Music for all at St. Eth’s

From a wealth of choral music in our weekly services, festivals and weddings, to professional choral and orchestral concerts and recitals and also more informal concerts from some of our choir and congregation, music is alive and thriving at St. Eth’s – please read on to find out more.

We have two choirs at St. Etheldreda's - an adult choir and a junior choir (Y.E.S! - Young Eth's Singers) - as well as many talented, professional and amateur instrumentalists who occasionally play at services and concerts in the church. The Director of Music is Jill Knight  - Choir Director, Organist, teacher and composer. Jill Knight Music

Music List for Choral Services July-August 2018

Y.E.S!  – Young Eth’s Singers!

Y.E.S! meets on Wednesdays during term time from 6.00pm-7.00pm at St. Etheldreda’s Church, Fore Street, Old Hatfield. The group is directed by Jill Knight, the Organist and Choir Director, who has extensive experience in training children’s voices in schools and churches.  The young people in Y.E.S! are taught how to sing well together and use their voices correctly to achieve a good quality sound. They receive basic musical training and vocal coaching. There is also the opportunity to train for the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) award scheme, and eventually become a Dean’s or Bishop’s Chorister. Y.E.S!  are sometimes requested to sing at weddings in the church, for which each singer receives a small payment based on their experience and commitment.

Y.E.S! sings at family services at St. Eth’s on the third Sunday of each month, as well as at weddings and other special services and events. The young people in Y.E.S! have performed at Hatfield House, Wyllyotts Theatre (Potters Bar) and St. Mary’s, North Mymms. They featured in the Stableyard Nativity at Hatfield House Rare Breeds Farm in December and have sung in the Chapel and the Armoury of Hatfield House, at the invitation of Lord and Lady Salisbury. YES! has made recordings of several anthems which they regularly sing at weddings:

Y.E.S! singing "The Gift of Love" by Hal Hopkins, April 2017

Y.E.S! singing "The Lord is my shepherd" by Howard Goodall, April 2017

Y.E.S! singing "The Lord bless you and keep you" by John Rutter, April 2017

In 2017, after a generous response from the congregation and local community, we established a Choral Scholarship Fund which will support up to four young choristers each year for several years. The fund supports individually selected choristers with an award of £200 per annum, to be put towards a musical enterprise of his or her choosing. It will also provide for further training and workshops for all the young people in Y.E.S! so that we can raise standards and support choral development and team work. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to our fund for inspiring, encouraging and helping to secure the future of choral music at St. Eth’s for many generations to come.

Auditions are held at St. Eth’s in July for applicants who hold RSCM dark blue, red or green ribbon awards and will be 12-18 years of age in the school year September 2018-August 2019 (i.e. in school years 7-13).

This academic year, we appointed two scholars: Catriona Stewart holds the Garland Choral Scholarship, donated by Judy Bird in memory of her sister, and Cheryl Jeyakumar holds the Stratton Choral Scholarship, donated by Chris Stratton in memory of his father. Through the kind generosity of the Salisbury family, we were also able to award an organ bursary to Catriona Stewart to support her in learning to play the organ.

As part of its support for training all the Young Eth's Singers, the Choral Scholarship Fund paid for our visit to King's College, Cambridge in January, where we were very fortunate to take part in a choral workshop with The King’s Men, (the choral scholars from the King’s College Choir). Part of the session involved working in detail on some of the music we sing at our own choral evensong services.

We had a short tour of the chapel and were invited to sit in on the service rehearsal and watch the full choir prepare for evensong, directed by Stephen Cleobury. After a warming hot chocolate at the cafe across the street from King’s and some free fudge samples, we were ready for choral evensong. It was a beautiful service and in the words of one of our choral scholars, Cheryl “The choir sounded like angels”. We returned to Hatfield by bus and train, tired but exhilarated by our awesome day together.

As well as singing, we have lots of fun together. Last summer we enjoyed an Activity afternoon at Phasels Wood Activity Camp. We are looking forward to a return visit there on Monday 3rd September which, along with a training session, will start our new term. 

Y.E.S! Newsletter 24 and Calendar Summer Term 2018

We have recently appointed a Head Chorister and two Deputy Head Choristers from Y.E.S! 

Head Chorister - Catriona Stewart

Deputy Head Choristers - Lewis Gower, Cheryl Jeyakumar

Our adult choir at St. Eth's rehearses from 7.30pm-8.30pm on Wednesdays, and sings at the Eucharist each Sunday and occasional Choral Evensongs and other special services.The repertoire ranges from traditional Tudor and Renaissance choral music to more contemporary pieces by Archer, Rutter and Chilcott. The choir occasionally sings elsewhere and in 2015 sang two special 1662 prayer book services in the chapel at Hatfield House.

St. Eth's Choir had an away-day on Sunday 13th May, travelling north up the A10 to St. Margaret's of Antioch Church in the parish of our former Rector's wife, Rev. Ruth Pyke. We all had a wonderful time singing choral evensong in this beautiful, village church and catching up with Richard and Ruth. One of the highlights was afternoon tea in the beautiful garden of one of the churchwardens, where Y.E.S! especially enjoyed discovering lots of secret corners and dropping stones down a 50' well to hear them splash 5 seconds later. After such excitement, concentration for Choral Evensong was a challenge, but the choir sang well and the service was much appreciated by everyone.

Listen to our recording of "In Flanders Fields" , composed by Jill Knight for Remembrance Sunday

St. Eth's Choir singing Balfour-Gardiner's "Evening Hymn"

Further information about the organ at St. Etheldreda's can be found here: The Organ at St. Etheldreda's

There is also a small two manual, Norman and Beard organ at St. Luke's which has recently been cleaned and re-tuned. We are aiming to provide an organist there for a service at least once each month, and some of these services are being covered by young people in the congregation who are learning to play the organ.

We are now starting to plan and rehearse our programme of music and activities for the Autumn term. If you are interested in singing with one of our choirs, (adults or Y.E.S!), or know someone who would like to, we would love to hear from you.

Jill Knight, Director of Music
Tel. 01707 894949