The Music Staff

Organist & Director of Music – Jan Pringle

Choral tradition

All Saints has a four-part robed choir comprising of adults, young people, boys and girls who sing at the main Services each week. It is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). Choristers are trained using this scheme and a large proportion have gained Deans’ and Bishops’ Awards at Guildford Cathedral.

Choir juniors being promoted

The PCC encourage this choral tradition and generously fund the work of the choir. Organ Scholarships are also available for promising musicians. A previous Head Chorister is now Music Director at the Guards’ Chapel in London.

See the choir programme July 2017 to Jan 2018 here.

Choral Evensong

This lovely traditional service, using the Book of Common Prayer, is held on the 3rd Sunday of each month except August, December and January, when Carol Services – with choir highlights – take over.   We now look forward to the Epiphany Carol Service at 6.30pm on Sunday 21st January 2018.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Besides singing in church, choristers enjoy each other’s’ company in a range of activities including bowling, table tennis, visits to the theatre and theme parks. They enjoy an annual firework party, summer barbeque and Christmas meal. They also give concerts and visit hospitals in the locality.

Cathedral Visits

All Saints choir is renowned for its high standard of performance and is in great demand to sing during holiday periods at cathedrals throughout the country. Recent visits have included singing Evensong at Guildford Cathedral, Christ Church Oxford, Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals, St. George’s Chapel Windsor and Westminster Abbey.

How to contact the Choir

To find out more about the choir, perhaps to sing at your wedding or to join as a chorister, please contact: choir@bansteadallsaints.com

Choir News

  • The Steeple - June 2017

    As I start my fifth month as Director of Music at All Saints’ it is, perhaps, worth reflecting on my experiences thus far. For over fifty years I served as DoM in a number of churches in South East London before coming here, sitting at consoles that ranged from being set in “a hole in the floor” to “half-way up a wall”, but never before have I been positioned in what is almost a different room! I understand that in years past organists here sat in the gallery, unable to hear the choir easily or see them at all; I know just how they must have felt! I was encouraged to apply for the position by my friend Phillip Bell, one of the team of musicians who helped keep the choral tradition here alive during a long period when it could so easily have been lost. He told me, more than once, of the determination of the both the Vicar and the very loyal and talented choristers in this place to maintain what is good in the worship of God. He also spoke of the tremendous warmth and welcome from the clergy, choristers and congregation. I am fortunate to have been afforded exactly the same treatment, for which I am most grateful. I have aimed to encourage the choir to explore music that has been unfamiliar to most of them. Learning new material is always something of a challenge, but I have been delighted by their willingness to tackle new chants, responses, anthems and Stainer’s Crucifixion, a work of substantial length that they sang so successfully on Palm Sunday evening. However, I have yet to persuade more than one man to join the choir so the tenor and bass lines might be added to splendid treble, soprano and alto voices. To any men reading this article I extend an invitation to come along and “have a go”! Jan Pringle, Director of Music
  • The Steeple - May 2017

    On Palm Sunday, the choir and congregation will have sung “The Crucifixion - a meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer” with music by Sir John Stainer and we hope that it was enjoyed by all who joined in. This music was intended to be sung by amateurs and was written for the choir at Marylebone Church and first sung on 24 February 1887, the day after Ash Wednesday that year. During the junior choir sessions which take place during the sermon period of the Sunday service, the young singers have been learning about Sir John. He was an inspiring musician, composer and teacher of both amateur and professional musicians. Born on 6 June 1840 in Southwark, the eighth child of nine in a modest family, where the father was a cabinet maker, he died on Palm Sunday, 31 March 1901 in Verona, Italy, just a few months after Queen Victoria. He was a true child of the Victorian era. Apparently, he was a self-taught musician who could play the piano, violin and flute, and he had perfect pitch which meant that, when he became a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, he soon became their principal treble. When he was sixteen, Sir Frederick Ouseley (we sing his music too) appointed him to be the organist and choirmaster at St Michael and the Angels in Tetbury. His enthusiasm and talent rejuvenated the choir there and the church music - a legacy which lasts to this day. A few years later, when he went to study at Oxford, he was appointed as the organist at Magdalen College, where it was said of him “he is the finest organist in many generations”. He became the organist at St Paul’s Cathedral, where he had been a chorister. But, he did labour with some difficulties. He was almost blind in one eye and all the hard work he was doing told on his health - so, in 1882, he took things easy (!) and became the Inspector of Music in schools and colleges throughout the land. This was the time of the new Education Acts and the desire to ensure that everyone had an education - Sir John ensured that the standard of music teaching was raised and maintained. He gave of himself to amateur musicians and was knighted in 1888 for his work. The music, the hymns, we sing do not sit in a state of isolation - they were a part of someone’s life as they are part of ours. We do hope that you all felt that the singing of “The Crucifixion” on Palm Sunday added to your Lent and Easter thoughts and I hope that we will be able to sing it again next Palm Sunday. Thank you, Jan, for introducing this work into our church life.
  • The Steeple - March 2017

    2017 marks 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral - an act which symbolises the beginning of the Reformation. Key to Reformation thinking was having the Bible and Church services in one's own language rather than the Latin of the scholarly class thus enabling ‘the man in the pew’ to understand and consider his faith. Luther was not merely a theologian, being also an accomplished musician and hymn-writer. For him, music was ‘a noble art ... the greatest treasure in the world next to the Word of God’. His hymns were intended to instruct in an uplifting way - something we hope to do when we work together as a Choir. While church services must be in the vernacular, we do nevertheless sometimes sing in Latin. Here are two favourites, with their translations. You will often hear the Choir sing Mozart’s Ave Verum, his setting of 14th-century words: Ave verum corpus natum Hail true Body, born Ex Maria virgine of the virgin Mary, Vere passum / immolatum / in cruce pro homine Who truly suffered on the Cross for Mankind Cuius latus / perforatum / unda fluxit et sanguine Whose pierced side flowed with water and blood Esto nobis praegustatum Be for us a foretaste [of heaven] In mortis examine. In the trial of death. If you came to Choral Evensong in February you will have heard some less familiar words, set to music by Bruckner. Locus iste / a Deo factus est. This place was made by God. Inaestimabile sacramentum / Irreprehensibilis est. A mystery without price, without fault. Originally written for the dedication of a church, perhaps for us these words express the love we feel for All Saints’ - this ‘place’ of ours.