Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











St Paul's - Third Time Lucky?

26 October 2015

Readers may remember that on Monday 24 October 2011, the eve of St Crispin's Day (Patron Saint of Cobblers, and therefore very much a Saint of Northampton), the Northampton Bach Choir were due to sing at St Paul's Cathedral for the very first time. Unfortunately the Occupy London protests were at their very height, and all services at the Cathedral were cancelled that week. With less than 72 hours notice we relocated to Gloucester Cathedral, through the kindness of the Canon Pastor, Celia Thomson.

It's official - we're here again

St Paul's kindly agreed to us coming the next year, so on Monday 29 October we finally made it to St Paul's! This time the complication was with our coach company who went into liquidation the day before we departed. Our Concerts Manager, Mark, and the Chairman at the time, Jennie, sorted everything out, and whilst we lost a big chunk of money, we did make it, and sang superbly. A few days later we received a wonderful letter from St Paul's saying how delighted they were with the standard of the choir, and inviting us to return.

Choir members outside St Paul's Cathedral
Ivan preparing his fingering with 113 stops
to play with

So... today, Monday 26 October we returned to St Paul's ... but what would be the drama? The Cathedral hadn't been closed nor had our coach company gone into liquidation. Well, our expected outward journey time of two-and-a-quarter hours by coach, more than doubled due to a fire, numerous road blockages, and roadworks. We spent just over four-and-a-half hours getting from Northampton to London! So... our lunch break was ditched and our rehearsal in the Song Room had to be efficiently dispatched to give us a little breathing time before the rehearsal in the Quire Stalls.

A wonderful day was had by all, and once again we had very complimentary feedback from the clergy and Cathedral staff; one of our members enquired with the sidesmen how many had been in the congregation, and they had counted 352 for the service register! And that doesn't note the countless people who were milling around towards the West end of the Cathedral.

Looking down from the Whispering Gallery
The stalls are so huge you wouldn't think
there are 50 singers here

As at Coventry the previous week, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis were sung to the thrilling setting in B flat major by the Victorian composer Henry Smart, the Responses to the setting by the late seventeenth-century composer Richard Ayleward, and the anthem was the late Georgian composer Samuel Wesley's "Exultate Deo". Last time we sang at St Paul's the anthem we sang was "O Lord, look down from heaven" from the pen of another Georgian composer, Jonathan Battishill. Both were selected because they contain dramatic moments where the full voiced choir releases a loud and high chord, followed by a bar or more of silence. This effect was truly remarkable in the ten-second acoustic!

Having now sung Choral Evensong at Coventry and Gloucester Cathedrals, as well as at St Paul's Cathedral twice, we are now looking at where we might go next. Somewhere that can accommodate at least fifty singers is essential, and within "day trip" distance. That sadly rules out Westminster Abbey or St George's Chapel, Windsor, but we will report just as soon as we have our next exciting visit booked!