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Weekend residence at Ripon Cathedral
Steel City Choristers enjoyed its first residential tour as it sang a weekend of services at Ripon Cathedral.
The Saturday was the day of the St Wilfrid’s Procession, celebrating Ripon’s patronal saint, and the town was taken over by floats and people in fancy dress. Dinosaurs, superheroes and 80s dancers came into the cathedral for a short service and presentation, before a quieter group stayed on for Evensong. Sunday was a bigger day musically, with a Eucharist service and Sunday Evensong. You can watch the morning service on YouTube here.
Revd Canon Michael Gisbourne, Canon Precentor, said:
“On behalf of the Dean and Chapter of Ripon Cathedral, thank you for visiting Ripon and enhancing the worship of the congregations over the weekend. It was excellent. So many people were impressed with the quality and tone of your music. It is a phenomenal achievement to produce the standard of music you did, which was on a par with cathedral standards without the resources usually associated with a cathedral music foundation. You are all to be congratulated on the work that has been put in to create a choir that is has professional standards and with all choir members seeming to enjoy the experience so much.”
Nomination of Vivien Pike for Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year
14 July 2023
We are proud to have nominated Vivien Pike for Classic FM’s Music Teacher of the Year. Vivien teaches our choristers, as well as many other children and adults from round the city. She has devoted her whole life to teaching South Yorkshire to sing. She has had an amazing career and is currently in her 55th year of teaching. She continues despite her recent hip replacement and an upcoming knee replacement. Her lifetime career of teaching and inspiring children to sing continues even well into her ninth decade, and it is lovely to celebrate this through this nomination. It would be amazing if she won – she deserves it! You can read our nomination here.
“Quite simply, without Vivien Pike I wouldn’t be the singer I am today. Not only is she unmatched in teaching technique, but she taught me what performing requires and was a huge support to a very anxious and angry teenager! Her success record speaks for itself, but I can think of no worthier person for this award just for guiding this young soprano not only vocally, but also personally.” Ella Taylor, soprano
Our first Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral
21 May 2023
We received a very warm welcome this weekend from Dean Abi Thomson as we sang our first service at Sheffield Cathedral. For many of our choristers it was their first time singing in a cathedral. For some of our other members it brought back memories of many years of service in the building. All 39 of our singers enjoyed filling the expansive acoustic with our voices, supported on the organ by former Sheffield Director of Music, Neil Taylor.
We sang canticles by Stanford in B flat, responses by Leighton, Psalm 47, and Bainton’s And I saw a new heaven.
Coincidently, the service fell exactly a year to the day since the full choir sang its first ever a service of choral Evensong, to mark the departure of our founding Director of Music, Joshua Stephens.
A weekend of music-making with Hilary Davan Wetton
4 March 2023
We had a fabulous couple of days making music with Hilary Davan Wetton who has been a huge support and encouragement to us since we began in 2020.
Our time together concluded with an informal performance at St Matthew’s Church, Sheffield accompanied by Christopher Cromar on the organ. We sang Tallis If ye Love Me, Leighton Preces and Responses, Howells Like as a Hart, Wesley Wash me Throughly and Harwood Magnifact & Nunc Dimitis in Ab.
“Steel City Choristers is manifestly thriving under the fine Musical leadership of Eleanor Jarvis and a dedicated committee who have brought something really special to fruition. To keep high quality church music alive after the difficulties of Covid is a triumph and an inspiration. I think it is a glorious achievement. It’s like watching a phoenix emerging from the ashes, growing bigger and stronger all the time. Their’s is a story of vision and determination triumphing over adversity; I am proud to be associated with them. Both front and back rows were a delight: committed, responsive and friendly. I’ve had the most wonderful time.”
New Year Celebration and Launch of our first Trustees’ Annual Report
13 January 2023
The choir and their Friends and supporters gathered today at St John’s Church Owlerton for our first New Year Celebration.
After enjoying a wonderful spread of food, we heard from our Director of Music, Eleanor Jarvis, and had a quiz from the Trustees to help us look back at last year and to celebrate the launch of our first Annual Report to the Charity Commission.
The evening concluded with the presentation of a cheque for funds raised by the choir community for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital, certificates for the choristers, and of course some singing by the choir!
Compassionate Sheffield Covid-19 memorial event
13 November 2022
Yesterday we partnered with Highfield Trinity Church to put on ‘Lament’, a Compassionate Sheffield Covid-19 memorial event. Our choral music complemented a textile art exhibition called Stations of Lament by Louise Carr, creating a soundscape for the themes of weeping, chaos, confusion, protest, comfort, truth telling, desolation and emerging hope.
Rev Naomi Cooke said,
“I thought it was so good, powerful in its simplicity, creative, beautiful, moving…it was very memorable.”
New funding recognises Steel City Choristers’ support for churches across Sheffield
14 September 2022
The innovative way in which Steel City Choristers is helping sustain the choral tradition in churches across Sheffield has been recognised through a grant from The Ouseley Church Music Trust. The trust, chaired by Dr Stephen Darlington and with trustees including Dr John Rutter CBE and nominees of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, exists to promote and maintain to a high standard the choral services of the Church of England. The Trust’s Chairman said:
“The Ouseley Church Music Trust is delighted to have awarded funding to Steel City Choristers to help promote and maintain the standard of choral services in the Church of England. We are very pleased to hear about the choir’s plans under Eleanor’s new leadership and look forward to hearing more about this as the model continues to develop.”
Kate Caroe, Chair of Steel City Choristers said:
“It is really encouraging to be recognised for the innovative way in which Steel City Choristers is promoting choral music and making it more accessible to a diverse range of churches across Sheffield.”
Eleanor Jarvis appointed as our Director of Music
1 July 2022
Eleanor is a recent graduate of the University of Manchester, having studied a Bachelor of Music with emphasis on conducting. She has experience leading a good variety of ensembles, with a grounding in both choral and instrumental conducting.
Eleanor is a committed singer, having been a chorister since the age of ten. She has conducted two chamber choirs as well the University of Manchester Chorus which has a membership of over 200 singers. In 2021 she founded The Marie Consort to provide further performance opportunities and chamber choir experience to the University students. Eleanor is tutored by Robert Guy and has participated in several conducting masterclasses with the Royal Philharmonic Society, Cardiff International Academy of Conducting as well as Musicfest Aberystwyth.
Evensong and farewell to Joshua Stephens
21 May 2022
Steel City Choristers sang its own very first Evensong as a full choir on Saturday as we said goodbye to our founding director of Music, Joshua Stephens, who will soon be taking up his post as Sub-Organist at Winchester Cathedral.
Music included Lloyd View me Lord, Stanford Psalm 150, Rose Preces & Responses, Dyson Evening Service in D, and Howells Hymn to St Cecilia.
The lectionary reading and sermon given by Rev Dr Beth Keith were particularly poignant:
“There are many reasons why people sing and this community in exile, found their voice again. They sang the songs which helped them express how they felt when they did not have the words to express their grief. They sang familiar songs to remember their identity and to remember who they were. They sang songs of activism calling on God to bring redemption. And they sang songs of joy as they found life, and hope, and saw a future emerging.”
Evensong was followed by a short presentation to Josh, including a surprise song sung by the choir, and a fabulous afternoon tea provided by choir families for all our Friends and supporters.
7 May 2022
The year-long collaboration between Steel City Choristers and PXI to explore the stories behind people’s favourite songs culminated with a concert at Mount Tabor church in Parson Cross.
The concert featured six songs chosen by people from PXI connected through the themes of comfort, gratitude, loss, love, unity and structure to six pieces from the traditional English choral repertoire.
A series of singing workshops at Mount Tabor in two months in the run up to the concert enabled a number of people from Parson Cross to perform their 6 songs with Steel City Choristers. The audience joined in a rousing encore of Hi Ho Silver Lining.
Nick Waterfield of PXI explained the wellbeing course that will soon be published to help people reflect on the role that songs play in expressing our feelings. A set of discussion notes will accompany videos of the 12 Reasons to Sing! songs, and both will be available from this webpage free of charge for use by church groups, community groups, care homes and schools.
Kate Caroe, warmly encouraged others to express interest in running a similar Reason to Sing! project with Steel City Choristers in their community.
Joshua Stephens appointed sub-organist at Winchester Cathedral
3 May 2022
We are very proud that our founding Director of Music, Joshua Stephens, has been appointed to the prestigious post of Sub-Organist at Winchester Cathedral.
Kate Caroe, chair of trustees said “We are hugely sorry to be losing Josh, but also absolutely delighted for him and very proud to have played a part in supporting his career progression. We wish him every success, and look forward to taking the choir to visit!”
We are now looking for someone with the vision, passion and musical expertise to help lead Steel City Choristers into the next chapter of its exciting journey. Applications should be submitted by 6 June. Click here for more information.
Sell out performance of Bach’s St John Passion with English Touring Opera
3 April 2022
Steel City Choristers helped deliver a dramatic performance of Bach’s St John Passion to a sell out audience in Firth Hall.
Soloists and period instrumentalists from English Touring Opera were supported by a chorus which included Steel City Choristers, the Sheffield University Chamber Choir and girls from Sheffield High School.
ETO said “we pushed the choir out of their comfort zone, asking them to sing in a dramatic, operatic style, and they rose to the challenge with aplomb.”
Celebrating our Trustee’s birthday in style!
26 March 2022
Yinka Oluwole, Steel City Choristers trustee, celebrated a significant birthday in style with a whole day of events at Cutlers Hall. The proceedings began with a celebration of the Eucharist for which Steel City Choristers led the worship, including singing the anthem If Ye Love Me, by Thomas Tallis.
Our choral music contrasted wonderfully with the Yoruba choruses sung by Yinka and her Nigerian friends and family.
Steel City Choristers ‘Get Up to Speed’ with STEM
23 March 2022
Steel City Choristers enjoyed a day at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham experiencing the world of work as employers filled the place with fun and interactive exhibits to showcase their industry and employment opportunities.
During the day, the choir sang in the exhibition space on two separate occasions, as well as for a group of employers as they met over lunch.
Success at the David Clover Singing Festival
6 February 2022
Our choristers, David and Anna, were selected from their classes to sing at the final evening concert of the David Clover Singing Festival. Both choristers are taught by our singing teacher, Vivien Pike. They performed beautifully and each came away with an award. Another of our choristers, James, won the Festival’s award for the most promising male singer under the age of 16.
Steel City Choristers celebrates the Queen’s Accession with Doncaster Minster
6 February 2022
Doncaster Minister resounded to the triumphant sound of Parry’s I was glad as Steel City Choristers joined the Minister Choir to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession.
The combined choirs were conducted by the Minster’s Musical Director Darren Williams, while Steel City Choristers’ Joshua Stephens played the organ for a festal evensong also including Brewer’s setting in D of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.
A weekend of workshops and worship with members of The Sixteen
23 January 2022
Members of The Sixteen came to Sheffield this weekend to work with and sing alongside Steel City Choristers. Through a series of inspiring workshops they delivered tailored vocal training for all sections of the choir including the Clerks and Changing Voices, the Choristers, and the Junior Choristers.
Amanda MacLeod, Education and Outreach Manager said “Steel City Choristers’ commitment to singing, faith, and choral music is commendable but most importantly we had so much fun! We look forward to returning in the future.”
The weekend culminated in singing together for Mass at St Matthew’s Carver Street – with music including Byrd’s Four Part Mass and the anthem My Lord has Come by Will Todd.
Father Naylor said “It was an absolute privilege to host these two very special choirs to sing the Mass. Byrd wrote this sacred music not to be performed in concert halls but to contribute to the beauty of the Mass. I was very moved by the talents of these singers who could only be surpassed by the choirs of angels.”
Steel City Choristers sing carols in aid of the Children’s Hospital
11 December 2021
The Moor was filled with Christmas carols today as Steel City Chorister sang outside Moor Market in aid of Sheffield Children’s hospital.
Shoppers generously donated nearly £200 as the choir sang two half-hour sets of well known Christmas favourites. In between, junior members of the choir played carols on their brass instruments.
Steel City Choristers is delighted to be sponsoring a Children’s Hospital snowflake on St John’s Church, Owlerton.
Steel City Choristers sing as Snowflakes light up on St John’s Church, Owlerton
3 December 2021
Steel City Chorister sang carols last Friday to add festive cheer to the Christmas Market accompanying the ‘Big Switch On’ of the Children’s Hospital Snowflakes appearing on St John’s for the first time this year.
Joined, at times, by guest conductor Ozzy the Owl from nearby Sheffield Wednesday, the choir sang old favourites such as Silent Night as well as more recent classics including Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Joy French, vicar of St John’s church said: “Thank you so much, you are amazing. Everyone loves carols, and you sang them so beautifully.”
Steel City Choristers is delighted to be sponsoring a snowflake on St John’s, which is one of eight venues across the city hosting snowflakes this year.
Steel City Choristers join Brian Cox at North Star 2021
24 November 2021
Brian Cox was in town today, speaking at North Star 2021, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) event for around 600 children in Gulliver’s Valley theme park, organised by the Work-Wise foundation. North Star is part of the national Science Summer School initiative launched in London in 2012 by Professor Brian Cox CBE and Lord Andrew Mawson OBE.
Steel City Choristers sang at the opening ceremony, helping create a calm and peaceful atmosphere for the beginning of the event and reminding ourselves about what it important – that the work of STEAM industries is about projecting our planet. We sang an arrangement of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ theme tune, and Tim Peters’ arrangement of ‘What a Wonderful World’ which they had recorded for COP26.
“You heard the choir – absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful world” said Professor Brian Cox , “and from a scientific viewpoint that’s absolutely true. It really is an extremely rare and wonderful world.”
“After the chaos of everyone arriving that was exactly what we needed. I feel nice and calm”, said Ruth Amos, YouTube Inventor from Kids Invent Stuff
Lord Mawson talked about the importance of bringing people together in order to improve communities, joining the dots between education, health and business. This event is designed to inspire children to pursue careers in STEAM. The children then went on to enjoy a day of talks by Brian Cox and Ruth Amos, as well as STEAM workshops and hands-on activities put on by the Royal Navy, Barrett Homes, Kids Invent Stuff and Gulliver’s Valley, amongst others.
Steel City Choristers adds voices to “Sing the Change”
27 October 2021
Steel City Choristers are supporting a nationwide campaign called ‘Sing the Change’, in which choirs and individuals are showing their support for climate action by singing Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World on 30 October.
With the COP26 climate summit just beginning in Glasgow, choirs around the country are urging politicians to work together to end deforestation, cut pollution and support more vulnerable countries. They want future generations to be able to see ‘trees of green, and red roses too’. They want politicians to do whatever they can to hold temperature rises to 1.5°C and protect our wonderful world for generations to come.
For more information see: Sing the Change | Music Declares Emergency
Steel City Choristers awarded charity status and sings first services
25 September 2021
The full Steel City Choristers choir sang its first church service last weekend. For the children who were members of the former Sheffield Cathedral choir, this was the first time they had sung a Sunday service since the Cathedral unexpectedly and controversially closed their choir in July 2020.
Also this week, the choir has been recognised by the Charity Commission for England and Wales as delivering benefit to the public through its objective to take cathedral music out and about around Sheffield, making choral music accessible to those who wouldn’t otherwise sing or listen to it. Charitable status will give the choir greater access to grants, as well as Gift Aid on donations from individuals. Details of a new Friends’ scheme will be available on the website shortly.
On Sunday 19 September the choir sang for a morning service at St John the Baptist church, Owlerton, and in the afternoon the adults of the choir, known as the Steel City Clerks, sang for a traditional Evensong based on words dating from the 17th century at Beauchief Abbey. Both services were well attended.
Kate Caroe, from the Steel City Choristers’ committee, said,
“The choir loved singing in these two contrasting churches. It really demonstrates our commitment to taking choral music to a diverse range of communities across the city. It was wonderful to hear how people from both traditions were touched by our music and felt it really helped them in their worship. ”
Steel City Choristers performs first concert
2 July 2021
Steel City Choristers performed its very first indoor concert last night at Christ Church Dore Community Centre. We sang a varied programme of choral music from across the centuries to a sell-out crowd. The audience was treated to choral classics that brought the beauty of cathedral music out into the local community.
Kate Caroe, from the Steel City Choristers’ committee, said,
“singing has spiritual value for everyone, it’s good to break down the divide between sacred and secular”.
The 21-strong choir, led by Director of Music Joshua Stephens, delighted its audience despite hugely limited rehearsal time. It was evident how much of themselves the choir members brought to their singing; the concert ended with a moving rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
“What a treat. We were thrilled by you all! You are wonderful, you really are,” said Maureen Cope, organiser of Dore Festival.
Steel City Chorister awarded choral scholarship to Clare College Cambridge
28 March 2021
There was fabulous news this morning for Steel City Choristers: one of our choristers, Emma, has been awarded a choral scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge. Emma is 17 and is studying for her A-Levels at UTC, Olympic Legacy Park, Attercliffe. She is hoping to read Maths at Clare College from October 2021.
Emma sang in Sheffield Cathedral choir from the age of 10 until last summer, and is a key member of Steel City Choristers. She said “I was delighted to receive the email and I’m really looking forward to going if I get my grades!”
The choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs. In addition to its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College chapel, the Choir keeps an active schedule recording, broadcasting, and performing. Former directors have included John Rutter and Timothy Brown. Under the direction of Graham Ross, Director of Music since 2010, it has been praised for its consistently ‘thrilling’ and ‘outstanding’ performances worldwide.
David Willington, Chair of Steel City Choristers, said “We are all very proud of Emma, it’s been a difficult year but she has persevered and worked hard. Clare College choir is superb, I know she’ll have a wonderful time”.