School of Music
Vaughan Williams School of Music
The Vaughan Williams School of Music is a new venture that encompasses all the musical activities of All Saints Church. There is a unique focus on providing a musical education to a wide variety of people from all ages and backgrounds – ranging from outreach projects to young people in schools, to fun, friendly, and informative rehearsals with our community choir partner. It also includes an intensive musical education programme for choristers. The School of Music is named after Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), one of England’s most revered composers, who was married in All Saints Church in 1897, and who was well known as a champion of making musical education freely available.
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The Parish Choir sings for the majority of choral services in All Saints Church, including the major feast days at Christmas and Easter. The choir performs a wide variety of music, from earliest plainsong to recently-composed works. Choir members may follow the RSCM ‘Voice for Life’ scheme to develop their musical abilities and understanding. Membership of the choir is by informal audition and trial period, and the Director of Music is always happy to talk to interested singers. The choir rehearses 6:30–8:30 pm on Friday nights, and at 9:00 am on Sunday morning.
The Junior Chorister programme for young singers is for boys and girls aged 7 to 13. Choristers benefit from intensive musical education, including free singing lessons, theory tuition, workshop rehearsals and regular performance opportunities. Choristers are prepared for singing grade exams, and are occasionally entered into competitive music festivals for performance experience. The choristers perform in services at All Saints Church twice each month, and give performance beyond the church, both locally and abroad. Entry to the choir is by audition. Musical excellence is not a prerequisite, but rather a willingness to be part of a team, good behaviour, and potential to develop a standard of musical ability. Choristers come from all backgrounds, and applications from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged. For more information, please contact the Director of Music.
We are delighted that Brighton Voices Community Choir is our community partner. Brighton Voices is a friendly, non-auditioned ensemble, whose weekly workshop-style rehearsals give an opportunity to explore vocal development in a supportive environment, and to prepare music for public performance. Brighton Voices’ concerts raise money for charitable causes connected both to All Saints’ Church and to the wider Brighton and Hove area. Rehearsals are held in All Saints Hove on Wednesday evenings, from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm. For more information, please contact the Director of Music, or visit the choir’s Facebook page.
Each term, staff from All Saints Hove visit a number of primary schools in the city to deliver education sessions using the Orgelkids programme. The students learn about history, maths, physics and music whilst building a small, working pipe organ that they then play, by itself, and in combination with other instruments. This is followed by a visit to the church to learn about and play the church’s large 1905 William Hill organ. The Director of Music is always pleased to hear from schools who might benefit from this programme.
‘Come and Sing’ Evensong
Once a month, the choir welcomes you to join them in singing Choral Evensong, directed by guest conductors with national and international reputations. They lead workshop-style sessions, to rehearse and then perform at Evensong. Previous directors have included David Price (Portsmouth Cathedral) and Alex Mason (Lancing College). Rehearsals begin at 2:30pm, and Evensong is at 4:00pm. Immediately afterwards, everyone is invited to share supper at One Bread Café, enjoying wonderful food and getting to know other members of the choir and congregation. There is no prerequisite for joining in – simply turn up! Music is distributed on the day, but can be seen in advance by contacting the Director of Music.
The pipe organ at All Saints was built in 1894 by William Hill & Son for the newly consecrated church. It was initially a small instrument with two keyboards and pedals. Once the church building and east end were completed in 1905, the Hill company expanded the existing organ to its current specification, high up on the north side of the choir. It now consists of three keyboards and pedals, has 48 speaking stops, and some 3000 pipes. The interior pipework of the organ remained visible until 1915. It was then encased in a double fronted gothic organ-case of magnificent proportions designed by F. L. Pearson, son of the architect who designed All Saints.
Since its installation, no changes have been made to the organ or to the case apart from routine cleaning and maintenance, so the organ stands as a completely intact example of a period instrument by one of the nation’s leading builders. The organ was restored in 1987. It was one of the first to be awarded a historic organ certificate by the British Institute of Organ Studies as being of international importance. It has informed the restoration of other large Hill organs, including those of Peterborough and Lichfield cathedrals and also Eton College. You can hear this magnificent instrument in action nearly every Sunday, and at selected concerts and events.