The Church Choir

Music At St John’s

We are very proud of the talented members of our Church Choir which celebrates a strong choral tradition here at St John’s. If you would like to join us we would be delighted to welcome you.

John Granger

Organist And Choirmaster, St John’s Church Maindee

I joined the choir in October 1958 when Gordon (‘Pop’) Leonard was Organist and Choirmaster and there were 28 boys and over twenty men in the choir. At the age of 15, I became Assistant Organist having played for my first service at the age of 14. Being a member the choir was to be a central feature of my life to this day and I have loved the camaraderie, fellowship and music throughout these years.

I had financial support from Newport Education Committee to study the organ at Llandaff Cathedral with Robert Joyce during my three years training to be a teacher in Cardiff between 1967 and 1970 and when Keith Poole followed Gordon Leonard, I remained as Assistant Organist. When Keith retired I became Organist and Choirmaster, a position I loved then as much as I do today. I remained in post for nearly fifteen years before taking a break in 2003 to sing full-time in the Newport Cathedral Choir for ten years. I returned to St John’s in 2013, encouraged by Canon David Neale to restore the choral tradition for which St John’s was well known, and still sing in the Cathedral choir when not at St John’s.

I was awarded the coveted Archbishop of Wales Award in Church Music (AWACM) in 2012 and am a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers. I retired as a primary school Headteacher in 2007 and now spend my retirement immersed in church music, working with the lovely choristers at St John’s, playing the organ for services at a variety of churches in Newport and the surrounding area during the week, enjoying holidays whenever possible and loving life with my wife, Geraldine and our seven grandchildren.

John Granger

Organist And Choirmaster, St John’s Church Maindee

I joined the choir in October 1958 when Gordon (‘Pop’) Leonard was Organist and Choirmaster and there were 28 boys and over twenty men in the choir. At the age of 15, I became Assistant Organist having played for my first service at the age of 14. Being a member the choir was to be a central feature of my life to this day and I have loved the camaraderie, fellowship and music throughout these years.

I had financial support from Newport Education Committee to study the organ at Llandaff Cathedral with Robert Joyce during my three years training to be a teacher in Cardiff between 1967 and 1970 and when Keith Poole followed Gordon Leonard, I remained as Assistant Organist. When Keith retired I became Organist and Choirmaster, a position I loved then as much as I do today. I remained in post for nearly fifteen years before taking a break in 2003 to sing full-time in the Newport Cathedral Choir for ten years. I returned to St John’s in 2013, encouraged by Canon David Neale to restore the choral tradition for which St John’s was well known, and still sing in the Cathedral choir when not at St John’s.

I was awarded the coveted Archbishop of Wales Award in Church Music (AWACM) in 2012 and am a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers. I retired as a primary school Headteacher in 2007 and now spend my retirement immersed in church music, working with the lovely choristers at St John’s, playing the organ for services at a variety of churches in Newport and the surrounding area during the week, enjoying holidays whenever possible and loving life with my wife, Geraldine and our seven grandchildren.

The Choir - More Than Just Singing!

We are a friendly, enthusiastic mixed four-part choir and Currently there are 42 choir members: 16 trebles aged six to eighteen years old, ten adult sopranos, five altos, six tenors and five bass. The commitment of choir members, young and old, is to be commended and attendance at choir practice and for services is excellent.

We sing regularly at the Sunday morning Eucharist service at 10.45 and, occasionally at other special occasions/services in the evening at 6.00pm. The girls frequently sing at weddings at St John’s throughout the year. Rehearsals are held in the choir vestry on a Friday for girls from 6.30 to 8.00pm and adults from 7.00 to 8.30pm and on a Sunday morning at 10.30 before the service at 10.45am.

The girls work towards gaining light blue, dark blue and red ribbons as part of the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) Voice for Life training scheme. Being part of the choir builds confidence in the youngsters, encourages friendships outside the school environment and provides excellent opportunities to extend their general learning skills, gaining much from this Christian and musical education.

Linda Stevens

Assistant Organist, St John’s Church Maindee

I am a life-long member of St John’s Church. I was christened, confirmed and married here. I helped with the Sunday school, then, at the age of 14, began to play the organ at St Mary’s Church. Currently, I’m Assistant Organist at St. John’s. I particularly enjoy accompanying anthems in order that our Choirmaster can conduct the choir. As well as playing regularly for weekly services I am sometimes asked to play for weddings and funerals and I also teach piano

Linda Stevens

Assistant Organist, St John’s Church Maindee

I am a life-long member of St John’s Church. I was christened, confirmed and married here. I helped with the Sunday school, then, at the age of 14, began to play the organ at St Mary’s Church. Currently, I’m Assistant Organist at St. John’s. I particularly enjoy accompanying anthems in order that our Choirmaster can conduct the choir. As well as playing regularly for weekly services I am sometimes asked to play for weddings and funerals and also teach piano.

Choir News

Virtual Choir Christmas CD For Sale

Virtual Choir Christmas CD For Sale

St John’s Choir in Lockdown2020 During the past nine months, the St John’s choir has become a virtual choir, recording hymns and anthems for use in our services and also a virtual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas 2020. All nineteen recordings have...

St John’s Virtual Choir Recording

St John’s Virtual Choir Recording

The St John's Choir came together virtually in May to record the lovely hymn 'Breath on me breathe of God'. Through the use of modern technology and with the invaluable help of Choirmaster John Granger and technical help from Canon David Neill we were really pleased...

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

What a wonderful service as we look towards Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus. The church looked wonderful in candlelight; the floral displays were beautiful, a congregation of over 200 holding their candles as the choir processed in to Once in Royal David's City,...

Video Journal

Choir FAQ

Currently, the youngest chorister is 7 years old and the oldest is 91 so there is no restriction on age above the age of 7 years.

No previous experience of singing is required; commitment and enthusiasm are more important when considering joining the choir. If you are an experienced singer who reads music then that is an extra bonus!

Choir robes are provided for all choristers and might be a cassock and surplice or a girl’s/lady’s gown. All music is provided and the choir has a wide repertoire of music suitable for leading our worship.

We arrange regular social events and outings for the younger choristers up to 18 years old and social evenings for the adults. We find any excuse to turn a singing event for adults into a social occasion!

Currently, the choir sings on every Sunday for the morning Eucharist, excepting the third Sunday of the month, when currently an All Age Eucharist is held. The choir plays a major part leading worship and devotion at the evening services at 6.00pm or 7.00pm during the major festivals of the church’s year on around ten occasions during any one year. This includes the Advent Carol Service, the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, Candlemas, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

It is hoped that choristers will attend practice and services on a regular basis but the choirmaster is aware that people lead busy lives and understands that occasionally other commitments might prevent attendance.

It is helpful in terms of planning music to let the choirmaster know, in advance where possible, if a chorister is unable to attend practice or service because of another commitment, but absence through illness is always understood.

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