- The Choir
- Music lists
- Music Staff
St Francis Parish Church is in the Anglican Choral Tradition, and as such (rather like Cathedrals) it has a dedicated choir, and a purpose built song school in which they rehearse.
The choir of St Francis of Assisi was established in 1935 when the present Church was built.
There are around 30 trebles (boys and girls) and 14 men in the choir. Most of the juniors are drawn from Applecroft School in Welwyn Garden City, St Mary's School in Welwyn and children from the congregation families. Voice trials take place each November when the few places available are hotly contested! A great deal of commitment and dedication is expected of the trebles who, in return, gain a free musical education, develop a strong sense of responsibility, and experience a marvellous introduction to the treasury of church music. The men of the choir are all local and give their time to the Church freely.
The choir sings at many other churches and cathedrals over and above the commitment it has to St Francis Church. In recent years visits have been made to Norwich, St Albans, Ripon, Peterborough, Portsmouth, St Asaph, Sheffield, Exeter, Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals. We also sang an evensong in Romsey Abbey and Aldeburgh parish church.
Next summer, the choir will sing at Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral.
The choir prides itself on the depth and variety of the social and spiritual environment that it fosters. It also has an excellent reputation for developing the talents and personal skills of young people within a supportive community.
It is widely acknowledged that a sound musical education significantly improves a child’s IQ. Studies show that music greatly improves a child’s capacity to learn. The commitment and involvement needed contribute to the development of important skills that are of benefit in both personal and professional life. Many choristers from St Francis’ have put these skills to good use and gone on to become professional musicians, barristers, teachers and successes in many other walks of life.
Between 1964 and 2010 the treble line-up was exclusively boys. In 2005 a choir for girls was formed, and in 2010 this choir was amalgamated into the main choir. So for the first time in nearly 50 years, boys and girls sing together in St Francis Church!
Since 1935, there have been a number of organists and choir trainers. Here is the list, but there are gaps. Please let us know if you have the answers!
1935–1964 Susan Frankton, Frances Frankton, a Mr Hughes, Roger Ellison, a Mr Bryant, and Sydney Weart
1964–1982 Malcolm Warwick
1982–1988 Andrew Bruce
1988–1999 Richard Harrison
1999–2006 Andrew Crookall
2006–2010 Elizabeth Green
2010–2021 Richard Harrison
2021-Present Eric Pavyer
1935–1970 A number of organists including Maurice Champ
1970–1976 John Marsden (his wife Jill ran a ladies choir called the St. Clare Singers)
1976–2021 Robin Coxon
2022-Present Michelle Boylan
Here is the music list for May 2019
Here is the music list for April 2019
Here is the music list for February 2019
Click HERE to listen to the Nunc Dimittis from Byrd's plainsong and faux burden service recorded during our 2021 Choir Week in St Albans Abbey.
Click HERE to listen to Requests by Anthony Caesar recorded on Choir Week in 2019 in Portsmouth Cathedral.
Click HERE to listen to the Sumsion in G Magnificat recorded during our 2018 Choir Week in Portsmouth Cathedral.
Click HERE to listen to King of Glory Bach arr. Harris recorded in Chichester Cathedral during Choir Week 2017.
Director of Music - position currently vacant
Interim Director of Music - Mr Eric Pavyer
Assistant Director of Music - Mrs Michelle Boylan