Steyning church choir helps launch new book

Oxford academic  Andrew Gant Picture: Katie Vandyck
Oxford academic Andrew Gant Picture: Katie Vandyck

CHURCH music expert Andrew Gant will be introducing his book in Steyning next week.

The Oxford academic is coming to Steyning Parish Church on Tuesday, October 20, at 7.30pm to talk but his book, O Sing Unto the Lord, A History of English Church Music.

Organised by Steyning Bookshop, the event will feature the church choir, led by choirmaster Brian Sawyer, who will be accompanying the talk.

Sara Bowers, bookshop owner, said: “We are really thrilled to be holding this particularly special author event, the first that we have ever held at St Andrew and St Cuthman, Steyning, our beautiful parish church.”

Mr Gant has sung with many leading UK choirs, including The Sixteen and the Monteverdi Choir. As choirmaster of the Queen’s Chapel Royal, he led the choir at the Golden Jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral in 2002.

His first visit to Steyning was last December, with his book Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir, a warm and joyful study of the origins of our best-loved Christmas songs.

Sara added: “The audience at Bramber’s St Nicholas Church had a delightful evening at its launch there, with local choir Kaleidoscope providing a lively contribution to the event.”

One audience menber said afterwards: “What a delightful young man.”

This new book, published by Faber, traces English church music from Anglo-Saxon origins to the present and is a history of the music and of the people who made, sang and listened to it, showing the role church music has played in ordinary lives, and why it still remains so popular.

Andrew’s talk will be accompanied by the St Andrews Church choir with choirmaster Brian Sawyer.

Peter Phillips, conductor at The Tallis Scholars, said: “Andrew Gant has researched deeply into his subject, bringing a wonderfully lively account of one of our greatest stories to the written page.”

Tickets are £15, to include a copy of O Sing Unto the Lord. Wine will be served.

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