The Saint John Singers - All You Need to Know

The Saint John Singers is a group of accomplished and committed amateur singers who lead the musical worship at some of our country’s most beautiful cathedrals, minsters, and abbeys, whilst the resident choir is on holiday or otherwise engaged.

Established in 1989 we are incredibly fortunate to have Jeremy Jackman as our Musical Director. Jeremy joined us at the beginning of 2022 and follows in the footsteps of our founder, Ron Ferris and, more recently, Andy Phillips.

We warmly welcome new members to the choir and encourage anyone with some experience of church music and choral singing to contact us. We are keen to recruit new members to join our friendly, supportive, and committed group of singers.

When Do We Sing?

  • Usually four times each year based around the school half terms and the Easter and Summer holidays.
  • Visits normally take place at weekends over Saturday and Sunday.
  • We have four evening rehearsals on the weeks leading up to the visit.
  • The weekend comprises further rehearsal time both in the song room and the choir stalls. The schedule takes into consideration travel time, complexity of music and any specific requirements of the cathedral. Choral Evensong is usually our first service. We then have 2 or 3 services with associated rehearsals on Sunday.

What commitment do you expect from me?

  • A love of singing and a desire to work hard and learn are of paramount importance.
  • We recommend you attend a few rehearsals to try us out!
  • There are no formal auditions, but we aim for a high standard, both in performance and commitment. Our MD will maintain a continual assessment of members’ development.
  • Each cathedral visit normally consists of Saturday and Sunday services, with rehearsals and relevant travel time.
  • In preparation for our visit we have at least four advance evening rehearsals.
  • You will need individual time for note learning in preparation for rehearsals.
  • There may be several Saturday Training Days annually. These are used to build singing technique and repertoire.
  • Cathedral dates and rehearsal schedules are published as far in advance as possible, so members are encouraged to fix holidays etc. This ensures the choir has a consistent membership to provide a high standard at each visit.
  • Since we replace the resident choir when they are on holiday, our singing dates will generally coincide with school holiday dates. Please give this serious consideration before making a commitment.

Do you provide music?

In preparation for rehearsals music, together with a learning CD or sound file, is distributed by our librarian either on loan, free of charge, or hired at minimal cost. Members may occasionally need to purchase some copies.

When and where do you rehearse?

Four rehearsals normally take place on Thursdays or Fridays from 7.30 – 9.30pm at St John’s Church, Windlesham. Attendance is considered mandatory other than in exceptional circumstances, and by prior arrangement.

Do I need to be able to read music?

Yes - singers are expected to arrive at the first full rehearsal as note perfect as possible. This ensures rehearsal time is spent on interpretation and technique. Please note this is an important facet of the working of this group.

Will I need my own robes?

Most members have purchased their own robes from our approved suppliers. We do have a small stock which can be loaned. Clothing visible under robes should be dark in colour. Black rubber soled shoes should be worn to avoid tapping whilst processing! Members will need to provide their own RSCM navy folders - these are available for purchase at an approximate cost of £10.

Do you arrange travel and accommodation for the weekend visits?

You will be responsible for your own travel, food and accommodation arrangements. Many members car share and eat together. Group bookings at reasonably priced accommodation are sometimes offered for those venues not within commuting reach. We are a sociable bunch!

How much will it all cost?

There is an Annual Subscription of £50. In addition there is a fee payable for each cathedral weekend. This can vary dependent on the costs, but is currently £50. There will be no charge for your first cathedral weekend – a gift from us to you.

Do you meet socially?

We try to have a purely social gathering once a year. Past events have included a boat trip on the Thames with afternoon tea, a ride on the Watercress line followed by a pub supper, and a cream tea on a canal boat. All ideas are welcome!

To summarise...…

The costs involved are an annual membership fee, the weekend fees, travel, accommodation as necessary and incidental expenses. One-off expenses to consider are folder purchase, plus robes.

And the reward for all that effort?

The privilege and joy of being part of the tradition of Christian worship in some amazing places alongside the fun and fellowship of a committed group of singers.

How do I join or find out more information?

If you are interested in joining The Saint John Singers or have any further questions, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email our Secretary.

Contact Us

Rehearsal Address

St John the Baptist Church, Church Road, Windlesham, GU20 6BL