The Quire is made up of a friendly bunch of people with very different interests, but we all combine in a love of the music itself. Although members have come from a variety of different backgrounds and religious faiths (or, indeed, none at all), most have sung choral music of some kind. It is a meeting point for folk music, church choirs and early music, and covers both the rural church music and secular music of the period.
As with the West Gallery Music Association, we welcome anyone who has an interest in the music itself; the historical and social context within which it is set; church liturgy and Prayer Book services; secular music for singing or dancing; and, indeed, in dancing itself.
We are a costumed quire, and there are a number of people with the knowledge and expertise in costume to be able to give guidance as to what to wear at reasonable cost.
Learning the music is done by repetition of the pieces. It is therefore useful, but not essential, to be able to read music, and music is provided, usually downloadable from the Members' section of this website. What we do ask, however, is that people can sing in tune and be able after a short while to remember it sufficiently well to sing it confidently. Many of the tunes are 'tenor led', the trebles - usually so referred to rather than sopranos - taking a counter melody line.
Much of the singing is best achieved by using a chest voice, which is not only more powerful than a head voice, but also allows the singer to sing loudly for a longer period of time. It is not unknown for members of the audience to comment that they had not realised the music was "so loud"!
Instruments used by West Gallery bands would quite often include stringed and woodwind instruments such as fiddles (of all sizes - the 'bass viol' often referred to may well have been a spikeless bass violin), flutes and 'clarionets' (especially in C), as well as the odd serpent or two, and later on bassoons, and, very late in their history (in fact just as the bands were dying out), concertinas. Heavy brass, free reed (except concertina), chordal and keyboard instruments are not really 'of the period'. It was not unknown for oboes to be played, and also trumpets, keyed-bugles and other small military brass instruments may well have appeared from time to time depending on who was in the village at the time.
It is useful for instrumentalists to be of a standard whereby they are happy to accompany a group of singers and to play together as a group - usually this is around Grade 4 to 5, but it is not necessary to have taken the exams!
If you are interested in joining please contact our Chairman, Sue Lanfear, or Musical Director Edwin Macadam, or any member of Immanuel's Ground. You will be invited to come along to rehearsals to see if what we do suits (and vice versa !) after which we hope you will be invited to become a permanent member.
There is a small subscription each year (currently £44), there is a Quire Constitution, and we run several workshop days for both our own benefit and that of local churches. Details of current and past activities can be seen on the performance pages. We do hope that you would find it sufficiently rewarding to join in with all our activities.
We practice at the Northgate Methodist Church (plan) in Warwick on the second and fourth Wednesdays in the month, as well as the fifth if there is one. Free parking after 5 pm nearby. We quite often get into weekly practice mode when getting near a performance and additional practices are required to get to grips with new music etc.
The post code for all those 'satnavvers' is CV34 4TH.