St Helens Church, High Street, Wheathampstead, St Albans, AL4 8AA. Worship Times: 10am every Sunday

Vacancy: Director of Music & Organist

The parish of St Helen’s, Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire, is looking for a new Director of Music who will play the organ and direct the choir. Our volunteer Choir Director left recently and our Organist (who is currently directing the choir as well) has signalled his intention to retire once a replacement is recruited.

Music also plays a key part on our outreach – especially at Christmas. We are keen to use music to develop our already strong links with the local Church school.

We wish to strengthen our robed choir, and whilst retaining the importance of the choral tradition are also seeking to gently broaden the musical repertoire we offer. This is part of our vision priority “to be a church for all generations.”

How to apply

Applicants are invited to submit a CV and covering letter including contact details of two suitable references. These can be sent by mail to Rev’d Richard Banham, The Rectory, Old Rectory Gardens, Wheathampstead. AL4 8AD. Or click here to apply by email.

Terms of Engagement

The Director of Music plays the organ and directs the choir at:

  • Weekly Parish Communion service (10am every Sunday)
  • Monthly Evensong (6pm every 4th Sunday of the month)
  • Weekly Choir rehearsal (currently 7.30-9.00 pm on Fridays)
  • plus services to celebrate major festivals
  • option to play at occasional weddings and funerals

The Director of Music will meet regularly with the Rector and play their part in the leadership of the church.

The organ is available for practice when the church is not otherwise being used (most afternoons & evenings).

The Choir, Organ and Music

St Helen’s has an enthusiastic and competent 4-part robed choir of mixed ability, with some good strong voices and some sight-readers in each part. The choir is affiliated to the RSCM. With the recent departure of our Choir Director and our four Choral Scholars all leaving to go to University, we urgently need to recruit new voices in each part, including up to 5 choral scholars (students in
school years 10 to 13 may apply).

Click here to listen to the choir singing at a recent Evensong service (25th Sept 2022).

We are keen to re-establish our small children’s and junior choir who used to sing an introit at our All-age Communion Service once a month.

We have a small but effective 2-manual and pedal pipe organ (rebuilt in 2015), and a good-quality digital baby grand Clavinova (with the facility for recording and playback).

The Director of Music will liaise with the Rector over the choice of hymns and other music for services. We are keen to developing a wider range of music in services, with a trend towards regularly incorporating some more modern 20th and 21st century hymns and worship songs.

St Helen’s Church, Wheathampstead

St Helen’s is a friendly church with different congregations spanning all ages, and a strong ministry team led by our Rector, Richard Banham. (Click here to find out about our team) The building is a beautiful 13th-14th century construction; it’s well situated at the centre of the village of Wheathampstead (population approx.. 7,000). St Helen’s (in Wheathampstead) together with St Peter’s (in nearby Gustard Wood) have an electoral roll of nearly 190. Average attendance at our Morning Communion service currently averages 80 adults and 7 children (down from closer to 100 adults and 15 children pre-pandemic). Average attendance at Evensong is about 35 (including choir).

Our twice-monthly informal afternoon service attracts around twenty adults and twenty children.

Being a village church, we have diverse congregations with people from many different church traditions. The rich musical life of St Helen’s and St Peter’s churches plays an important part in our worship and in the mission of the church.

As part of our recently refreshed Vision we are working on three priorities: To be a vibrant hub at the centre of our community; to become a church for all generations; and offer opportunities for everyone to encounter God’s love. Click here to find out more about our Vison.

Person Specification

The Director of Music will:

  • play the organ and accompany the choir and congregation to a high standard
  • rehearse, conduct, lead and develop the choir
  • work well with the Rector, other ministers, team members including the Organist, our Children and Families Minister, our Parish Administrator and other lay volunteers
  • support the Vision of our church (click here for more information)

Remuneration & Holidays

The Director of Music receives a monthly fee, payable monthly in arrears (plus the opportunity for additional fees for weddings and funerals). The monthly fee is in line with RSCM recommendations and is also dependent on experience. The fee is reviewed every two years.

The Director of Music has six Sundays (and weekday rehearsals) off per calendar year. (Not to be taken at Christmas or during Holy Week). Plus they can arrange for a deputy to cover his/her duties for up to six (6) Sundays per year taking the time as unpaid leave.

Click here to contact Richard Banham – the Rector to arrange to discuss the opportunity further.

You are also welcome to click here if you have questions for the current Organist.

Other Requirements

Safeguarding: the post is subject to an enhanced DBS disclosure
Equal Opportunities: St Helen’s and St Peter’s PCC is an equal opportunities employer.
UK local resident: The Organist must already have the right to reside and work in the UK and live within easy reach of Wheathampstead.