinkwon, Richard Hills, Anne Page and Christopher Herrick. The next Recital will be given by Jonathan Rennert on Saturday 30 May 2020.
For a selection of Organ recital reviews, please follow the link below