In the ancient village of Hackington, now a suburb approximately a mile north-east of the centre of Canterbury, St Stephen’s Church is home to one of the leading church choirs in the Canterbury Diocese.
St Stephen’s has a strong musical tradition with two choral services each Sunday throughout the year (except August when the choir has a well deserved break – but usually sing elsewhere for a number of days). Music is sung from across the centuries, ranging from plainsong dating back hundreds of years right through to contemporary works by composers such as John Tavener and Arvo Pärt, including works written especially for us.
St. Stephen’s currently has a voluntary choir of around 40 members of various ages including children and students who sing with us during term time while studying at one of Canterbury’s universities.
Rehearsals take place on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 7:30 pm for Trebles (children) and Friday’s from 7:30 – 9:00 pm for the full choir (- 8:30 for Trebles).
The choir sing two services each Sunday: 10:30 am Sung Eucharist, with a seasonal setting of the Gloria (or Kyrie in Advent and Lent), Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei, and at 6:00 pm Choral Evensong, following a pattern of full choir, mens voices, ladies voices, and full cathedral style Evensong. The choir also sing for an evening Sung Eucharist on principle Feast Days.
At each service anthems are sung and, of course, we also lead the congregation in Hymn singing (of various styles) and in the singing of the psalms. Every Autumn we sing in the Royal School of Church Music Canterbury Area Festival where we join with choirs from all over the Canterbury Diocese. In recent years we have sung in several cathedrals in the South of England, including Canterbury, Portsmouth, Bath Abbey (not strictly a Cathedral, but of Cathedral proportions!), Rochester, St Albans, Chichester and Salisbury, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship.
Choir members also enjoy a good social life, with each Friday rehearsal ending in Ye Olde Beverlie – the pub over the road from the church. We have meals out and barbecues together regularly during the year and many of the choir take part in other church social activities too.
The choir is open to anyone, so if you’re interested, why not get in contact?