St James' Church has a long and fine tradition of music. As well as the two regular choirs the church has been host to many artists and ensembles of international repute, e.g. James Bowman, Crispian Steele Perkins, The Hilliard Ensemble, The Choir of New College Oxford and Martin's own professional orchestra the Kensington Sinfonia.
This is a friendly and increasingly accomplished ensemble. We consist of about 20 singers. We rehearse twice monthly and have covered an enormous repertoire from Tallis to Rutter. We are fortunate in numbering in our midst 2 music teachers and 3 accomplished pianists as well as a trainee assistant organist who assist at practices and services. Past organ scholars have gone on to gain organ awards at Oxford and Cambridge. Future plans include a training and social day to ameliorate our sight-reading and tone production. We are sometimes augmented by young students of Martin who add a certain freshness to the proceedings.
This unique group was founded about 2 years ago and comprises ladies who claimed to be tone deaf - they have since been proved wrong in this self-assessment! Indeed they have given several public performances with increasing confidence and, yes, expertise... They are a vibrant, rumbustious group, about 20 strong, who rehearse every Wednesday at 7.00 pm in the choir vestry. Moves have already been made to form a male counterpart to this group. 18 men met to sing Compline about a year ago and made a splendid sound in the lovely acoustic of the North chapel.
St James has a very fine Nicholson Baroque organ with mechanical action, as well as a new Yamaha Grand piano. Both sound wonderful in St James, which boasts one of the finest acoustics in Surrey.
Martin Hall was trained at the Royal Academy and New College, Oxford (where he recently returned as a member of the music staff). He has previous experience as a sub organist in cathedral and city churches and has a parallel musical career as a conductor, pianist, harpsichordist, singer and lecturer.
He is always pleased to talk to anyone keen to join one of our resident ensembles. Contact details:- Heath Cottage, Reigate Heath, Surrey RH2 8QP. Tel: 01737 224653/07801064653 email: firstname.lastname@example.org ... or just come to the church and introduce yourself.