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Junior Choir swells Haslemere congregation

The Junior Choir at St Bartholomew and St Christopher’s, Haslemere is helping swell the church’s congregation.

Set up just a year ago, the choir, primarily made up of children in years 3 to 6 from the local St Bartholomew’s CofE Primary School, is already building a reputation.

The Rector the Revd Chris Bessant called on the expertise of three professional musicians to pull a new choir together. It meets every Tuesday evening for rehearsals and sings in the main Sunday service at least once a month.

“We’re a broadly traditional church, exploring tailored ways to achieve a more active Christian ministry where diversity and all-age ministry defines everything we try to do,” says Chris. “The school is very well connected to the church and very close by. The relationship with the school is strong and active and that’s helped.”

“Our choristers sing once a month in the Sunday service and also perform in occasional concerts or other events, like Harvest Festival, Mothering Sunday and Remembrance, “ he says. The children are following the Royal College of Church Music syllabus called 'Voice for Life' and best of all, from their point of view, are paid £10 every half term.

Chris says it’s important to build a personal relationship with all the members of the choir. He attends the choir’s rehearsals. 

Parents come to church to hear the choir when it sings. “Quite a few have been surprised how ‘Okay’ that is,” says Chris. “It’s wonderful. The parents are just so proud. They bring grandparents. It’s all working to bring something good into play.” 

Formality is important for the existing church choir. “This isn’t a separate jazzy singing group for the children. The point is to integrate the Junior Choir into our worship, trying to draw the two choirs together, building an all-age choir for the future,” he says.

More year 3 pupils will be encouraged to join the choir in September. 

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