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Melrose Quartet:
A Bright New Year

December 2019

A Christmas concert like no other - celebrated folk ensemble Melrose Quartet treated us to the finest rousing Sheffield village carols alongside new seasonal songs.

Melrose Quartet (Credit Lizzy St Andrew's is gaining a growing reputation as a great venue for folk concerts and it was no surprise to hear lead Melrose singer Jess Arrowsmith introduce the band's two-hour set with, "Wow, playing in a church! This is a first for us. What a fantastic place to play and sing a few Christmas songs and carols."

And that is exactly what they did for a sell-out audience of Christmas-jumper-wearing folk enthusiasts and members of the Hertford community on Thursday 12 December 2019.

The Melrose Quartet is made up of Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, James Fagan and folk singer Nancy Kerr, who is best known as a solo singer and accompanist to Martin Simpson (who played at St Andrew's in 2019). From Sheffield originally, the quartet have been gaining a huge following across the country in recent years for making music that truly connects with people.

Our concert coincided with the release of the band's latest CD, The Rudolph Variations, a joyous collection of seasonal songs, from traditional carols to comtemporary wassails. The tunes and songs that we heard came wrapped in a special Christmas show called A Bright New Year. It was a fun evening of music, with a few games and lots of community choruses.

The band's music is rooted in the English folk tradition and includes ballads, marching songs and poignant reflections on life. The connecting theme throughout the evening was an audience-participation game based on BBC Radio 4's quiz show Sorry, I haven't a Clue, where contestants are asked to sing a well-known song to the tune of another. In this case, the Melroses sang Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the tune of other songs (a total of 12 times) and we had to guess the tune. Winning didn't matter, it's only important that some of us - including me - had Rudolf playing in our heads to the tune of Jolene for the whole of Christmas and beyond!

There were serious moments in the evening, with songs such as A Strange TIme to Bloom, about finding hope in a dark place. This must have struck a chord with some people at Christmas. Other songs included The Three Drovers, a ballad set in the Australian Outback, dedicated to the bush firefighters in Australia; and Mount Moriah, a traditional Sheffield carol, sung a cappella by the group.

At the end, everyone leaving the church was murmuring their approval. As Martin Simpson says, "The Melrose Quartet are, all-in-all, an inspired ensemble so obviously playing for joy".

I would agree with that. And so would everyone who was lucky enough to be there that evening. Well done to Chris Seward for organising another milestone concert in the ever-popular top folk venue in Hertford. St Andrew's Church - a great place to sing.
 

Forbes Mutch
 

You can find out more about Melrose Quartet here

Glenys
Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning. During the period of Covid-19, please see the information at the bottom of this page.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
Unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark. However, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church - there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.

Communion

Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the age appropriate activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected


Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS DURING COVID-19:
What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves. For up-to-date information about current services (in church and online via Zoom), please look at details on our Worship and Prayer Page and note that we ask you to book places at our 10.30am Sunday Service in church (book here). Everyone entering the church is asked to wear a face covering (don’t worry if you forget, we have a supply by the entrance door!).
 
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.