New church charity aims to spread the joy of choral music to every child in Northampton

The St Matthew's choir.
The St Matthew's choir.

A new charity aimed at expanding the music programme at one of Northampton's biggest churches has been launched by the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.

The St Matthew's Music Foundation, based at St Matthews Church, Kingsley aims to "widen the English choral tradition" by attracting funds and running a variety of musical training schemes.

From left, David Laing, Canon Nicholas Setterfield, Justin Miller and Simon Toyne at the launch of the St Matthew's Music Foundation.

From left, David Laing, Canon Nicholas Setterfield, Justin Miller and Simon Toyne at the launch of the St Matthew's Music Foundation.

Lord Lieutenant David Lang was among the attendees of a of special launch ceremony on Thursday, November 22, in which the church's choir performed Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb.

Solo performances were given by church member Sophie Stringfellow, a finalist of the BBC Radio 2 “Young Chorister of the Year competition” and Joseph Hirst, a talented young organist, who is also a chorister in the choir.

Simon Toyne, chairman of the St Matthew's Music Foundation, said: “Our aim is to widen access to the English choral tradition through increasing the church’s musical partnership work with schools, funding an organ scholarship scheme to generate the church organists of the future, establishing choral scholars in partnership with the university, and enhancing the offer to adult singers through dedicated singing tuition.

Justin Miller, director of music at the foundation, added, “If we want to expose every child in Northampton to the joys of a chorister education, we must first let them know that the opportunity exists right here on their doorstep.

"With proper training and commitment there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to sing difficult music to a high standard."

Vicar for the church, Canon Nicholas Setterfield, said St Matthew's was the perfect place to launch such a charity, because of its reputation for commisioning new musical pieces and training top choristers.

He said: "A distinguished succession of singers and cathedral directors of music have received their formative experiences here; they have gone on to offer their gifts in the service of

the wider church.

"Countless others, now dispersed far and wide, remember their musical experiences at St Matthew’s with genuine affection, and a smile on their face."

For further information, visit www.stmatthews-northampton.org.uk , or email the St Matthew’s Music Foundation at music@stmatthews-northampton.org.uk.

You can also call the church on 01604 791251