Music is highly valued at St Philip & St James. It enriches our lives and worship.
The choir has the classic mix of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. At present the choir sings at our weekly Choral Eucharist on Sundays at 10.00 am. It is hoped to resume some evening services which were regularly sung prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. We practice on Wednesday evenings from 7.45 pm to 9.00 pm. Through our regular practice we aim to achieve the highest possible standard and because of this members are encouraged to attend even when they won’t be at a particular service. it is appreciated that no one can be present all the time.
Other additional services include a Requiem for All Souls (Fauré), Nine Lessons and Carols, Civic Service, Weddings and Funerals.
Our choir forms the core of Knutsford Deanery Combined Choir which, prior to the pandemic sang choral evensong at various churches in the Deanery and beyond each month. Its members include singers from St Bartholomew Wilmslow, St Helen Witton Northwich, Christ Church Didsbury and Alderley Edge Methodist Church all of whom attend our weekly practice.
Three of our choir members and one from the Deanery Choir are members of the Royal School of Church Music Northern Cathedral Singers. Further information about the Northern Cathedral Singers can be found here.
We are a friendly group who welcome new faces, love singing and have a good sense of humour.
If you would like to find out more place come along to one of our services or practices and speak with Peter (our organist and choir master) or with one of the choir members. You can also reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook.
The Organ at St Philip and St James – a short history
Records show that the church has had an organ in its present situation from its consecration on 12th January 1853. Details of its builder are not known but it is quite possible that some of its original pipework is still in use in the present organ. The organ was enlarged from its original size of two manuals to three in 1893, and a further three stops (ranks of pipes) were added in 1908.
In 1923 Messrs Ernest Wadsworth Ltd. carried out a restoration of the organ costing £1500. The organ then had 31 speaking stops.
In 1951 the organ was reported to be in a very bad condition and Wadsworth’s suggested the best plan would be to install a new organ costing £6500. Funds for this were not available and the matter was deferred. 10 years on the ‘Vicar reported that the organ had died on 23rd Dec 1961’.
On 9th July 1962 the PCC resolved that Jardine and Co of Manchester re-build the organ. The organ was reduced from three to two manuals with 26 speaking stops. Those stops have remained the same since that time with one exception when the deepest note (32 foot Acoustic Bass) was adjusted to produce its sound from the quieter 16 foot Bourdon and not the louder 16 foot Open Wood. This adjustment was made in 1991 when our present Organ Builders, George Sixsmith & Son Ltd., carried out a restoration and installed a detached and mobile console. The restoration included a thorough cleaning of all the pipework. A necessary job after nearly thirty years accumulated dirt and dust had affected the quality of sound.
The most recent restoration, completed in 2020, included the following work:
- Re-leathering all three bellows
- Install direct electric drawstop solenoids to the Great
- Remove and clean Great pipework and Swell reeds
- Remove, repair and clean Pedal reeds, some of which had collapsed
- Install a new Great Bar Chest fitted with direct electric under action
- Make and fit a new Swell front and replace its engine - The Swell pipes are all contained in a box which has a louvred shutters on its front. The old front was very ineffective insofar as it did not dampen sound so well and when opened did not grow noticeably louder in any satisfactory way. The new front is infinitely more sensitive.
- Re-furbish the blower
- Install better lighting in the organ chamber
- Professional Organ Adviser Fee
The total cost was just over £85,000 of which just under £13,000 was recoverable from VAT.