Music, Friendship, Fun…

Musical opportunities for young people at:

 St John the Baptist Church, Knaresborough

A welcome from the Director of Music

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this page. My name is Mark Hunter and I have been Director of Music at St John the Baptist Church in Knaresborough for the past three years. However, my association with music here goes back to 1972 when I joined the choir as a young boy, since when my own children have also been through the ranks.

Our Aims

The biggest challenge facing church choirs in the 21st century is to provide opportunities for young people which embrace a wide range of musical styles, whilst still maintaining the English Choral Tradition and allowing parents and children to work around the numerous other commitments and activities which are part and parcel of modern day family life. Membership of Cathedral Choirs offer many benefits, but the commitment required is massive and impractical for many. Our aim is to bridge the gap and offer similar opportunities, but with a far greater degree of flexibility.

The Benefits

 The many social and health benefits of music making as part of a group are well documented. More specifically, we offer the following opportunities:

  • Making new friends.
  • A free musical education, learning to sing and read music.
  • Performing with others.
  • Free tuition for Royal School of Church Music singing exams, festivals and other events.
  • Enjoying fun social events and activities.
  • Subsidised trips to sing at interesting and prestigious venues.
  • Earning regular extra pocket money.
  • Concert and solo performance opportunities.

St John’s Choir

 St John’s Choir has an excellent reputation and has performed in numerous UK Cathedrals and prestigious venues overseas, such as Notre-Dame in Paris and St Mark’s in Venice. The choir sing at York Minster every year and in 2018 also performed in Chester and Portsmouth Cathedrals. Future planned tours include Holy Island and Glasgow Episcopal Cathedral in 2019 and Malta in 2020.  We welcome singers of all ages, genders and abilities. The choir has released several recordings and former choristers have gone on to study music at university and into successful careers as professional musicians.

At St John’s the choir sing at Sunday morning services, as well as a monthly Choral Evensong and other special events. There is a weekly rehearsal on Monday evening at 6.00pm for younger children and for the full choir on Friday evening at 6.45pm.  However, we are very flexible regarding attendance and understand that families lead very busy lives! No regular commitment is required to join the choir and attendance at rehearsals, etc. can be tailored to suit individual circumstances.

Comment from Chris, parent of Isla (aged 8):
“Since our daughter has been part of St. John’s Choir, we have seen her really flourish, not just musically but also personally. Under Mark’s direction the level of musicality is exceptional, but also the support, kindness and welcoming nature of the Choir team and the whole St Johns community has been wonderful for her and our family to be a part of.”
Comment from Andrea, parent of Katy (15) & Rachel (13)
“Singing with St John’s choir has enabled me to perform with my children in some amazing venues. They enjoy the camaraderie in the choir and also the opportunity to earn themselves money doing something they love. They have both increased in their musicality and what they have learnt has assisted them in their school work and in other instrumental exams.”

All Age Service Band

 If your child plays a musical instrument, they are very welcome to join our friendly All Age Service Band. This is an ideal opportunity for young players to get regular practice and enjoy the experience of playing as part of a group, whilst earning some extra pocket money.  The Band play at the All-Age Service on the second Sunday of each month. Music is sent out to players via email about a week beforehand and the Band meet at 10.00am to rehearse on the Sunday morning before the service at 10.30am which usually lasts under an hour. All instruments are welcome and where necessary, band parts are specially arranged to accommodate the needs of younger musicians.  Again, there is no regular commitment required and all choir activities are also open to members of the band.

Tenor, Alto and Bass

The choir also welcome new members to the ‘back row’. St. John’s has a Choral Eucharist and Evensong each month and an anthem is sung within most services. There are occasional concerts in the church with varied programmes for events such as Knaresborough Festival of Entertainment and Visual Art (FEVA) and the Christmas season.  Practices for the full choir are on Friday evenings at 6:45pm to 8:00pm in the church hall music room (often ending in The Mitre next door!).

To find out more please contact Mark Hunter.