The organist accompanying the hymns

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Music takes an important part in the services on Sundays, at festivals and special days during the year and sometimes at weddings and funerals. We have a fine three-manual Bishop Organ and Organist, a Church Choir and a small Instrumental Ensemble. We also have a boudoir grand piano and a clavinova.

At St James's we believe music to be a gift of God and so all music which takes place in our church is offered to God in worship and thanksgiving. The ministry of music is an extremely important part of our parish’s life, witness and mission. In this, as in many regards, the church is a major focus in the local community. Local schools, community organisations and other music-makers seek to use the church for musical occasions. St James's is continually keen to widen the range of its musical life and enhance the inclusive value of musical participation. 

Music in church tends to be very visible - certainly audible! What you see and hear during a service though is the tip of quite a large iceberg with nine tenths of the work having already happened in advance, usually weeks or months beforehand. The organist and the vicar will have chosen the hymns and the organist will have chosen and practised the music to be played at various points in each particular service. The music is carefully chosen to fit with the liturgical theme of each service. The organist makes sure that the organ is maintained and tuned and chooses the anthems to be sung by the choir, also chosen with the service themes in mind.

The anthems are rehearsed at Friday evening practices. Choir members show a good deal of regular commitment, especially on cold, wet winter evenings, or equally on warm, sunny summer ones! On some Sundays, you may arrive early enough to hear the ensemble, the St James’s Players, practising for the service.

Find out more

The History of Music at St James's Church 


Thom Stanbury  (Organist & Choir Director)

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