Choir and Music
In the villages of Hanslope and Castlethorpe are St James’ Church and SS Simon & Jude, home, between them, to the Benefice Choir. This choir has a strong and growing musical tradition with two Sung Masses every Sunday in each church throughout the year, together with Feasts and Festivals. Rehearsals normally take place in St James Church.
The choir was first mentioned in village documentation in February 1894 and in July 1894 the two Castlethorpe and Hanslope Choirs combined and by 1895 the choir had increased in numbers and parts.
The Choir today has a traditional structure as a mixed choir (both male and female voices) consisting of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass voices with an occasional role for baritone voices. New members are always welcome.
The Director of Music’s post is currently vacant after Alex Allcock-Rouse stepped down in the early Summer.
The Choir Assistant is Isobel Rodrigo
Rehearsals normally take place on Thursday evenings from 6.15 – 7.15 for the full choir.
Rehearsals usually take place in Hanslope St James Church but on occasions this moves to Castlethorpe when rehearsals are for services to take place there.
New members are always welcome and, whilst the standard is increasing all the time, the emphasis is as much on enjoyment and participation.
The choir supports the musical life of the parish and often participates in fund raising events and wider village events too.
Within St James there is a newly-renovated pipe organ where the console is to the South side of the nave and the pipes in a gallery above the congregation (built around 2000) at the West end. This allows the organ music to fill the whole church and gives a whole new meaning to “uplifting”! The organ, originally from St Andrew’s Old Headington, was installed in 2009 after a mammoth £86,000 fundraising effort.
Fr Gary is pictured alongside Sue and Andy Grout, Diane Gordon and Jan Taylor who master-minded the fundraising effort. The original organ was sited in the North wall of the chancel (now replaced by a beautiful oak screen and doors through the archway to the Watts gallery).