Director of Music & Organist Vacancy

St Thomas the Apostle Church, Hanwell, W7 is seeking to appoint a Director of Music-Organist.
 

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 15 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’:

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 Passiontide/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.  

Key Responsibilities of the Role
• Attend and lead weekly Friday rehearsal and 10am Sunday Parish Eucharist, and others if required.
• Direct and develop the existing SATB choir, organising and leading the rehearsal schedule as required.
• Importantly, to develop and execute strategies to increase choir membership.
• In collaboration with the incumbent and Worship and Music Outreach Committee, devise appropriate and creative music, which both sustains existing liturgical patterns and explores new ways of worshipping with music within our tradition. Presently, the incumbent selects the hymns and the Director of Music selects the Introit and Anthem (Communion Motet) for the Parish Eucharist. However, this is seen as a partnership so that the choir may ‘give of its best’. The Mass setting changes with the Liturgical Seasons
• Develop links with external bodies such as the London College of Music, schools and other music groups with a view to opening up the possibility of other appropriate musical expressions and gifts which will enhance our worship.
• Ensure Organist cover for all services requiring musical provision – self or others as appropriate. It is hoped that there will be a roster of Organists to allow the Director of Music to mainly concentrate on that role, and as a way of widening access and experience for other Organists of varying ability.
• Exercise good pastoral care in the leadership and development of individual choir members and the body as a whole.
• To attend as an ex-officio member of, and be responsible to, the Worship & Music Outreach Committee. This is a sub-committee of the PCC charged with over-seeing this central area of church life.

Person Specification
The Director of Music and Organist shares in the ministry to the choir and congregation to ensure the above vision is realised.  We are looking for a strategic thinker and manager as well as an able musician. There is an established rota sessional/sub-organists who can assist and play to allow the Director to give proper attention to the strategic side of the role.

Technical skills - Musical ability

The person appointed will:
• Demonstrate a high level of musical ability
• Preferably have a recognised musical qualification and/or significant relevant experience.  
• Be proficient in developing vocal and choral skills.
• Be open-minded, forward-thinking, encouraging and willing to work within a team.
• Display the “patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon”!

Skills and personal qualities
Ideally the person appointed will have:
• Proficiency in Church Music, particularly the organ.
• The ability to win hearts and minds in pursuing our vision for music at St Thomas’.
• Experience in:
 Directing music in a Church context
 Leadership and organisation of groups of volunteer musicians
 Developing and growing musical ability across a range of ages
 Working with children and young people.
• Well-developed leadership skills with appropriate collaboration.
• The ability to work collaboratively with a range of people  including choristers, musicians, clergy, the PCC and its sub-groups
• Good planning and organising skills, with the ability to manage the day to day business of running a local church Choir alongside larger projects and outreach activities.
• A creative and optimistic approach to developing music in a varied local context, for example a willingness to forge and maintain links with the LCM and local schools with the Junior Choir Leader.
• The appointed person will be required to undergo the necessary safeguarding checks (DBS), and comply fully with the Parish’s safeguarding policies.

Rewards
We realise it might look like we’re seeking a cross between St Cecilia and the Archangel Gabriel!  But for the right person the most significant part of the reward will be the opportunity to work with others to develop gifts and talents of others and so enhance the music and worship of St Thomas’.
Nevertheless, we wish to recognise the professionalism and commitment of this important colleague and, so the pay is presently £4000pa. In addition there would be ‘first refusal’ on fee income from Weddings and Funerals. However, there is no requirement to play at these services.
The Director of Music will be accountable to the Vicar. The Director of Music will be an ex-officio member of the Worship and Music Outreach Committee, and will thus, be involved in developing and maintaining the musical policy and practice of St Thomas’.
 

Background information
St Thomas’ is a beautiful Grade 2* church situated in suburban West London, and was designed and built just over 80 years ago by Sir Edward Maufe of Guildford Cathedral fame, in response to movement of population from the city centre to the suburbs.
Since its earliest days the worship has been liturgical and eucharistically centred expressed in a high church choral way. We have a SATB choir, including, recently, Juniors, who sing every Sunday at the 10.00am Parish Eucharist and also other choral events in the year, noticeably a Passiontide Devotion and Nine Lessons and Carols. The hymns come from the New English Hymnal and very occasionally other sources. We have various Mass settings throughout the year reflecting the differing moods and emphasis of the liturgical season, and include, for example, settings such as Schubert’s German Mass (Advent), Rutter (Christmas & Easter) Archer’s St Alban and Bowles-Bevan (Ordinary Time), Merbecke (Lent).
The church has only just recently finished a compete refurbishment of a three-manual Walker Organ (http://thomashanwell.org.uk/worship-and-music/hanwell-organ-appeal/). The quality of the instrument is such that the organ is now being used by the London College of Music for teaching purposes.

Since the refurbishment in 2016 and as part of the campaign we have hosted a variety of events which have proved extremely popular with the church and, importantly, the wider community. These have included a ‘Come and Sing Day’ with Ralph Allwood in partnership with UCL and Royal Holloway, and an Advent Devotional Concert by Merton College, Oxford. There is also a strong link to the London College of Music who use us for concerts and teaching. There have also been exploratory talks with a view to having an Organ Scholar through the college. It is our strong desire to see this and other areas encouraged and developed in the future.
Our Choir has a number of long-serving and loyal members, and as the ministry of St Thomas’ changes and develops, the Choir have an important part in helping to shape the future of worship in this place.  The leadership of the new Director will be crucial, enabling the Choir to develop its vital role serving the congregation, the worshipping life and mission of St Thomas’.

For more information, or to apply, send a covering letter and CV to Fr. Robert Chapman (Vicar) by 12 noon 31st January 2019.

Rev’d Dr. Robert Chapman 020 3302 1040 or fatherrobert@thomashanwell.org.uk