Chippenham Parish Church Organ and Choir
Director of Music & Organist: David Dewar
Assistant Organist: John Iles
Deputy Organists: Paul Fortune and Claire Beaton
Do YOU know a Boy or Girl aged 7 or above who loves to sing?
Are you an enthusiastic singer yourself?
Contact the Director of Music: email
The Director of Music is always happy to talk to prospective Choristers and their parents at any time. Singing in a choir amounts to a free musical education. As a church affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM
) we use the RSCM's Voice for Life training scheme for choristers.
There are also opportunities for Sopranos, Altos, Countertenors, Tenors and Basses
to join the Church Choirs : please contact the Director of Music
The organ in Chippenham Parish Church is a three manual and pedal instrument of 46 speaking stops, originally by Brice Seede of Bristol.
Over the years it has been altered, moved, and enlarged. It originally stood at the west end of the church, in a gallery (now removed). In 1879 it was enlarged by Gray and Davison of London, and placed in its present position at the east end of the north aisle. It had, then, an attached console on its south side. In 1965 a major overhaul and a further enlargement took place, with the work being carried out by Percy Daniel, of Clevedon. A detached console was provided, which is on the south side of the chancel, in a pit.
It plays a very important part in virtually all the services here, and is also used in recitals and concerts. Despite regular tuning, it is apparent that it will require major expenditure shortly to keep it in good order and available for future generations. We have recently started a separate fund for its renovation. We are happy to welcome visiting organists who would like some time to play the organ, and have set up a process by which any such requests may be dealt with. The application form and guidelines are available for download.
Details of the stop list may be found elsewhere on this site. Full details may be found on the church's website
The instrument has a Certificate of Recognition as having a case front of historical interest, in the National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR).
The Main Choir of Chippenham Parish Church continues a tradition of choral music in this place reaching back to earlier centuries.
The choir normally sings on Sunday mornings at the 10am, Sung Eucharist and for Choral Evensong occasionally at 6.30pm, save for the summer vacation.
There are from time to time special services and civic events at which the choir take part.
The choir rehearses on Friday evenings, from 7.15pm to to 8.45pm, and occasionally at other times as arranged. The choir is for singers of any ability and there is no audition. Although, as the rehearsal schedule is quite limited and there is a lot of music to get through, sight singing ability or willingness to learn is greatly valued. Currently the membership of the choir is varied, we have professional musicians, very experienced amateurs, and newcomers to Church music.
We sing at the 10am service usually 2/3 Sundays per month with some extra services. For example, we sing for Remembrance Sunday, and of course we have our main Carol Service at Christmas. The complexity of the pieces performed largely depends on who is available to sing for the service, so we can challenge experienced singers as well as catering for those with less experience (for whom special introductory ‘how to read music’ sessions can also be made available, as required).
We are keen to hear from singers who are looking to join a Church and who will try to sing most Sundays. However, we appreciate that everyone is busy and there is no pressure to sing every Sunday. We’d also like to hear from those who could help out occasionally as we draft in extra voices for special occasions. Just contact the Director of Music for an informal discussion.
Unlike a cathedral, the church has no choir school and boys and girls are eligible to join from a variety of different schools across the area. There is no membership fee, and choristers receive a free musical education by virtue of their membership of the choir. We use the RSCM scheme 'Voice for Life' as our training syllabus. Adult singers, see above, are very welcome and encouraged to join. All robes, etc., are provided.
For the less formal, All Age services the St Andrew's Singers choir consists of singers, of all ages, who feel that the time commitment of the main choir is too great for them, or who wish to sing less formal music.
Membership of this choir is for those who cannot commit to the weekly schedule of rehearsals and services of the Main Choir. There is no audition, and membership is open to all whether or not they are music-readers. It rehearses monthly, usually on a Saturday morning at 11am for one hour. There is also no membership fee.
If you are interested in joining any of the Church Choirs contact the Director of Music by email. Alternatively, application may be made online, using the online forms available here.