Vox Humana Posted October 28, 2014 Author Share Posted October 28, 2014 You missed a treat then, David, for it has one of the finest Georgian interiors in Bristol and a very decent acoustic - though you would not guess this from its rather grim exterior. The HNB organ wasn't at all bad either, except for a wobbly and poorly integrated Positive division - it had been "got at" by Downes. The O&C position was something of a dream job in that the church survived specifically for its music and had no priest to screw everything up. This lack of a priest went back to the '50s when the diocese had tried to close the church. The congregation had refused to accept this and the result was a compromise whereby the choir and congregation were allowed to continue to worship "clandestinely". This was eminently practical since the church had a six-figure annual income and nothing much to spend it on except the music. I didn't actually spend all that much, except when I first arrived and I promptly bought a set of The Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems, a set of Oxford Psalters and had a custom chant book printed. The choir numbered about thirty - an adult female top line plus twelve men in the back rows (2 of each, dec and can). Three of the men doubled as lay clerks at the cathedral and there was a husband and wife who also sang in the choir at Clifton Cathedral. As the notice board intimated, we only sang Sunday Evenings. Once a month we weaned a retired priest off his sherry bottle to celebrate a Communion Service, but on the other Sundays it was Choral Evensong. The diocese closed the church at the end of 1983 as part of the great closure of Bristol city centre churches that left only Christ Church and St Stephen's functioning. They did find us an alternative home at Cotham Parish Church where the Sunday evening slot was vacant, but it was a poor alternative to St Thomas's and never really worked. I left after about a year. The choir struggled on for a year or two, but eventually folded. The organ at St Thomas didn't survive either. One Christmas the diocese decided to open the place up to the local down-and-outs as a refuge, one of whom repaid their kindness by setting fire to the organ. I understand that the organ now in St Thomas's is a two manual instrument that was previously in St Werburgh's. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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