Music plays an important part in the liturgy at St Margaret’s and the hard-working choir sing two fully choral services every Sunday.
Each High Mass on Sundays (10.45 am) has an appropriate setting of the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei chosen from a repertoire of about 30 settings; Renaissance polyphony, Viennese Classical Masses, Victorian and more recent settings are all well-represented. There is also a Communion Motet, chosen from a very wide repertoire, as well as the occasional Introit. A psalm and 4 appropriate hymns are included, as well as an organ postlude.
We also sing Choral Evensong every Sunday evening, including a Psalm (plainsong in Lent and Advent), responses (usually plainsong), a full setting of the evening canticles (chosen from a repertoire of c. 30 settings) and an anthem, plus an office hymn and 2 more hymns. About once a month we have Solemn Evensong and Benediction which also includes a choral setting of O salutaris hostium. The choir is also required for Solemn Mass on various festivals: Epiphany, Candlemas, Ash Wednesday, Ascension, Corpus Christi, All Souls (Solemn Requiem – alternating between settings by Fauré, Duruflé and Rathbone) and the Holy Week sequence of Tenebrae (Wednesday – Victoria responsories), Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (Palestrina Reproaches etc.) and Easter Eve (Vigil and first communion of Easter). There is also the elaborate Advent Procession on the Saturday before Advent, which is normally repeated the following Sunday at Fewston Church (in lieu of Evensong), and the splendid Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Sunday evening before Christmas.
To prepare all this, we have a Friday evening practice (7.30pm – 9.00 pm) and 40 or 45 minutes practice before each service. Naturally the members of this choir need to be good sight-readers, to cope with a constant flow of different music (the only music we repeat regularly every Sunday is the setting of the Gloria bequeathed to St Margaret’s by a former Director of Music, Peter Jamieson.) We are delighted therefore that 4 or 5 of our young SMS teenagers have already joined the hard-working ‘adult choir’ and sing choral services with us on a regular basis. The choir is involved from time to time singing for weddings and funerals: we organise singing days from time to time with a visiting conductor (in 2012 we hosted the Diocesan RSCM festival directed by Alex Woodrow, the Bradford Cathedral Director of Music). We also organise a ‘day out’ one Saturday in the Summer to sing elsewhere (recently Beverley Minster, Bradford Cathedral for an ordination and Blackburn Cathedral).