St James’ Church West End
St James’ Church West End
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Church life Music and Choir
St James’ Church, West End, Southampton SO30 3AT.  Registered Charity Number 1132863
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St James’ Church choir at Portsmouth Cathedral

I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.  (1 Corinthians 14.15)

Our choir

We have at St James' Church a fully robed, forward looking and very enthusiastic choir. The choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and members now proudly wear the ribbons of membership. The choir engages in local RSCM events such as the Winchester Choral Festival, and also tours to local cathedrals for Choral Evensong.

The choir encompasses singers with a range of experience and ability, and strives to be inclusive and welcoming in every way to any who may wish to participate, no matter their previous experience of singing. A full SATB choir of roughly 16 members (with additional singers for special occasions!) the choir is always on the lookout for new members to join and our choice of repertoire aims to enable all members to sing to the best of their ability.

Join us

Outreach and engagement are an essential part of any choir, and we are always keen for new members to join us. It is highly rewarding and fulfilling working as a team, and indeed a very social activity!

Being a member of a choir is certainly challenging, both technically and musically, and requires a great deal of commitment. The end results, though, are well worth the effort.

The typical life of a choir member involves the following commitments:

Wednesday 7.30pm-8.30pm: Rehearsal

Sunday 9.30pm: Sung Eucharist

Every 1st & 3rd Sunday 6.30pm: Sung Evensong

We also occasionally have special evensongs, such as our Nine Lessons and Carols service, and the Epiphany Carol Service. The choir may also sing at weddings, funerals and other such occasions.

We would ask that you attend as many of the regular services and rehearsals as possible, in order that you benefit musically from each rehearsal and are kept abreast of our exciting and ever-developing repertoire!

So what do we actually sing? Hymns, anthems (some of which you can listen to below!), various mass settings, canticles and psalms. These all have their own individual challenges, but each member of the choir is supported and encouraged in producing a highly satisfying musical output. We also maintain links with other choirs and collaborate with special Deanery events in the area.

If any of this sounds like it might interest you - come along and join in! Our rehearsal is Wednesday 7:30-8:30 - no need to bring anything with you but a pencil. We are looking for all voices, and especially new young singers, who will receive RSCM Voice for Life Training and a plethora of musical experience whilst gaining confidence and making new friends in the process!

If you have any questions about our work at St James’, please contact the Director of Music, Myles, at stjameswe.music@gmail.com or come along and ask questions at one of our rehearsals.

The value of a church choir

We are indeed fortunate to have the wonderful English tradition of choral singing, providing a breadth of music which would not be otherwise possible. Its primary function is to help lead the congregation in both singing and worship, amplifying the mission of the Church for all to hear.  

Whether leading traditional hymns, or newer ones, the support of a good choir can bring the singing together in a very exciting shared act of worship.

A choir can also introduce music written especially for Church Choirs, which simply would not be heard otherwise, from 800-year old Plainsong, to Tallis, right through to catchy numbers written very recently by John Rutter and Bob Chilcott. This rounds out and heightens the worship experience, so that we can all feel kinship with the writers and musicians who have sought to express their Christian feelings over the centuries.

There is also a community side, in that a group of people who enjoy singing can get together to develop their skills in a Christian environment, working as a team to bring to life beautiful music, week by week.

Some of our favourite pieces of music

John Rutter: Look at the world

Bortnianski: Tibie Paiom

Farrant: Hid not thou thy face

Praetorius: The Lord ascendeth up on high

SS Wesley: Lead me Lord    Play extract

Tchaikovsky: Hymn to the Trinity

John Rutter: Requiem

Stainer: God so loved the world    Play extract

Farrant/Hilton: Lord, for thy tender mercies sake

A Lent Prose  Play extract

SS Wesley: Wash me throughly

Stanford: Nunc dimittis in A

Ireland: Greater love

Our monthly music lists can be found here.


Some of our basses, during Parish Eucharist

Choir rehearsal (aka last minute run through and hope for the best!)

The Church Alive Music Group

Myles Tyrrell, our Music Director