The Official Website of the United Benefice of the Laughton, Ripe & Chalvington Churches

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The Pelham Choir

Our Choir is so-named because of the connection of the churches with the ancient Pelham family who owned local houses and churches and extensive land in Sussex from the 14
th Century.

Our choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and serves St John the Baptist, Ripe and St Bartholomew, Chalvington on a regular basis, and also All Saints, Laughton but only for special services.

Our music ranges from traditional hymns and renaissance anthems to modern composers and songs. 

Our choir leader is Joan Royle.  We currently have 10 regular members (4 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors and one bass), and other singers join the choir for special services.  At Christmas the choir swells to 18 or 20 members.   We welcome all singers as new members of the choir – young and old, male and female. 
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We sing canticles from the Parish Psalter at Morning Prayer on the first Sunday of the month at
Chalvington, the Psalm for the day, the Venite and Benedictus. 

On the second Sunday of the month, for the Holy Communion Service at Ripe,  we alternate Common Worship, with a setting by Martin Shaw with the Anglican Folk Mass (Book of Common Prayer) with a short anthem. 

In addition, we sing at: the patronal services of the three churches; a service of devotion on Good Friday; Easter Sunday; Remembrance Sunday; Bible Sunday and two Nine Lessons and Carols services before Christmas – and also two evensongs each year, in May and September.

We usually rehearse once or twice a month – occasionally more frequently.  Rehearsals are light-hearted with much laughter, and we also have a choir lunch and a choral workshop every year.   In 2015, however, there were two choral workshops: a sing-along Messiah on 25th April and Faure Requiem and Gounod Messe Solennelle on 3rd October.  In 2016, the choral workshop was 'Handel in Egypt'. In 2017 there was no workshop but on 13th October 2018 there will be Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

Sadly, since late 2016, our 2 tenors have passed away and the bass has retired from singing. One alto has moved away from the parish, so the choir, like so many church choirs is depleted and younger singers are not coming forwards. However, the remaining members join with the choir of Hellingly church to sing 2 evensongs a year, in Ripe or Chalvington church, and at Hellingly church.  The Pelham choir is joined by friends and singers from far and wide to sing at special services, so the tradition of having a choir for these occasions is maintained.

If anyone is interested in joining the Pelham Choir or attending the next choral workshop(s), we would love to hear from you.  Please contact Joan Royle at [email protected]

Choral Workshop
A choral workshop has been held on the second weekend of October every year since 2003 and is open to singers from far and wide. It is conducted by Stephen Jones and is led by the City Chamber Choir and it raises much needed funds for the church.
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Choral Workshop - Rehearsal

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Conductor and Pianists

The repertoire we have studied and performed is as follows:

2003 Handel Messiah (conducted by Anthony Roberts)
2004 Mozart Requiem (conducted by Anthony Roberts)
2005 Mendelssohn Elijah (conducted by Stephen Jones)
2006 Verdi Requiem
2007 Elgar Dream of Gerontius
2008 Puccini Messa di Gloria; Vivaldi Gloria
2009 Brahms, A German Requiem
2010 Fanshawe, African Sanctus
2011 Bach Magnificat, Britten Rejoice in the Lamb
2012 Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, Mozart Requiem
2013 Britten Four Hymns, Handel Coronation Anthems
2014 Excerpts from Bach’s Mass in B Minor
2015 Fauré Requiem and Gounod Messe Solennelle
2016 Handel Israel in Egypt
2017 no workshop
th October 2018 Bach’s Christmas Oratorio