Music & Other Forthcoming Events
Our vision for music at St Thomas’
Music is a central part of our worship and life as a parish. St Thomas’ is strongly committed to choral and organ music; it has an active four-part choir with around 25 members and has recently invested significant time and resource in the restoration of its Walker organ.
We want to build on St. Thomas’ established reputation and record as a place of music-making. There are a number of elements to this Vision for Music at St. Thomas’s:
1. Music-making is part of our Mission, and a way that the church can expand and gain new members. The choir should be open and welcoming to all, regardless of ability and circumstances, and there should be an active and ongoing campaign to encourage new singers to join the choir.
2. Music-making is a way that children and young people are drawn into the life of the church, and a way that their experience of worship can be enriching and enjoyable. We should also be encouraging of talent, and helping children and young people to develop their skills. The junior choir should be seen as an integral part of our work, and they should sing routinely alongside the main choir and regularly perform at worship. By creating a fun and fulfilling experience of Junior Choir, we aim to grow it, and to actively encourage new members to join.
3. Music-making at St Thomas’ should be open and enjoyable, but should also not be afraid to stretch and develop the skills of those involved. There is a strong tradition of special events, notably the Christmas service of Nine Lessons and Carols, and a performance of a Requiem or similar piece at Easter. These events are a chance to develop, but also to include others in our music-making as part of a bigger choir. Our vision is to extend these events, ideally having at least 3 such choral events each year, and to include more people in them.
4. St Thomas’ is and should be a place of excellence in music-making, particularly, but not exclusively, in devotional music. The Church has been the venue for a number of concerts in recent times, particularly since the restoration of the organ, and we want to extend this, both as a service to the community, but also as a way of bringing more people into the church. As well as actively encouraging further concerts, there are other opportunities for development, which include guest organists; vocal or instrumental soloists performing at Sunday worship (as an alternative to choral anthems); guest choirs, particularly from local universities and music colleges, but also other groups; access to the organ for guest players and music students.
5. Music-making at St. Thomas’ should look to its wider community. There is the opportunity to develop stronger links with the London College of Music, through performances and organ placements. We should also look to bring talented musicians into the church from other local groups and organizations, such as schools and amateur choirs. The ‘Come and Sing’ day in May 2016 provided one model for this kind of event, but we should innovate and find other ways of connecting with people and groups through our music.
6. Music-making at St. Thomas’ is an important expression of our faith and our worship as Christians. Traditional forms of music and liturgy are important in our identity, but more important as the way that we experience and express our faith. We are not traditional for the sake of being traditional, but because we find beauty and holiness in those expressions of faith, and while choral and organ music will remain at the heart of our worship, we are open to different forms of musical expression and experiment too. Part of our vision is to share the joy that we get from our musical traditions with more people.