Our Music

Music forms a major part in the life of our two churches, both at our regular services and at the many occasional services for weddings, baptisms and funerals.  In addition 2017 will mark our ninth annual week-long Music Festival, which attracts approximately 2000 visitors to hear an eclectic mix of vocal, choral and instrumental music.  The festival not only features local talent and schools, but also artists of international repute, many of whom have graced the major concert venues, both home and abroad.  Further details of this year’s event together with a review of last year’s Festival can be accessed here.

Director of Music: Joshua Xerri

Joshua is a Welsh musician, living in Birmingham. He began his musical education as a boy chorister at Llandaff Cathedral, and was educated at the Cathedral School, before being awarded a scholarship to study the organ and singing at the prestigious specialist music school, Wells Cathedral School. During his time at Wells, Josh directed and accompanied numerous school musical groups, including those involved with both regular services and concerts in Wells Cathedral. Following his time at Wells, Josh was appointed Organ Scholar of Chelmsford Cathedral, where he worked accompanying and directing weekly choral services and helping to train the professional cathedral choirs. In September 2014, Josh moved to Birmingham to continue his organ studies with Daniel Moult and Henry Fairs, having been awarded a scholarship to Birmingham Conservatoire.

Josh is also an active singer, having sung with the Cathedral Choirs in Birmingham and Worcester as a Deputy Lay Clerk. He recently appeared as a counter-tenor soloist in Birmingham Conservatoire’s Chamber Choir’s concert showcasing the works of Henry Purcell, in which Josh’s modern edition of a 17th century manuscript was used for the performance.

Working as a composer and arranger, he receives regular commissions, and has had his works performed at Birmingham, Chelmsford, Wells, and Llandaff Cathedrals, and on the 25th March 2017 his newest work will be premiered by Caritas, a top-calibre chamber choir in South Wales.

Alongside his work at Wombourne, Josh enjoys an active career as an organ soloist, teacher, and freelancer.

The Choir

At St. Benedict’s, we have a four part choir who sing at the regular Sunday morning services, as well as at Evensong once a month, and special feasts and holy days throughout the year, including Christmas and Easter, and occasional weddings and funerals. The choir are a friendly group who are always looking for new members. Anyone wishing to join should feel free to contact the Director of Music (email  joshuaxerri@gmail.com) for an informal chat.

We have recently set up an exciting choral scholarship scheme, with the aim of encouraging young people to continue the wonderful Anglican choral tradition. The scholarships offer the opportunity to work with a friendly and engaging choir, receive private tuition from the Director of Music, and remuneration, as well as extra fees for weddings and funerals. Full details of the scholarship scheme can be found below.

Choral Scholar Vacancies

The Church of St. Benedict Biscop seek to appoint three Choral Scholars from January 2017.

Music at Wombourne

There is a tradition of choral singing at Wombourne. We have an soprano, alto, tenor, bass (SATB) choir who sing every Sunday morning, at Evensong on the first Sunday of every month. As well as this, the choir sing at all major feast days and festivals, including Christmas and Easter. They also sing at occasional weddings and funerals, for which an extra fee is offered. The Choral Scholarship offers the recipient the opportunity to learn and grow musically, work as part of a team in a thriving parish, and receive free theory and vocal tuition from the Director of Music.

Choral Scholars

The Choral Scholars would be expected to play a full part in the life of the choir. They would be expected to contribute to their section at rehearsals and services, as well as to learn and engage with the tuition offered.

The skills and attributes sought include:

  • Vocal ability
  • Musical sensitivity and appreciation
  • Commitment to the musical life at St. Benedict Biscop

Weekly Timetable

Friday evening musicianship lessons: – 6.00  – 6:45pm

Friday evening rehearsals: – 7.00  – 8:30pm

Sunday morning: – 10:15am for 10:30am Eucharist

Sunday evening (first of the month):  – 6:30pm Evensong

Fees

Remuneration is dependent on attendance and is in the region of £500 per annum.  Extra fees are payable for some extra services (weddings, funerals, etc.

Application

Please send a Curriculum Vitae with covering letter and details of two referees to joshuaxerri@gmail.com , after which an audition and interview will be arranged as soon as possible.