MUSIC & CHOIR
Music is an important part of our worship at St John's. We are fortunate to have a magnificent 4 manual organ and a full choir of adults and children. Sometimes our worship is also led by a worship band.
The richness of the acoustics in St John's make it a popular venue for concerts so we are able to regularly enjoy amateur and professional performances.
If you would like to be part of the musical tradition at St John's by singing in the choir, playing in the band, or putting on a concert, then please contact us.
Simon Winters joined us in January 2005. He was educated at Bancroft's School and St Anne's College, Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.
Besides St John's, he is also Musical Director of the chamber choir Felicitas and is well known to many singers in Epping as he conducts Epping Chorus (formally Epping Church Choirs Association). He also teaches piano, organ and recorder at Chigwell and Brentwood Schools.
Contact Simon Winters
Musical Director: Simon Winters
Our robed choir ranges in age from 7 upwards and is a supportive community within the church. It sings at the 9:20am Sunday Eucharist on the first, third and fourth Sundays, at our monthly Choral Evensong on the second Sunday of the month and at other special services, which include a Remembrance Day service and a fully choral Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on the last Sunday before Christmas.
Away from home, the choir has enjoyed visits to Llandaff Cathedral, Southwell Minster, Peterborough Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral, Chelmsford Cathedral (where the choir was described as “one of the best Parish choirs in the Diocese”) and Bath Abbey.
The choir enjoys singing a wide range of music from the likes of Byrd and Tallis through to the more contemporary styles of John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, Malcolm Archer and Philip Wilby.
Rehearsals take place on Thursdays: Junior Choir 7.00pm - 7.45pm, Adult Choir 7.45 - 9.00pm. For further details, please contact the Director of Music, Simon Winters.
New members are always welcome. Ideally, adults should have some singing experience, especially if singing alto, tenor or bass where some reading ability is desirable.
No experience is necessary for children as not only are they taught to sing, they are also taught to read and follow music as well as sing in different languages, including Latin! We follow the RSCM's Voice for Life scheme which is a progressive training scheme and allows children to work towards different “badges”. Children should be 7 years or older and all we ask for is a regular and punctual commitment to weekly practices and services.
The 9.20am Parish Communion at St John's uses a sung setting of the Mass composed by Simon Winters in 2006 for St John’s choir and congregation.
The Band, our instrumental group, accompanies worship at our UpFront, (lay-led all-age) service, which is usually on the second Sunday of the month. Currently we have a wide range of musicians but would always welcome new people.
The band rehearses before the UpFront Service on the second Sunday of the month at 9am. Those who can play to a Grade 3 or 4 standard will cope easily and the music is available in advance. For further details contact Simon Winters.
Built by Wordsworth of Leeds, the organ was given by Ernest and Aline Wythes to commemorate their wedding in 1892. It was completed in 1894-5 and the first organ recital was given on it in the summer of 1895. With the completion of the North aisle some years later, the organ casing at the east end of the aisle was added.
The organ case was designed by the eminent Victorian craftsman, C E Kempe, the designer of three of our windows. Originally, the casing in the Choir was some 6 feet taller and the was painted scarlet. It was felt that this was too dominant and the present dark green scheme was then conceived.
The organ was completely restored by Brian Bunting of Epping in 1976 and again in 2009 by David Wells. It is considered by musicians to be amongst the finest in the county. It has four manuals (i.e. keyboards) and forty speaking stops: see the listing on the National Pipe Organ Register and specifications.
The bells at St John's are rung before the main service every Sunday, at major festivals & weddings. There are occasional visits to other towers.
Bell ringing is an eco-friendly team activity that is open to everyone. It stimulates the brain and helps keep you fit, while making a glorious sound. In learning to ring you will become part of a global group of friends, start a life-long learning experience, maintain a traditional skill, serve your community and possibly get the opportunity to visit some amazing places.
If anyone of any age is interested contact: Ian Apps through the Team Office, come along to a practice session, or find out more about change ringing at Essex Association of Change Ringers.
Saturday Coffee Concerts
St John’s hosts two series of Saturday Coffee Concerts each year, one in Spring and the other in Autumn. These concerts last 45 minutes and are preceded by coffee served from 10.30am. They are generally in aid of fundraising and at the moment the focus is on building up a fund to help the musical development of our youngsters at St John’s.
James, one of our Junior Choir members, plays a selection of music for Lent 2021. Watch the video here.