Children’s Choir makes world premier at St Mark’s service

Children’s Choir makes world premier at St Mark’s service

“They could have chosen New York, Paris, London’s Wigmore Hall. But they choose St Mark’s,” said the Reverend Robert Stanier alerting the congregation to the first outing of the Children’s Choir.

The debut was at the 9.15an service at St Mark’s on November 6 when they sang the introit, Good news!, a spiritual arranged by M Stocks and sung as a round. The children began the piece, joined by SASM choir ladies and finally SASM choir men.

The Anthem, Be Still for the Presence of the Lord by David Evans and arranged by R Shepherd, was also begun by the Children’s Choir with the SASM choir joining in. The children also helped to lead the singing for the communion hymn, Let US Break Bread Together.

The ages of the 13 children singing in the choir ranged from six to nine (although the choir can include children up to the age of 13).

The idea to create the choir came from Robert Stanier and director of music Simon Harvey.

“Robert wanted to encourage more children and families to attend church. I have wanted to see a children’s choir at SASM for some time and felt there has been room for such a group to exist in addition to the adult choir,” commented Simon.

Simon has many years of experience working with the County Youth Choirs in Essex, albeit as the accompanist. He saw the creation of the SASM Children’s Choir as an opportunity to increase his own knowledge and learning.

At present the children come from a number of local schools including Maple Infants, Lime Tree, SASM, St Matthew’s and Christ Church schools as well as Surbiton High School. A number of the children were already attending SASM services with their families.

Simon hopes to make music a fun experience for the children and to interest them in music for the long term. He is helping to build the fundamentals of singing as a group and lay the foundation for a lifetime of music.

“Teamwork, a sense of belonging and growth in self esteem as well as fun through music making is behind the idea,” said Simon. “The children are also meeting new friends and developing their voices,” he added.

The next appearance of the choir will be at St Andrew’s on December 24 for the 3pm Christingle service.

Before singing at this service, there will be four Friday rehearsals at St Mark’s from 430pm-530pm on December 2, 9, 16 and 23. There will also be a short rehearsal on December 24 before the 330pm service begins.