Horsham choral choir on top form

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St Mary’s Parish Church in Horsham has always had a strong tradition of choral music, and the present time is no exception.

Many of the choir, irrespective of age, are working their way towards, and through, the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) examinations. The RSCM’s Voice for Life scheme offers singers of any age and experience the opportunity to learn to sing well, with musical skills and understanding, and knowledge of the musical and historical contexts of the music performed.

There are eight graded levels of exam, and passing levels two to eight allows the singer to wear an appropriately coloured ribbon and medal to demonstrate their achievement. Last month, seven choir members who took exams and they all obtained excellent results. An external RSCM assessor awarded the following medals:

Bronze level: Harry Briggs, chorister (distinction); Jenny Taylor, chorister (merit); Brenda Large, adult (merit); John Welch, adult (merit)

Silver level: David Tilsley, adult (distinction); Valerie Lintott, adult (distinction)

Prior to the externally-examined levels, there are three that are examined internally, and of these Roger Lintott achieved his Dark Blue ribbon.

Jeremy Weaver, Director of Music at St Mary’s, said: “These examinations are serious, and candidates need to study carefully in order to gain the knowledge they require. Each level requires the candidate to sing set pieces and answer detailed questions on the music, and to demonstrate knowledge of the church’s year and liturgy.

“Candidates must also develop their singing and aural skills. At the very highest level, Gold, candidates even have to design their own church service. I am extremely proud of everyone in St Mary’s choir and especially those who are taking on the RSCM challenges - the results of the November exams speak for themselves.”

Someone else who is very proud of the choir is Valerie Lintott, who not only passed her Silver exam with distinction but also prepared the other candidates for their exams.

“They all worked so hard”, she said, “and now they, and others, are studying for their next level of exams.

“This is a really good achievement for them all, particularly when they are under so much pressure from their other various schooling, activities and responsibilities.”

In the summer of 2012 St Mary’s choir visited Gloucester Cathedral and sang the services there for a week while the cathedral’s choir were on holiday. They have recently heard that Hereford Cathedral would like them to sing there for a week next August.

The choir, who rehearse once a week, are currently involved in a busy schedule of Christmas services, which started with Advent Carols on 1st December and ends with the Epiphany Carol service on 5th January 2014.

The choir always welcome new members, and anyone wishing to enquire about joining should contact the Parish Office on 01403 253762.

Report contributed by St Mary’s Parish Church.