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St. John's Choir

St John’s Church Choir

Music has always been a significant part of the worship at St John’s Church and happily that continues to be the case. The present choir numbers a dozen or more regular singers who provide a choral setting of the Eucharist Service every Sunday morning as well as special services on Ash Wednesday, Easter, Advent Sunday, the Sunday before Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Epiphany Sunday.

The present Choirmaster and Organist is Michael Williams MBE who took over from Fred Parnell when he retired in 1985. Michael set about expanding the choir’s repertoire and introduced female choristers and now the choir has about 20 different Eucharist settings which are sung regularly.

St John’s Church is lucky to have a very fine acoustic and a four manual William Hill organ dating from 1897 which makes it very popular as a venue for concerts throughout the year. During the bicentenary year in 2012 the choir recorded a CD of Church music with Andrew Cummings FRCO playing the organ and solo contributions from several choir members. Copies are available for purchase from the church at £10.00.

Since 1978 the choir has formed the body of The Buxton Madrigal Singers, an augmented chamber choir who provide the choral forces annually for worship at Durham Cathedral  at a weekend in early September. Since 1996 the same group has also broadcast a Festival Mass from St John’s Church on BBC Radio Four’s Sunday Worship as part of the annual Buxton Festival.

Buxton Madrigal Singers at Durham Cathedral. (James Lancelot, Durham Cathedral Organist far right and Michael Williams back row, far left.