The Minster Church of St Michael















The Minster's Music



October 2015 What a team of musicians we now have to support us. Tom Honeyman has been joined by Charles Wooler as his Deputy Organist, since September, and is proving invaluable as a Conductor, Organist  as well as an excellent vocal coach. We have now started early preparations for Christmas and this should be a particularly special festive season for the choir and its supporters.

There is still time for folk to join us, at rehearsals at 7:00pm on Thursday nights



March 2015 In a rather exciting development, our newly promoted Musical Director, To Honeyman, has been able to build on the strong Choir foundations laid by David Cox, his predecessor of many years standing, by setting his choir new challenges over the last couple of months.  (JAN & FEB 2015)

The main challenge is in his 'raising the bar' at our monthly Choral Evensong, so that now, the service begins with an Introit. The Versicles & Responses that follow are now sung to different settings, followed by Full settings of the Canticles, and an Anthem.

At each of these two services, in January and February, the choir has sung from the dais, which, situated at the crossing, is the most acoustically fulfilling place in most churches. This has come as something of a challenge to those of us who feel more exposed, after the relative anonymity of the choir stalls, but the crossing is actually where the main choir stalls stood before the major renovations

In time, it is hoped that the dais will be removed and mobile choir stalls will be acquired for use for such services.


Our music has been enhanced by the services of guest organists over the past few weeks and we are very grateful for the support that they give us.



The compilation above includes Jeremy our guest organist in February, Tom Honeyman and some of our valuable choristers (three generations of the Carruthers family




Checking the hymns before service
Our latest probationer gets last-minute advice

   The choir has reached quite a good standard , having been been greatly strengthened through being joined by the choir of Christ Church following their church's sad closure .  However, in order to maintain and hopefully improve that standard, we could do with more members, of all ages, to swell our ranks.

The Choir performs each Sunday (except during August), singing the 10a.m Choral Eucharist service to settings composed by Patrick Appleford, Dom Gregory Murray and Richard Shephard, as well as the hymns and an anthem and hymn sung during the administration of Holy Communion.

  As explained on our Homepage ,we sing the traditional Evensong service from the Book of Common Prayer monthly; our choral contribution to this is the various responses, Hymns, a Psalm, The Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis).  Additionally, we always sing an anthem at this service.  (SEE BELOW FOR REPORTS OF RECENT SERVICES)

Our status as the main town centre church has always meant that we are called of upon to host a number of special services yearly; these are,  mainly services of commemoration for the Armed forces  - chief among such  being, of course, the Remembrance day services. Sometimes  -- but not always -- the present choir is trusted to provide the music

As the Minster seeks to expand its role in service to the city, there is no doubt that the choir should, and will, increasingly be called upon to play its part and in this knowledge, we invite all who enjoy singing to play a part in the development of the musical ministry of this fine church. Yes, and to serve God through rendering good music is a vocation!) 


Basically, people who like to sing, are able to commit themselves to regular attendance for both practices and services, and particularly for the services at the major festivals, including Easter and Christmas .

They will be enthusiastic and keen to set about learning a wide variety of music. We do not all have exactly the same taste in music and some of us find some of the music more difficult to learn than do others, but we work as a team and find that we can usually help each other to get it right .

The members of the choir at present are a complete mixture; we come from all walks of life and we cover a wide age range , having a good mixture of both young and old(er). We are therefore looking for more of the same, although an increase in schoolchildren would be very welcome as there is some church music which is particularly effective when sung by young voices. There is, in fact, room for all voices, be it Treble, Soprano, Alto (Counter Tenor), Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass. (or even 'Basso Profundo!) .

So, these are the main qualifications and to answer one question which has arisen recently, it is NOT necessarily to be a confirmed (or even baptised) member of the Church of England to join this choir. It is a place for folk who love music and seek to serve God (or even wish to seek Him) through their music.




- there are no great formalities involved. :- 

            a)    You can ’just roll along’ by coming to one of the practices —  if you arrive before 7p.m. you can introduce yourself to Tom Honeyman, the choirmaster, first. After this, you will be invited to sit with other choristers of your voice range .  There are no formal auditions to become a member of the choir, although after a while, there may be a simple voice test to establish your vocal range.

            b)    if you would like some information before committing yourself  (or someone else) have a word with the Choirmaster or, if you wish, one of the Choristers.

If we cannot give you the answer, we will find someone who can !




     This is held in the Song School (entrance via South door of Church) and starts at 7 p.m. The last twenty minutes or so are sometimes spent rehearsing the following Sunday’s anthem in the Choir stalls in Church. 

    For all of us, this is an evening to be looked forward to, because we are singing a range of music to piano accompaniment in a happy, relaxed atmosphere which makes learning music a great pleasure.  

Most of us have started our choir career with little or no formal knowledge of music, and thus have to learn the hard way  -  by developing a good memory for the music , and a good ear to hear what the rest of the choir are singing.    At first, this can seem quite a formidable task but it does not really take long to ‘get into the swing’ of things.

Times have no doubt changed considerably since I first joined the choir - but I hope that within all these changes our aims and purpose are little altered. Others must be the judge of that !





Page prepared by David Herring 26/10/2015