The All Saints’ Choir is a committed group of singers who sing at the main Sunday service and at other occasional services during the week. We are always glad to welcome new members with singing ability. You will find us to be a friendly and welcoming team of singers. We rehearse on Sunday mornings both before and after the service in order to maintain a wide repertoire and high standard of performance.
You may not feel able to commit to every Sunday but would like to sing with us on an ad hoc basis. We would be happy to discuss this with you and encourage you to have a word with Fr Ian.
History of Music at All Saints'
The first London performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noyes Fludde took place at All Saints’ in 1959 and the Finchley Children’s Music Group found its beginnings here. The unique acoustics of the building have led to it being used by several recording companies and many international artists have been recorded here.
The organ was built by Alfred Hunter at the end of the 19th Century and originally stood in a church in South London. Hunter used to show it to prospective clients. It was brought to All Saints in the early 1950s, the church where it was originally housed having been damaged in the 1939-45 war. In 1992 All Saints’ was reordered and the organ was removed to the newly created West Gallery from where the choir also sing. It was rebuilt by Bishop & Son and is a 3 manual instrument of 41 speaking stops.
Geoffrey Hanson - Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints from 1987 to 2017
Geoffrey had been a church organist since his late teens and was a member of the staff of Trinity College of Music until his retirement. When All Saints’ church was re-ordered in the 1990s, he oversaw the rebuilding of the organ in its current position and played at both the re-consecration of the church after the re-ordering and also at the Centenary Service in 1992. When he came to All Saints’ in 1987, choir membership was low in numbers. He not only built up the number of choir members but also extended the repertoire to include mass settings by Hadyn, Mozart, Fauré, Stanford, Darke and Gabrieli, to name but a few. Geoffrey was also a prolific composer and, during his time at All Saints’, composed a number of mass settings, anthems and other liturgical music for the choir.
His retirement came at the end October 2016 and All Saints’ celebrated his great contribution to the musical life of the parish on Sunday 12 February 2017. As well as members of the congregation, old friends and former choir members were also there to raise a glass (or two) in thanks and appreciation for his long and dedicated service. During the reception, Geoffrey was presented with a cheque – a gift of appreciation from the people of the parish.
He founded the East Finchley Arts Festival in 1997. The first Festival took place in June of that year and the first performance was an organ recital by Jennifer Bate. Her father, H.A. Bate, a renowned organist himself, had overseen the installation of the Hunter organ more than forty years before (see above). Jennifer, a friend of the composer, Messiaen, was just one of a line of distinguished musicians who have performed at All Saints’. Over the years, the Festival included such artists as the London Mozart Players, The London Ripieno Singers, the Orfeas String Quartet, Pop-Up Opera and dozens of others. But central to the Festival were the works of Geoffrey Hanson, including his Piano Concertos, his Ode to St Cecilia, Orpheus and a Concerto for Saxophone.