Rector of the Brierley Hill team, David Hoskin, and the Director of Music at Christ Church, Richard Ganner, have been working together to offer worship for their local community on their parish Facebook page and YouTube channel.
“Our parish Facebook page has always been well used, so when we went into lockdown, I began by filming a five-minute reflection for Mothering Sunday,” explained David. “The next week we also included a piece of music, but it wasn’t until I saw one of the national services with different people taking part that I thought we could do more and so on Easter Sunday I put together a 25-minute communion service using Bishop Martin’s sermon from the diocesan website and the Halleluiah Chorus sung by the choir!”
The services are designed to be very different to a normal service at Christ Church and David has put them together with the aim of giving supporting and encouragement to the wider Facebook audience at this time. “I wanted to create a service that felt very local but which would connect with a range of people,” said David. “The choir is one of the strengths of our worship at Quarry Bank and it was important that they were part of that.”
Director of Music, Rich had seen other friends using an app called ‘Acapella’ to record music during the lockdown and had a go at home to see whether it was something the choir might be able to use.
“We’re a small choir, but everyone is really committed,” he said. “I spoke to the members and we decided to give it a go. It came together well right from the start, the quality of what were able to produce was excellent. We sang the Halleluiah Chorus by finding a backing track on the website and since then have also done some unaccompanied pieces as well as some accompanied by me on the piano. It’s really helped to keep the choir together when we can’t meet.”
All of the choir have downloaded the app on their phone, ipad or computer and they use it to record both audio and video. The new track is sent to each person in turn and they record their part on top of the one before. At the end it comes back to Rich and his partner Steve who can edit the track and add some effects, such as a bit of reverb to sound like it was recorded in church.
“It’s not been at all complicated and everyone has enjoyed being involved and making a contribution to the Sunday service,” said Rich.
David and Rich have been very pleased with the response to the Sunday worship. “It’s clear from the feedback that it’s been watched by more than just the normal congregation,” said David. “Although we don’t know how long people watched for, our Easter service had over 500 views and we think we get around 80 - 100 people watching on a regular basis.”
“People are watching the broadcasts who wouldn’t normally go to church and have continued to watch every week! It’s wonderful to be a part of that,” concluded Rich.
The music from the Christ Church, Quarry Bank choir is available to download from the church’s YouTube Channel and Rich and David are very happy for other parishes to make use of it as long as Christ Church is credited.