The Saint James's Singers
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About the Saint James’s Singers
Julian Harris formed the St James’s Singers in 1985 when he was organist and choirmaster at St James’s Church, Alveston in Warwickshire. Since then, the choir has grown in size and stature to become one of the area’s leading ensembles.
Over the last thirty years they have passed every major choral milestone from Bach’s St John Passion to Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. They have worked with many leading internationally established stars including Catherine Bott and Ian Partridge, and have worked with young soloists who have gone on to achieve worldwide recognition such as soprano, Carolyn Sampson, and tenor, Andrew Kennedy.
The choir regularly performs in the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary in Warwick and in other local towns including Chipping Campden, Stratford-upon-Avon and Royal Leamington Spa.
To commemorate the start of WWI in 1914 the choir presented a programme of readings and music with Fine Arts Brass under the title War and Peace in Warwick. The 2014 season continued with Verdi’s monumental Requiem in November performed in Leamington Spa and ended with the traditional Christmas Concert at St Mary’s Church, Warwick in December.
In 2016 the season began with a concert at the Guild Chapel in Stratford upon Avon to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In the autumn the choir gave a lively performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The season concluded with the traditional Christmas Concert in Warwick when eminent actor Julian Glover CBE was the Reader.
The 2017 season began with a performance of Haydn’s The Creation with a full orchestra and soloists. There follows a charity concert in Alveston in October and on 23 December the traditional Christmas Concert with readings and festive music will end the year.
The Mozart Requiem will open the 2018 season next April.
The St James’s Singers always use the full orchestral accompaniment in all works and, where appropriate, use the authentic instruments.
The choir has members of all ages, and subscriptions are waived for those who are students or who are in full time education. Although the choir is based in Warwickshire, choir membership is drawn from London, Bristol, and from the South Coast to Birmingham and Coventry.
The choir rehearses at St James’s Church at Walton Hall just outside Wellesbourne on alternating Thursdays and Fridays. The current rehearsal schedule is published on the Members Page.
The choir also performs at Weddings and private functions.
Julian Harris has had a long and varied career embracing work at the R.S.C. and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He has played and conducted all over Europe including Saint Peter’s in Rome as well as in the country’s major halls, including the Queen Elizabeth and Cadogan Halls in London.
Julian is increasingly in demand in the Midlands and in London as a conductor, composer, arranger, accompanist and teacher. He has conducted the Saint James’s Singers in Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of their 30th Anniversary celebrations. He has also led the Sunday services at St Mary le Strand.
He currently conducts 3 choirs; 2 under his ‘Saint James’s Singers’ banner and the Banbury Choral Society.
He teaches A-level/GCSE, theory, piano and singing as well as the Kodaly Method. He is currently Head of Music at Kitebrook School.
He toured Venice in 2015. Playing Vivaldi on Vivaldi’s organ in the Pieta was a particular highlight. He has recently travelled to Johannesburg and conducted at Winchester Cathedral and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
Future plans include services at Westminster Abbey, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat.