Award for Andy Benoy

We are delighted that Andy Benoy, our former Area Committee Member, will be awarded a Certificate of Special Service, which will be presented later in the year. The announcement in the March issue of CMQ reads:

Andrew Benoy made a significant contribution to the work of the RSCM St Albans, Hertford & bedford Area over more than 35 years. He fulfilled a number of key roles on the committee as well as leading musical events and serving as an Area Examiner. He was also organist of St Michael’s Church, North Watford for 41 years. Now living in Sidmouth, he is organist and choirmaster at a local RSCM affiliated church.

Taizé and Iona Workshop

Saturday, June 8th 10:00–17:00

Come and join us for an inspiring day looking at music from the remarkable communities of Taizé and Iona. This simple and deeply spiritual music suits groups small or large using voices and/or instruments – please bring either or both – and different church situations. We will even write our own!

This event, at St Mary’s Church, High Street, Ware, SG12 9BA , will be led by the RSCM’s Head of Congregational and Instrumental Music, Miles Quick.

The cost is £3, school children free. Further details from Celia Higson Tel. 01992 461376

Rutter and Bernstein Concert

Saturday 6th April 2019 at 7.30pm
Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, AL1 1BY

Rutter Magnificat and Requiem
Bernstein Chichester Psalms

St Albans Bach Choir with St Albans Cathedral Choir
Sinfonia Verdi
Conducted by John Rutter and Andrew Lucas
Organist: Tom Winpenny

Soloists:Elizabeth Atherton (soprano), TBC (counter tenor)

Booking opens 14th January at
https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/whatson/music/john-rutter-magnificat-and-requiem

Concert by VOIX de VIVRE ‘German Choral Greats’

7.30pm Saturday 30th March 2019
St Peter’s Church
St Albans AL1 3HG

Choral director Neil MacKenzie has chosen a scintillating programme of nearly two centuries of Germanic choral compositions, punctuated by some fine organ works, featuring five of the leading masters in this genre.

Following two superb motets by JS Bach, the composer described by Beethoven as ‘the immortal god of harmony,’ the concert will highlight strikingly different works of a later German romanticism, which in the hands of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms could lay claim to being inspired by the idealism of Beethoven’s Choral symphony – ‘all men becoming brothers.’

The programme concludes with Schoenberg’s infrequently performed and technically formidable ‘Friede auf Erden.’ The expressive power of this motet, one of his last tonal pieces, shows his developing disillusionment with musical harmony and with humanity itself.

Award for Chris Muhley


We are delighted that an RSCM Certificate of Special Service has been awarded to Christopher Muhley in recognition of his sterling work in this area (and beyond) for some 40 years.

Chris directed the music of St Peter’s, St Albans for some twenty-four years before moving on to St Saviour’s, St Albans for a further four years. Since then he has acted as a freelance organist and choir-trainer at a multitude of churches, and has recently been appointed St Albans Cathedral Parish Organist and Director of the Parish Choir. Ten years ago he founded the RSCM Chamber Choir, which has continued to sing weekend services at the Abbey three or four times a year.

He has given distinguished service on the Area Committee, including a period as its Chairman from 2000 until last year. Many will remember his vision in arranging two highly-resourceful Convention events. He remains on the Committee as a particularly active Consultant, and as a ready source of advice and experience.

The Certificate will be presented by the new Director of the RSCM, Hugh Morris, at the Area Choirs’ Festival in St Albans Abbey on Saturday 13th October.

Organist vacancy at Marlborough Road Methodist Church

Marlborough Road Methodist Church in St. Albans is looking for an organist to take up post as soon as possible, following the retirement of our present organist who has been with us for ten years.

Currently the organist plays for Sunday morning worship, and on other occasions such as our annual Carol Service and Wesley Day Celebration in May. Throughout the year there may be opportunities to play for weddings and funerals.

Historically MRMC has a traditional musical style but would be open to new ideas and initiatives from the successful candidate, in consultation with the minister.

The organ itself has been well maintained and is one of the three in St. Albans used for practice during the biennial International Organ Festival. Payment would be in line with the current guidance from RSCM and take into account the experience of the successful candidate.

For more information you are welcome to contact the minister Reverend Rosemary Fletcher at rosemary.fletcher@methodist.org.uk enclosing a CV.

Want to Sing Regularly at St Albans Cathedral?

abbeyHere’s an opportunity to sing regularly at St Albans Cathedral.

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban PARISH SINGERS is a voluntary, auditioned, adult choir who sing at most of the 9.30 Parish Eucharist Services throughout the year, as well as at Carols on the Hour at Christmas and occasional evensongs. We sing a variety of music, but mostly traditional motets. Prospective members who are competent singers and sight readers are very welcome to come along and try us out prior to audition.

Rehearsals are in the Cathedral Song School on Wednesday evenings 8-9.15pm every two to three weeks, followed by a quick drink in the White Hart opposite.

The choir is very friendly and auditions, with Andrew Lucas – Master of the Music – are not onerous. Please contact the Cathedral Music Secretary, Lizzie, on 01727 890245 or by email:

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Calling Young Organists

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Olney is delighted to introduce an Organ Scholar Programme aimed at existing keyboard players who are interested in learning to play the organ as part of worship in church. The scheme will be particularly beneficial to people who have passed grade five on the piano, or who are at that standard.

For more information on the Olney Organ Scholar Programme, see this PDF file.

Sponsor A Pipe in the Harrison & Harrison Organ at St Albans Cathedral

Christopher Muhley – St Albans Cathedral Music Trust

The great organ at St Albans Cathedral was restored and tonally enhanced in 2009 and now is once again fully operational. A major programme of restoration and development by the original builders – Harrison & Harrison of Durham – was initiated in August 2007 when it could be delayed no longer.

For over forty-five years the organ had been used every day for rehearsal, practice, services and performances. Such heavy usage had, however, paid its toll. The mechanism had become worn and unreliable and it became clear that a full refurbishment could be put off no longer.

The programme of work comprised the complete restoration, repair, cleaning and adjustment of the instrument. At the same time some sensitive tonal enhancements consistent with the organ’s essential character were made including the addition of a 32-foot reed.

Through donations to the organ restoration fund and other gifts, the St Albans Cathedral Music Trust has been able to allocate some £690,000 towards the scheme. This enabled the contract to be signed and the work carried out. However the need to close the gap on the total cost of £830,000 is urgent.

One way of helping is through the “Sponsor a Pipe” scheme, which has been launched by the Music Trust. You can sponsor a pipe in memory of a departed friend or relative, in thanksgiving for a special event, as an unusual gift, or simply for yourself. Families, schools and groups can help too by sponsoring a pipe jointly.

A separate brochure (see link to pdf below) explains how you can take part, and what you will receive in return.

Please be generous in your support so we can also celebrate the raising of the full cost.

Further details: Sponsor A Pipe Brochure (PDF file)

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