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BANNER musicChoir and Music  

 

St Andrew’s Choir, in and out of lockdown

March 2021: Our Musical Director, Jane Eldred, shares with us how our choir has fared during and between lockdowns.

ChoirPhoto030716cropIn Spring 2020 I updated you on what the choir had managed to set up in response to the closure of the church in Lockdown One, and I would like to give an update on our activities since, especially as those who continued to Zoom in the Autumn may not know much of what we got up to at that time –quite a lot considering!
 
We continued our weekly choir practices (reduced to an hour in length) all through the Summer Term. It’s been so encouraging to me that choir members have been willing to keep clicking on the Zoom link and participating every week.
 
At first, having been caught with our books still in the vestry when lockdown began, I tried screen-sharing all the music, but that got rather limiting in the end, so in early June Colin and I opened the church, carrying several suitcases, and took all the books home –heavy work! I then went round delivering them to members –it’s hard to believe it now, but the weather was very hot!
 
In the summer term 2020, the Royal Schools of Church Music gave us things to focus on – we learned the music for an online service for Music Sunday (which they use as a way of promoting church music, in June each year) and the St Albans branch organised a lockdown recording opportunity for an online Evensong, for which I recorded myself (so I appeared in a tiny window when the service was streamed).
 
For the last practice before the August break, we had a Zoom quiz set by me – I can’t remember who won! After the summer, things were easing and said services were beginning to resume in church. We began to make tentative plans to get back to choir practices in church and singing on Sundays. I discovered the joys (?) of writing risk assessments but this onerous task was absolutely worth it. We had all been pretty starved of music-making - except some informal sessions a few of us had participated in, in groups of six in people’s gardens –and were really quite thrilled at the prospect of being able to sing in church again.
 
So, after two more Zoom practices in September, we donned our masks, sanitised out hands and re-entered the building! Great was the excitement! Everyone had to find their place-name as the seating plan had had to be much-altered to keep us two metres apart. We spread into the Sanctuary and out beyond the chancel wall, where I tried not to get within two metres of the clergy on a Sunday morning.
 
I find it quite hard to describe the thrill of hearing the choir sing together after six months apart. They had not forgotten how! To hear a group of unaccompanied voices singing in harmony after a prolonged gap is very moving and uplifting. It was equally emotional when, after a ‘pilot’ service with music provided by just Maria, Katie and me on Sunday 13 September, the next week we reconvened in church and were reunited with David Boarder on the organ.
 
We got reasonably used to our new routine, where we robed up, and said the vestry prayers before and after the service, staying in our places. When singing, we all faced the congregation to avoid stray ‘aerosols’ reaching other singers – I would welcome congregational feedback one day, but I think this improved the sound projection and has led to my having radical thoughts....
 
The more difficult aspects were remembering to mask/unmask when not singing/singing (I frequently had my mask hanging off one ear) and avoiding ‘mingling’ (not much chance of that as I write in February)!
 
Zoom logoSo, during the autumn and into December we were in and out of church almost like the hokey-cokey! We were back on Zoom for practices in November and again got caught without our books, as it so happened that Maria, Katie and I had formed our small group again on the Sunday before Lockdown 2, so the choir hadn’t been in church. I did another book delivery, this time of the Christmas carol books.
 
We sadly couldn’t do our usual Advent evening service, but the Zoom one was a lovely alternative, for which we could provide some music from past recordings. However, we were so glad to be able to return to the church building before Christmas. Alan and the clergy team were forced to agonise over how many Christmas services should be in church, and how much singing there should be, seeing as the congregation could not join in. Our shorter-than-usual candlelit Five Lessons and Carols was an extra-special one for us, and I’m very thankful we could do it; Maria’s and Peter’s beautiful solos added greatly to the occasion.
 
We posed for a photo at choir practice on the Friday before the service, our last practice of the year, and last for some time in church as it turned out. We did get a bit more carol-singing in just before we went into Tier 4, in Bircherley Green on two consecutive Saturday mornings (spread out in front of the fence by the demolition works). We had a small number of appreciative listeners both times. Hazel had the best Christmas attire, by a long way!
 
We were also pleased to be able to sing at the Midnight Christmas Eve service, especially as the Covid situation was getting ever more serious. There were actually somewhat more of us in the choir than usual at that service, including some of the younger generation, in defiance of any visit from Father Christmas – perhaps because we weren’t going to have to get up for a service in the morning! That proved to be our last service for a while, and we have returned to Zoom –yet again being caught out with no books at home! This time most of the choir managed to meet me in church to pick up their books, I’m pleased to say!
 
I should give an honourable mention to Sue Coe who, as librarian, kept track of all the music and carol sheets –no mean feat. And to all the choir –thank you for your unfailing loyalty, cheerfulness, whether in church on Zoom, and adherence to every rule – not to mention lovely singing.
 
Our next challenge is to produce, remotely, lockdown recordings. This project has started and I’m honing my audio-editing skills (all things digital/audio have been a steep lockdown learning curve) – I hope the results will do the choir justice! We are so looking forward to the time when we will be back in church and the congregation will be able to sing with us again – whenever that can be done safely.  
 
Jane Eldred


Easter Music 2020, recorded by Jane and Colin Eldred

Recording layers of harmony
Jane learned how to use of special software during the first lockdown and she and Colin were able to record multi-tracks - recording things in 4 and 5 parts between us. The recordings below include the anthem that would have been sung on Easter Sunday (The angel rolled that stone away), plus some others. Christ the Lord is risen again is the anthem we might have sung on the Sunday after Easter.
  
This joyful Eastertide.mp3
Jane and Colin Eldred,
Christ the Lord is risen again!.mp3
Jane and Colin Eldred,
O nata lux - Tallis.mp3
Jane and Colin Eldred,
The angel rolled that stone away.mp3
Jane and Colin Eldred,
 

Listen to more of St Andrew's Choir recordings here

 

Jane’s contact details:

Email: jane.eldred.viola@gmail.com
Tel: 01992 503658
Mob: 07900 144010
 

And in 'normal' times...

Here is a little information about what you can expect under 'normal' circumstances!
Our Choir provide musical leadership and an anthem for the Sunday morning Eucharist on all Sundays except the second Sunday in the month, when for the All-Age Service we have a music group (usually consisting of flutes, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, string bass and piano). 

While we use a good deal of “traditional” church music, both for congregational hymns and anthems, we do include modern worship songs and hymns as well. During Advent we use Celtic-style services which make more use of the piano and unaccompanied singing.

St Andrew’s Church Choir is always keen to welcome new members of any age (from 7 to 107!) who will be committed to singing with us. We rehearse every Friday during term time in the church (Junior Choir from 7pm to 8pm; Adult Choir from 7.30pm to 9pm). We sing most Sunday mornings and at occasional special services.

 

The young choir members up front...

Choir - part

Organ

Organist

All-Age Service - Music Group

All-age service - music group

 

Selected choir members at Southwark Cathedral in 2009.

Choir - Southwark


Love hymn

Do you have a favourite hymn that we haven’t sung at church lately? One that means something special to you? One you would like sung on a special occasion? Alan and Jane have always welcomed suggestions as to which hymns they choose, but now it is even easier to make your choice known to them. At the back of the church (on the back pew in the nave) is a slip on which to write your choice (it doesn’t matter which hymn book it comes from) together with a ‘Love Hymn’ box to drop them in. You may also email your request to Rev. Alan Stewart (h.alanstewart1@gmail.com).

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 when we're able to worship inside the church building, 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.