Page 9 - Chorister's Companion
P. 9

                                                                  The singing church
In most parish churches, there were no choirs until the middle of the 19th century and many churches did not possess an organ until around 1850. Formerly singers would have sat with the village band in the West Gallery of the Church.
After the middle of the 19th century, as a result of the influence of the Oxford Movement, the appearance of our Parish Churches began to change dramatically. High box pews were removed, and the organ and choir were placed in front of the congregation in the chancel. It was at this time that choirs of men and boys became a regular part of the life of most churches. Over the past hundred years thousands of boys and girls have passed through the choirs. Many have come to learn and love music simply because one day they chanced to join a church choir.
In the later 19th century, many new Roman Catholic Churches were built and these too quite often had a choir of men and boys. In the Free Churches (Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists) the singing was usually led by a mixed choir of adults who sat in a gallery on either side of the organ at the front of the church.
Nowadays in our churches there are many boy and girl choristers. They continue to do marvellous work in leading the praises of the Church. They also have a difficult job. Singing is the only skilled activity in

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