St Giles Choir
The St Giles Choir is a volunteer choir. It leads worship at the 6.30pm Sunday evening services, meeting beforehand at 5pm to rehearse the settings, hymns and anthem to be sung that evening.
Under the encouraging leadership of our director of music they have gone from strength to strength over recent years and now number some 25 in all. Whilst some members have music training, most have not, but can read music and lend their own voices to that of the ensemble. Jonathan is always pleased to hear from new singers who might like to join and will offer a voice test first.
The St Giles Choir have also sung for evening worship at Portsmouth, Chichester, Winchester, Southwark and Norwich Cathedrals, as well as for local charitable causes.
If you are interested in joining the St Giles Choir, please contact Jonathan Bunney.
There is a historic ring of 8 bells in the tower, with a tenor of 14 cwt. The earliest two were cast in 1635 by Ellis Knight I, from a long line of founders in Reading (who, coincidentally, eventually relocated to Holborn in 1730). The two tenors were cast in 1685 by William & Philip Wightman of Clerkenwell, while the rest were cast in 1736 by Richard Phelps, master of what became the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
The Thursday lunchtime band has been going since 1964, and visitors are most welcome. There is also a subsidiary practice at 6:00pm on Tuesdays.
But please note that quarter peals are rung on the fourth Thursday of each month, and for Sunday services.
For enquiries about ringing, or learning to ring, contact the Ringing Master Thomas Lawrence
The St Giles Quartet
Four professional singers lead the congregational hymns, psalms and sung canticles and also offer an anthem at morning worship. They are drawn from trained, music graduates greatly experienced in the mainstream Anglican repertory, being equally at home with Renaissance motets as with Victorian harmonies and 20th century settings.
Nina Kanter, Soprano
Nina Kanter read Music at Cambridge University and was a member of the Glyndebourne Academy 2012, the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar 2015 and ENO’s Opera Works programme 2014-15, supported by The Kathleen Trust and The John Wates Charitable Trust. She is a Britten-Pears Young Artist at the 2016 Aldeburgh Festival.
Claire Filer, Alto
Claire Filer was born in New Zealand.
She holds a
Master of Arts with Distinction from her studies with Dennis O’Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice, a Master of Music from The Boston Conservatory in the US and a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from The University of Auckland.
David Webb is Former Harewood Artist at ENO, he has also sung for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Salzburg Festspiele, Teatro Real Madrid and Opera Comique Paris. He has appeared in concert with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. David is a former Head Chorister and Choral Scholar at Exeter and Truro Cathedral.
Crispin Lewis, Bass
Crispin Lewis began his musical life as a violinist. Following postgraduate studies in violin at the Royal College of Music he studied orchestral conducting and singing. He then founded his own early music vocal ensemble, The Musicall Compass. He is also the director of three choral societies, and regularly conducts symphony orchestras and opera productions.
The organ which today graces St Giles dates back to the end of the 17th century. It was built in 1678 by George Dallam and later, in 1699, was ‘repaired’ Christian Smith, a nephew of the great organ builder ‘Father’ Smith. It was this organ that was then rebuilt into the present church when it opened in 1734. The work was carried out by Gerard Smith the younger, possibly assisted by Johann Knopple. Much pipework from 1699, and perhaps some from 1678, survives today in the handsome new case made in 1734.
Minor alterations were subsequently made to the organ. It was rebuilt in 1856, when it was restored and up-dated by the distinguished London organ builders Gray and Davison, then at the height of their fame. Apart from replacing the mechanical key and stop actions with an electro-pneumatic action in 1960, the organ is one of the few historic organs in central London to have escaped twentieth century ‘modernisation’.
At the turn of the 21st century, and after one hundred and fifty years use, this historic organ urgently needed sympathetic restoration. The Parochial Church Council appointed organ historian and consultant Stephen Bicknell to advise on the best way forward. After considering various proposals the Parish appointed the organ builder William Drake of Buckfastleigh. Drake’s restorations include the historic organs in Lulworth Castle Chapel and Buckingham Palace Ballroom. All material from 1699 and earlier was kept, together with the oak case and other material from 1734 and additions made in 1856. New mechanical key and stop actions were made, replacing the poor actions of 1960.