Musical director needed for Chichester community choir

WRAP Community Choir rehearsing
WRAP Community Choir rehearsing
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A ‘VERY welcoming’ choir is looking for a new musical director, as its founding member bids farewell to Chichester.

The Rev Stuart Craddock, of St George’s Church, in Cleveland Road, founded the Whyke, Rumboldswhyke and Portfield (WRAP) community choir in the summer of 2012, but is now heading to Grantham to take up a new role at a church there.

Although less than two years old, the choir has quickly become an important part of the community, allowing people to relax with each other and ‘break down barriers’, according to Father Stuart.

“The highlight is seeing the confidence growing in those involved,” he said.

Although meetings take place on a Tuesday evening at the church, it is not a church choir, with a whole range of song choices encompassing everything from Les Miserables to Gershwin.

“It was a tentative start in their first concert, but they’re really coming out of themselves now,” added Father Stuart.

He had to fill in as director of the choir after the previous director left to take up a role at Portsmouth Cathedral.

“I basically just stepped into the breach really, because they couldn’t find anyone.

“I said I will do it for a term and they must find someone to do it after me.”

However, having stepped up to fill the void, the time has now come for him to move on at the end of March.

He will be having a leaving party, at which the choir will sing farewell to their founder and ‘unofficial president’.

Founded with the notion of bringing the community together, the choir is going from strength to strength, with around 30 regular members turning up to the community hall behind St George’s Church on Tuesday evenings in termtime .

Looking back over his seven years in the parish, the 39-year-old vicar said it had been a ‘really good time’.

“We’ve had lots of fun, lots of changes, some amazing people.

“That’s not just saying it with rose-coloured glasses because I’m leaving – it’s true.

“It’s not just the church, it’s the whole parish that I’ve been involved in.”

The successful choir is now desperate to find a new musical director so it can continue its successful work in the community.

Father Stuart explained the work that would be involved.

“The role is picking some music and working with the members to see what sort of music they want to sing,” he said.

“It’s about developing them musically – not only being able to read music, but voice projection and that sort of stuff.

“When you get new people all the time, it’s an ongoing task.

“The key skills with any future director is that they have a musical direction and they can have a good laugh with people.

“It’s about that relationship and smiling and laughing and having fun together.”

The director role is voluntary, but comes with a renumeration package.

New members are welcome to join the choir at any time, with the only qualification required being a desire to sing and meet 
new people.

The choir performs once a term, with three performances taking place each year.

Anyone interested in joining can call 01243 539620 or email community.choir@whyke.info