The Choir of St Oswald’s Church in Guiseley will be the next visiting choir at Bradford Cathedral, singing at Evensong on Saturday 20th August and our two services on Sunday 21st August. The choir tour regularly and have sung at St. Albans Cathedral several times as well as at Derby and Wakefield.
Ahead of their arrival we caught up with Martin Baker, their Director of Music, who has been in post since 2004, to find out more about them and what to expect later this month.
“The choir at Guiseley was about 3 or 4 people when I started and now averages anything up to 25 people, and on a normal Sunday we’ll have around 20 people, which is what we’ll have when we come to Bradford.
“It’s good to keep music alive, and it’s appreciated at the church which always helps – and we’ve got a supportive Rector. We’re recognised in the area as being one of the best parish church choirs, if you don’t mind me blowing my own trumpet!
“We have people who regularly join us, including some from Manchester, people who have been with us a while and enjoy singing with us.”
The choir also has a great mix of people.
“Our youngest member is eight and our oldest is well into her eighties, so it’s quite a range!”
St. Oswald’s holds regular services.
“At Guiseley we do choral services every Sunday, Choral Evensong twice a month, and we even do choral matins, which is something you don’t see as much nowadays.
“We also do lunchtime concerts on the first Thursday of the month, which is often an organ recital that pulls in about seventy people, so they’re always well attended.
“We do concerts around Remembrance, and at Advent and Christmas, and something reflective in Lent, alongside a summer concert. There’s plenty going on here, and it keeps me out of trouble!”
Martin was also the assistant organist at Bradford Cathedral for twenty years and later as organist and master of the choristers during an inter-regnum.
“I had some great times!”
Next, we asked Martin for some of the highlights for the upcoming services.
“There are two Choral Evensongs. One is going to be Sumsion in A, which isn’t often sung, but it’s a really good service, and the other is Walmisley in D minor, which is a old war horse – and people like it.
“Responses will be Sanders on the Saturday, and Wilby on the Sunday. Philip Wilby was Assistant Organist at Bradford when I came as organ scholar, so the link with Philip goes back some time.
“Anthems wise we have got Beati Quorum Via by Stanford on the Sunday afternoon and it’s Simon Lole’s, An Evening Hymn on the Saturday. They are some quite massive chunks of Psalms!”
“Sunday Mass will be Haydn’s Little Organ Mass, which is always a great piece to do. Byrd’s Ave verum during Communion, and Graham Thorpe’s going to play for us on Sunday so I can conduct the choir.
“The choir will be conducted at the Evensongs by our Organ Scholar Grace, who’ll be sadly leaving us this year to move onto university. As well as conducting she’ll also be playing voluntaries – Bach’s G Minor Fantasia on the Saturday and Messiaen’s Joie et Clarte on the Sunday, which will be great fun.”
You can hear the choir of St. Oswald’s in Guiseley at Bradford Cathedral on Saturday 20th August at 5:30pm for Choral Evensong, and for Choral Eucharist at 10:30am and Evensong at 3:30pm on Sunday 21st, with the Sunday services also streamed online.
“It will be lots of good music in praise of God, in a building that is very close to my heart, and in a chancel that has really good acoustics.
“The choir is looking forward to singing in Bradford Cathedral and we very much enjoyed the last times we came in 2018 and 2019.
“Do come along to listen!”
You can find more about the choir by visiting their website at guiseleywithesholt.org.uk/music/