St Bride's: News - Christmas Round-up

Updated 05/07/20: St Bride's Church is open for general visiting and private prayer; however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, our Sunday choral services and lunchtime recitals remain online. Further Information →

St Bride's: News

Christmas Round-up

Christmas Round-up

Canon Alison Joyce, Rector of St Bride's, and Robert Jones, Director of Music, report on a bumper Advent and Christmas season at St Bride's

The Rector's Report

We had a record-breaking number of carol services throughout December, which were, as always, moving and joyful in equal measure.

It is always a great pleasure to welcome back the local companies, national charities, and those working in every area of print, journalism and the media, for whom we host services each year. One of the highlights was the Communications Industry Carol Service, at which Farrah Storr, Editor of Elle magazine (UK), gave a poignant and memorable address that you can listen to below. We were also delighted to welcome for the first time the Financial Times.

We commissioned the outstanding photographer Slater King to capture the spirit of some of our special Advent and Christmas services.  These will feature on the new St Bride's website that we shall be launching this Spring.

Speaking of carols, Carole Cox must be mentioned in despatches for her superhuman efforts in producing a prodigious number of mince pies for the services at which we offer refreshments. We are greatly in her debt, as always; indeed, the Feeding of the Five Thousand pales into insignificance against such a mighty feat.

The popularity of our new service for Christmas Eve afternoon, Sing Choirs of Angels, again exceeded all expectations - the first person turned up at 2.10 pm (for a 4.30 service!) to make sure he got a seat. It did indeed attract a full house.

Canon Alison Joyce

The Director of Music's Report

The choir's Christmas was as busy and rewarding as ever, with all our regular fixtures from both the old and new Fleet Street returning for their annual carol services.

I was particularly pleased with both the levels of congregational attendance and the standard of singing at all our 'home' events, namely the four Sunday evening offerings, Fleet Street Carols and the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Especially noteworthy was the extraordinary popularity of 'Sing, Choirs of Angels' at 4:30 on Christmas Eve - this is a service which we introduced a couple of years ago (almost by accident!) and which is clearly fulfilling a need.

I choose the choir's Christmas repertoire each year with the aim of providing variety and minimising repetition of pieces - old favourites have an honoured place, but newer music is not forgotten.

Personal highlights this year included a new arrangement of We Three Kings by Andrew Carter (who celebrated his 80th birthday last year), featuring solo contributions from all our regular basses, as well as other pieces by living composers. These ranged from household names such as John Rutter, through BBC competition winners such as Bernard Trafford (who was present to hear his piece and reminded me that I had sung in a concert under his direction in 1976!), to musicians who have performed at St Bride's, not least our regular alto Bob Bryan.

Thanks are due to all our regular musicians, in particular our Organist, Matthew Morley, who hardly missed a single service, and not forgetting our willing army of deputy singers, who helped us keep the show on the road when the inevitable seasonal illnesses struck - only just over ten months before we do it all again!

Robert Jones

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