Our Church Choir is a part of the music programme at St Peter and St Paul which serves to serve the church beautifying our worship through the gifts and talents of our community.
The choir has just short of thirty members (pictured right at Peterborough Cathedral), and there is an excellent balance of singers across the four vocal parts (eleven sopranos, seven altos, four tenors, and five basses).
Who is it for?
All adults! The choir is non-auditioning, but members are asked to attend rehearsals regularly so that our music-making can be of a high standard. We have plenty of time to learn the music each month, so you do not need to be able to sight-read.
Who leads the choir?
The church’s Director of Music is Lee Dunleavy, a music graduate of the University of Oxford, former organ scholar of York Minster, and Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He works alongside assistant organists Roger Palmer and Alvise Pellegrini, and organ scholar Michael Chamberlain, who accompany our services. One of the choir sopranos, Ruth Plackett, assists in the day-to-day running of the choir, and deputises for Lee when he is working away from the area.
For more information please contact the Lee on lee (at) leedunleavy.co.uk, or call/text him on 07817 695535, or contact the Church Office.
What does the choir sing?
The choir has a broad repertoire. Evening canticles sung in the last year include Dyson in F, Harwood in Ab, Stanford in Bb, Sumsion in A, Walmisley in D minor, and Wood in D. In the past year Mozart’s Sparrow Mass has been sung, as well as the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, and anthems including extracts from Handel Messiah and Brahms A German Requiem, Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Mozart Laudate Dominum, and Parry I was glad, have also featured. The church uses Mission Praise, though the hymns sung at the sung at the services led by the Church Choir are mostly traditional and led from the organ (the hymn during Communion is, however, often reflective modern song – chorally arranged and led from the grand piano).
What else does the choir do?
In recent years the Church Choir has sung Choral Evensong as a visiting choir at Ely, Leicester, Norwich, and St Edmundsbury Cathedrals, and led Sunday Choral Eucharist and Choral Evensong in Peterborough Cathedral and also at our Diocesan Cathedral, Christ Church Oxford. Further visits are planned for the coming year. The Church Choir leads the major services of the year – from Remembrance to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, and through Holy Ween and Easter, as well as, almost unique to Olney, the annual Shriving Service, which takes place at the end of the Pancake Race! It holds at least one concert each year, to help raise funds both for the church and its own programme of Cathedral visits.
Where and when does it happen?
The choir rehearses in the Church each Wednesday from 7:00pm until 8:30pm, and leads the singing at the 10:00am Eucharist on the first and third Sunday of each month. On the fourth Sunday of the month it plays a greater role in the Eucharist, and sings Choral Evensong at 5:00pm. On this “Choir Sunday”, there are rehearsals before each service. The choir does not sing on the second or fifth Sunday of the month, enabling members to either have a break from duties, or worship in the congregation.