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MINIMS ! PDF Print E-mail

A new singing group called 'Minims' is up and running for 4 to 7 year olds, to prepare them to join the Junior Choir, and just to have some fun musical activities together.  It takes place concurrently with the Junior Choir practices every Sunday at 12 noon, downstairs in the 'choir vestry' end of the hall, for just 20 minutes. Would you like your son or daughter to join in?  Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Our sixth Newsletter concerning the HTC Organ Restoration Project can be downloaded here. Please take a few moments to read through this newsletter which will give you an idea of the aims and challenges we have met and progress made.  You can also pick up a printed copy from the Welcome Desk in church.


Our next fundraising event will be a talk by Bjorn Riis-Johanessen in the church hall on Friday 15 April, at 7 pm, describing the truly epic Antarctic Traverse by Shackleton.  The presentation will be followed by drinks and a buffet and a collection made for the Organ Appeal.


For full details of the organ appeal and how to contribute, you can also visit the webpage http://holytrinitygeneva.org/appeal/.



Fête de la Musique 2015

Samedi 20 juin à 21h00

Cathédrale de Saint-Pierre, Genève

Holy Trinity Choir

Solistes: Natalia Pastrana (soprano), Lindy Carmalt (alto), Samuel Carmalt (ténor), Didier Godel (basse)

Holy Trinity Consort

Clare Kirkpatrick (hautbois), Valérie Chardon, Natacha Catusse (violons),  Philippa Welch (alto),

Julia Lacey (viole de gambe), Claire Charles, Tessa Keane (violoncelles), Kazuaki Tsuda (contrebasse),

Machiko Yanagita (théorbe) et Mark Charles (orgue)

Direction - Christopher Martin Thomas

Entre les autres choses qui sont propres pour recréer l’homme et lui donner volupté, La musique est la première, ou l’une de principales ; et nous faut estimer c’est un don de Dieu député à cet usage.

Jean Calvin: préface à l’édition genevoise de 50 psaumes de Marot (1543)


Hosanna to the Son of David                                                                 Thomas Weelkes (1576 - 1623)

O Lord in thy wrath                                                                                 Orlando Gibbons ( 1583 - 1625)

Trois Motets du Geistliche Chormusik 1648                                         Heinrich Schütz  (1585 - 1672)

Tröstet, tröstet  mein Volk

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt

Das ist je gewisslich wahr

Motet concertato à 7 voix 'O Bone Jesu'                                                                      Heinrich Schütz

Chandos Anthem no.9 ‘O Praise the Lord with One Consent’

(1er mouvement)                                                                      Georg Friederic Haendel  (1685 - 1759)

Le Choeur de Holy Trinity assure la liturgie des offices dominicaux à l’Eglise anglicane de Genève,

rue du Mont-Blanc.

Les chanteurs intéressés sont les bienvenus!

Holy Trinity Choir sings the Sunday services at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Geneva,

between the main station and the lake.

New members are always welcome!


www. holytrinitygeneva.org




My trip in April 2014 with Roy Damary to the Udmurt capital, Izhevsk, had two purposes: to 'spy out the land' for our choir trip in August, and to conduct two choral masterclasses and a lecture at the Izhevsk Conservatoire.


My meetings with the conductor of the Tchaikovsky Chamber Choir and the 'Golden Melody' folk orchestra, were assisted by Nadia Utkina, who acted as interpreter, and resulted in the construction of an attractive programme which we will jointly perform in August at their Philharmonic Hall. It will involve our choir (one third of the Holy Trinity Choir plus guest singers), the chamber choir and their folk orchestra (both conducted by Lev Kyriakov), with Nadia as soloist.


When told that their folk orchestra does John Rutter arrangements, I must admit that my first reaction was a bit sceptical! However, I was pleasantly surprised, on hearing the chamber choir and orchestra perform their favourite, 'For the beauty of the earth'. It had been very skilfully arranged by the conductor, the balalaikas and accordions making an impressively symphonic sound, with the deft playing of their percussion department adding imaginative moments of sparkle. A second hearing was thwarted as the entire bass department (two enormous triangular instruments, recognisably bass 'balalaikas') and most of their percussion, had been commandeered by the municipal authorities for a funeral!


Hearing and conducting the Tchaikovsky Chamber Choir was a delight. They already perform Byrd, Dowland and Britten, so I introduced Stanford to them: Beati quorum via (a favourite of every English-speaking choir). Since the choir consists entirely of professional singers, mostly in opera choruses, I had anticipated the need to encourage them to modify their vibrato. However, they had an impressive smoothness to their sound, as well as a blend and wonderful tone which you might expect from the Russian voice. They responded to me with warmth and generosity (two characteristics also of our hosts!). We talked about the joint concert we are to present with them in the summer, and about the possibility of inviting them to travel to Geneva next year, either for the Fete de la Musique, or for a Christmas Concert in early December (jointly with our choirs).


I reflected on how difficult it had been to obtain a visa to enter Russia; will it be less difficult for them now to leave Russia? They, and especially the Udmurts, are passionately keen to communicate their cultural heritage to us. As far as Udmurtia is concerned, Nadia Utkina is their chief cultural ambassador in all but name. We were amused to note how many people came up to her wherever we went and greeted her like an old friend. This might be explained by her numerous appearances as soloist on Izhevsk television. We will be hearing from her in a concert at Holy Trinity at the end of June.


We moved on from this to Gymnasium no.54 (it's a big city!), a special academy for boys and girls 11 to 18 devoted to fine art and music (not drama, strangely). Here I heard their boys' choir in a rehearsal conducted by Katya Khabibullina, who were just about to leave for an Estonian music festival. They sang in English, Russian and Udmurt - and produced an impressively well-tuned and bold sound for a small choir of only 12 voices.


A television interview pre-empted my main choir workshops with 'Udmurtia', a 40-voice girls' choir.

I was told to answer questions as if I had already met them, since it was to be broadcast afterwards (I expect the editors fixed that somehow!) A major plug in my 15-minute interview was for 'concert' choirs to be allowed to present recitals of a capella music in their wonderfully reverberant churches (this requires a special blessing in addition to a letter of permission from a local bishop).

I don't think I gave an adequate answer to their question about traditional Udmurt music, based as it is on a three-tone scale, and about how would 'classical' choirs attract a younger audience by singing arrangements of such music. I'd have had to do a PhD on it first, or at least have notice of the question!  The TV interview was conducted in the Udmurt language with Nadia interpreting.


There were two masterclasses with the girls' choir ‘Udmurtia’ - both with an invited audience of school music teachers. Their conductor, a fierce but warm-hearted little lady called Tatyana Sitchkova, introduced me to them at one of their rehearsals with the Izhevsk Philharmonic Orchestra. My heart sank when I heard that they were to accompany a rapper, albeit in a concert in October celebrating their liberation. However, they did their duty, then sang to me one of the canons I had sent to them, which they executed with wonderful tone and very accurate tuning - to the solfa names (leaving me to add the English words).


But what was extraordinary - and unique, in my experience, is that every girl moved their arms and hands as they sang, in chironomic motions, as if they were conducting - but each in an individual way. Was it some sort of Kodaly technique, or their own version of Dalcroze's eurhythmics? Tatyana's explanation of this phenomenon, her own idea, was that it helped them to be expressive, as if their arms and hands were an extension of their voice. It certainly worked. In their workshop with me they continued to do the same, and certainly they were both expressive and responsive. (They refrained from this activity in performance!)


Their English pronunciation was on the whole quite good, the only word they really had trouble with was 'the' (the spirit, the understanding - you get the picture!). They sang Rutter's 'I will sing with the Spirit', the canonic 'We shall glorify' which I co-wrote with my wife, canons by Mozart and Melchior Franck, a gospel piece (Hallelujah my Father) and Rutter's 'For the beauty', which they sang with relish and expressiveness. A large part of each of the two sessions was devoted to warm-ups (physical and musical) and vocal exercises. An exchange of these between me and their conductor showed that we already had many ideas in common.


The debriefing with the twenty or so music teacher observers from local schools, all responsible for two or more choirs covering the whole 5 to 18 age range, gave me a picture of a consistent and methodical system of vocal teaching. Some specialist music schools (every big town has one) produce extra good choirs, but the production of a good vocal technique in state schools seems to be widespread in Russia, from what they told me. This was certainly evident in the singing I experienced over the three days. My lecture to them was suitably peppered with recorded examples of Britten, Tavener, Lauridsen and Whitacre, the subject being ‘Recent Choral Music in Western Europe: Characteristics and Trends’.


The week left enough time for some socialising in the form of a sauna, a barbeque, and a concert of Armenian and Udmurt singing and dancing. This was in the context of a wonderfully relaxing weekend as guests of Lena, an ex-colleague of Roy’s, her husband and two sons, the elder of which is to visit Geneva soon. Their warmth and generosity knew no bounds. They took us on Sunday morning to the church of Norya, a typically Russian church building with gleaming golden onion-domes in the Convent of the ‘Little Diveesky Seraphim’. There we witnessed baptism by emersion: eight babies and a young boy; the latter was too big to fit in the baptistry, so he was duly soaked bit by bit! We were struck by the observant and reverent attitude of the families as the full no-holds-barred liturgy of Eastern Orthodox Baptism was read by the priest.


But it is to Nadia that we owe the greatest debt of gratitude, who afforded us generous hospitality for most of the week, and masterminded my itinerary from event to event - interpreting my masterclasses and my lecture, arranging for my introduction to all musicians, impressarios and municipal authorities involved in the promotion of Udmurt culture. You may have heard her in previous concerts here at Holy Trinity, and in last year’s August service with the Spyom Vmeste choir. It won’t be long before we have the chance to hear her wonderful voice again, as she will be presenting a concert in Holy Trinity on Tuesday June 24th.



Chris Thomas, May 2014

Music in the Anglican Liturgy as celebrated at HTC PDF Print E-mail




As you may gather from the list below, the Anglican Liturgy as celebrated at Holy Trinity Geneva is musically very rich. In any one month, the amount and complexity of the music is equivalent to a full-scale concert. This is why we maintain a full choir capable of sustaining this very special worship tradition, as maintained in most city centre churches, cathedrals and collegiate chapels throughout the Anglican Communion.


Kyrie – choir

Psalm – Anglican chant

Credo – plainsong / Merbecke

Sanctus – choir

Agnus Dei – choir

Communion Motet – choir

Gloria – choir

Plus 3 congregational hymns


Introit – choir (feast days only)

Preces – choir

Psalm – Anglican chant

Magnificat – choir

Nunc dimittis – choir

Responses – choir

Anthem – choir

Plus 3 congregational hymns

The above is what normally happens at the evening services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. On 1st and 3rd Sunday mornings, the choir prepares a Psalm (usually to Anglican chant) and a communion motet. The settings of the Kyrie/Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei are congregational, but led by the choir.



Choral scholars are expected to sing at the following special services as far as they occur within term times, and subject to events in their own institutions:

All Saints Eucharist

Advent Carol Service

Christmas Eve Carol Service (at the cathedral)

Christmas Eve Midnight Communion

Epiphany Vespers

Ash Wednesday Eucharist

Maundy Thursday Communion

Good Friday Liturgy

Ascension Day Eucharist


Two to three concerts are normally arranged every year, in which choral scholars are expected to sing. The dates and rehearsals for these will be arranged in consultation with the musical institutions of Geneva.



Chaplain/Priest: Canon Alexander Gordon

Director of Music:  Christopher Martin Thomas

Assistant Director of Music: Mark Charles

Director, Junior Choir: Lindy Carmalt

Librarian – Sam Carmalt

I/C robes – Claire Charles


After Thursday choir practices we visit a local pub, and the first practice of every month is followed by a cheese-and-wine social. Various parties occur throughout the year, and there are many church social events. The choir Christmas dinner always happens some time after Christmas. A concert tour is organised on average every other year, and in August 2014 we sang in Moscow and Izhevsk.




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What's on? Friday 15 April Presentation

Confirmation with Bishop Robert, 07.02.2016