Organist’s plans to resurrect Lavenham church choir
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A grand church in a picture-postcard Suffolk village could once again be filled with the sound of united voices, if plans to resurrect a local choir are successful.
At Easter, the Lavenham community was left shocked when the entire choir at St Peter and St Paul Church decided to quit en masse in solidarity with organist and musical director of 17 years, Stephen Hogger, who was given notice to leave his position.
Now, eight months on, a new candidate has been found with ambitions to start a new choir from scratch and “raise the musical profile” of the church, which is one of the county’s largest and most high profile.
The new organist and choir leader is Peter Tryon, the former director of music at St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds, where he worked for 32 years. One of his last gigs before “retiring” was to play at the wedding of former The Only Way is Essex star Mark Wright and former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan at St Mary’s in May.
Since retiring from the position, Mr Tryon has been persuaded by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich to assume a new role helping church choirs to re-establish themselves, including one in Aldeburgh.
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He said he welcomed the challenge of rekindling the choir at Lavenham Church, which he described as a “fine” building.
He said: “The situation in Lavenham has not been good since the choir walked out at Easter, attracting considerable media attention.
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“I have just been appointed and I am trying to recruit a new choir which is open to all. I very much hope old wounds can be healed and that the church will once again resonate to the sound of its own choir.”
In an attempt to “rebuild bridges”, Mr Tryon has written to former choir members in the village asking them to come back, and so far the response has been “extremely positive”. Prospective new choristers should be reasonably competent singers but some training will be given.
Mr Tryon, who is also a piano tuner, added: “Ideally I am looking to create a fine choir for a fine church – it will be more than just a village choir. The ultimate aim is to rebuild the musical profile of the church, which used to have a great reputation in that field.
“The idea is to stage a number of concerts including a lunchtime series celebrating local talent and next year on Good Friday, I would like us to be able to perform The Messiah.
“It will be a busy time for anyone who joins and there will be lots happening over the coming months.”
Anyone who is interested in joining the new choir can call Mr Tryon on 01449 736049.