The Church Choir
St Bartholomew’s has a long history of music making within the Anglican tradition, and has a robed adult choir with currently 19 members.
The choir sings at all morning services except for the monthly All Together Worship, all evening services and festival services.
There is normally an introit and an anthem at Evensong, and the tradition of singing psalms and canticles to Anglican chant is maintained at such services. A motet is sung at communion services, and full Choral Evensong about every three months. The choir's repetoire is drawn from the last thousand years.
Along with the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas, the Choir has given a fund-raising Christmas concert for the past 36 years.
The organist and choirmaster, Kevin Grafton, has served St Bartholomew’s in that capacity for over 40 years, and the church has the benefit of a well maintained Spurden Rutt organ, installed in 1913, eminently suited to the size and character of the building.
To get further details about joining the choir please contact Kevin Grafton via the church office or phone him direct on 01732 452117
What do some members say:
Clive Southgate: I joined the choir as a treble over 35 years ago. Anyone who knows me well may tell you it was ‘Sermon Cricket’, the rules of which I’ll explain to anyone who is interested, that kept me coming back for more! However, in truth since the day I started it was the beauty of choral music that got me hooked. Naturally, over the years my faith has deepened as a result of hearing God's word and gaining a better understanding and appreciation of the words I sing.
Maureen Reynolds: I love the camaraderie of being in the choir – it’s like being part of a family. It’s a real pleasure to sing Church Music. I especially enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas midnight communion when everyone gathers at 11.10 pm on Christmas Eve before the service begins to sing carols by candlelight.
Anne Stevens: Singing in the choir helps me to reflect on my worship at St Bartholomew’s; for me music, whether uplifting or quiet and contemplative, can be a wonderful way of communicating and celebrating faith.
The Worship Band
The band leads the worship at the 10 a.m. All Together Worship service on the first Sunday of the month using modern worship songs.
Beginning with just a handful of members the band has increased to upwards of 15 in total. Instruments ranging from piano, violins, cello, flutes and trumpets to guitars, bass, mandolin and cajon, along with our vocalists. The age range is wide, from 11 to over 60!
We have played at other events including our ecumenical open-air Palm Sunday service and the licencing of one of our Lay-Readers in Rochester Cathedral.
We consider it a privilege to serve God and his church, using our gifts and God given talents for his glory.
What do some members say:
Clive Southgate: It is an honour to be able to lead people in worship through playing modern music in the church worship band. I believe there is a place for music both ancient and modern and all things in between. The combination of scripture-based lyrics and emotion-filled music of some of the modern worship songs can bring a different dimension to worship.
Penny Beacom: I started out in the worship band as a teenage member of YPF on my flute. I have since graduated to the piano and really enjoy playing a range of contemporary music. I like the fact that we play the songs as they are sung rather than sticking rigidly to the notes and rhythms on the page - or maybe the band are simply putting up with my misplaying of things . . . ? It's great to be able to be part of the musical life of the church and I enjoy leading the music for worship.
Deborah Vigis: Like Penny I, too, played in a worship band in my youth and so joining the music group was just the excuse I needed to dust off the guitar that had been sitting in the cupboard for nearly 20 years! Playing in the band has given me a great sense of fulfilment and helped me to feel really part of the Church family. I was once told that ‘playing the guitar is like riding a bike, once learnt, never forgotten’, although I still feel I could benefit from some stabilizers occasionally!
Russell Edwards: My involvement in Hope Fest 2009 introduced Clive and me to the Cajon, or portable pew as I like to call it. It was an instant hit with us, able to produce a convincing, but not too loud, bass drum and snare sound. I treated myself, spent a few days practicing, and the band gained a percussion section!
Do come along to enjoy worship in a more informal style or better still, please contact Clive Southgate if you play an instrument and would be happy to join in!