Director of Music
DIRECTOR OF MUSIC: JOB DESCRIPTION AND PERSON SPECIFICATION
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Who we are
St Peter’s is a thriving church, rooted in a central Anglican tradition, on the border between Hammersmith and Chiswick, twenty minutes by tube from central London. The church attracts a diverse and international congregation, including significant numbers of children and families, and has strong links to St Peter’s Church Primary School. The surrounding parish includes areas of considerable affluence as well as areas of deprivation.
The church seeks to be inclusive in its ethos, affirming the ministry of ordained women, and welcoming of LGBT people. We have a strong community life and aim to be a place where newcomers can quickly make friends and build relationships. Recent social events include wine and whisky tastings, Burns Night Supper, quiz night, children’s Christmas party, Pancake night, Safari Supper, curry evening, and more. We give financial and practical support to two local charities which work with refugees, the homeless, and those in need. In addition to our Sunday choir, two other choirs (Petros Singers and SingWest) rehearse and perform regularly at St Peter’s; the church is also used as a performance space for other musical recitals and events (such as Opera Integra).
Worship at St Peter’s is mainly centred on the Eucharist, celebrated with vestments (but no incense), using modern language Common Worship order one. The pattern varies slightly during the year, but usually comprises:
8 am Holy Communion: a said service, led by the Vicar, with an average congregation of about 10.
9 am Family Worship: an informal service for parents and young children, lasting about 30 minutes, with a song, bible story, prayer and craft activity, with an average congregation of about 60 adults and 60 children. Family Worship currently runs three Sundays a month, term time only.
10.30 am Parish Communion: an hour-long service of Holy Communion, with (unrobed) choir, a Sunday school and crèche, and an average congregation of about 80 adults and 15 children. On the first Sunday of the month, the 10.30 am service is a slightly shorter All Age Communion, in which children remain in church for the entirety of the service.
6.30 pm Evening Prayer: a said service following the Book of Common Prayer, occurring twice a month, with an average congregation of about half a dozen. On occasion, the church has hosted a sung Evensong with choir, which attracts a considerably larger congregation.
In addition to Sunday worship, the church observes a range of festivals and holy days, including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, as well as a Carol Service, Crib Service and Midnight Mass.
Standards of music at St Peter’s are high. The organ is considered to be an important historic instrument and is well maintained, and the acoustics in the church are very good. The church choir usually meet to rehearse at 9.30 am on a Sunday morning, with around 10-12 adults attending each week, supplemented with a professional soprano and a professional tenor, as well as four older teenagers from a local music specialist secondary school appointed on an annual basis as choral scholars. There is also a budget to support the employment of additional professional musicians on occasion, such as a brass quintet at the Carol Service, or a trumpeter on Remembrance Sunday. In addition to four or five congregational hymns at the 10.30 am Parish Communion, usually taken from the New English Hymnal, the choir typically sing an anthem during communion, and various elements of the liturgy are also sung, including the Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, and Agnus Dei.
The church community has a high appreciation of music in worship. There is considerable musical talent, both amateur and professional, in the congregation, and the Director of Music will find encouragement and support to expand the range of music sung, introduce new mass settings and new hymns, and draw on the musical talents of those in the congregation and wider community. There is also room to involve more young people in the musical life of the parish.
In addition to playing for Sunday worship and other occasional services, there is also considerable scope for a Director of Music with the time and skills to liaise with local groups and organisations, with a view to developing St Peter’s as a centre for musical excellence and as a place to nurture musical talent, building on the strong connections that are already in place.
The church has very good links with St Peter’s primary school, with the school holding regular services and musical performances in the church, but there is more that could be done to involve the school into the musical life of the church. West London Free School, a local state secondary school with a music specialism, currently sings Choral Evensong at the church once or twice a year and use the building for music examinations.
There is also scope for greater liaison with the two choirs (Petros Singers and SingWest) which meet in St Peter’s Church during the week, and potential to increase the use of the church as a venue for music recitals. The possibility of funding a small honorarium for a ‘Composer in Residence’ to support the development of contemporary liturgical music and hymnody in the Anglican tradition, has also been mooted in the past.
This wider work of musical development necessarily depends on the skills, vision and commitments of the Director of Music, but the church is supportive of expanding the role and hours of the position, and warmly welcomes applications from candidates with enthusiasm and a vision for cultivating St Peter’s as a centre for musical life in West London.
Duties and responsibilities of the Director of Music:
1. To play organ and piano on Sunday mornings for 9 am Family Worship, and for 10.30 am Parish Communion, the choice of hymns and anthems for which is usually delegated to the Director of Music.
2. To conduct Choir Practice each Sunday from 9.30 am until 10.20 am (or from 9.15 am on the first Sunday of the month), and at such other times as may be agreed.
3. To play for services on such feast days and holy days as are observed on a weekday: including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, as well as a Carol Service, Crib Service, Midnight Mass, and Christmas Day.
4. To rehearse the choir and play for Choral Evensong on a Sunday, on an occasional basis, three times a year.
5. To play – subject to availability – for weddings and funerals at St Peter’s. Additional fees will be payable at these times.
6. To support and oversee the appointment of professional singers and/or musicians, as well as teenage choral and/or organ scholars, to enhance the worship of the church.
7. To develop the musical life of the parish, forming a focus for music-making both within the congregation and in the wider local community.
The person we seek will be:
1. Able to play to a high standard on organ and piano.
2. An academically trained musician who may be pursuing a musical career or some other occupation. In either case, experience of playing and of choir training is essential.
3. Able to draw on a varied repertoire of music, old and new.
4. Either a communicant member of the Church of England, or sympathetic to its ethos and place in the community. Familiarity with the Church of England’s musical tradition and historic repertoire is necessary, together with a knowledge of modern developments in Church music.
5. Keen to develop the musical life of the congregation and to develop the place of children and young people in church music-making.
6. Capable of motivating a varied mix of talent in the choir and sensitive to the pastoral as well as musical place of a choir in Church life.
7. Able to demonstrate reliability and punctuality.
Terms and Conditions
1. The post is expected to carry an annual stipend of around £9000, paid monthly in arrears, but will be negotiable depending on experience, and could increase depending on hours and wider responsibilities and commitments.
2. Six Sunday holidays a year, for which the Director of Music is expected to find suitable cover, the cost of which will be borne by the church.
3. The Parochial Church Council and the Director Music will enter into a standard Contract of Employment in the form advised by the Royal School of Church Music and the national Church of England, subject to a probationary period of six months on either side.
4. Fees for playing at weddings, funerals and other occasional services outside of those stipulated in the Contract of Employment will be at least on the scale recommended by the Royal School of Church Music.
5. The post is subject to Church of England Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance; and to acceptable pre-employment checks including satisfactory outcome of the appropriate enhanced DBS criminal records check; and evidence of entitlement to work in the UK.
Curriculum Vitae and covering letter via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 15th March 2024.
St Peter’s, Hammersmith Parochial Church Council, February 2024