St Paul’s has a strong and diverse musical tradition. During term time, our sung worship is led by the University of Bristol Church Choir and our Organ Scholars. Though rooted in the Anglican choral tradition, we use a varied repertoire including Taizé and Iona chants, traditional hymns and more modern songs, as well as choral anthems and motets, frequently premiering new compositions. We normally use the organ in our worship, but often use the piano and have a number of talented instrumentalists who play occasionally too.
Recitals and concerts are often held in the Church, which has a warm, clear acoustic particularly suitable for choral and chamber music. The large wooden dais is an excellent flexible performance space.
The Church and Upper Room are both available for rehearsal for groups of any size – see our venue hire page for more information.
One Equal Music
One Equal Music is our music foundation at St Paul’s. One Equal Music aims to widen access to musical opportunities, in order to improve wellbeing, foster community, raise confidence, and encourage talent. Find out more on the OEM website here!
The University of Bristol Church Choir is always happy to be joined by new members. The choir operates as a society affiliated to the University of Bristol Students’ Union, but also welcomes singers from outside of the university. Highlights over the year include our Advent Carol Service, Choral Evensongs, concerts and a week-long tour to sing at a UK cathedral. The choir has sung for weddings, events at the University of Bristol, and has collaborated with a number of organisations and groups, including Bedminster BID, the Amos Trust and Carmina, as well as being a core part of One Equal Music, based at St Paul’s. The choir is always open to collaborative opportunities and other engagements: contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in engaging the choir for an event.
Following our UOBCC at 50 event, at which we welcomed back over 90 former and present choir members and organ scholars, we’ve set up an alumni group. Please get in touch with the choir if you’re a former member and would like to be added to our email distribution list – we always love to hear from past members of the choir at St Paul’s.
In collaboration with its music foundation, One Equal Music, St Paul’s Church offers four choral scholarships (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) to sing in the University Church Choir and partake in OEM outreach and performance. The alto scholarship is open to anyone, regardless of gender.
Scholars are expected to sing at the weekly Friday rehearsal and Sunday service (Eucharist or Choral Evensong). Scholars additionally contribute an allotted amount of time to the One Equal Music foundation project: singing Great Sacred Music concerts at St Paul’s and across the city, supporting choral music outreach in local schools under the direction and supervision of the One Equal Music development officer.
At £1,200 p.a. this is a unique and exciting opportunity for singers looking to sing in a successful, high quality church choir, support and inspire the next generation of choral singers, and take choral music to a wider audience.
Please note, the application deadline for the 2023-24 Choral Scholarships has now passed. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for future Choral Scholarships, please contact us here.
St Paul’s Church Clifton offers an Organ Scholarship, with applications open to students studying any course at the University of Bristol. The scholarship is an excellent opportunity for those looking to develop their skills as a church musician in a safe and supportive environment. The organ scholars at St Paul’s are responsible for leading the music during term time, including directing and rehearsing the University of Bristol Church Choir, however applicants are not expected to have prior knowledge of choir direction and will be supported in developing this skill in their first year by the Senior Organ Scholar. With no director of music at St Paul’s, the organ scholars will gain a great deal of practical experience, playing or conducting every week, while being supported and encouraged by the choir, clergy team and other members of the church.
The organ was built by F. Rothwell in 1905, incorporating some earlier pipework, but was substantially reconstructed in 1975 by Percy Daniel & Co. in a more eclectic style. It has 29 speaking stops over 2 manuals and pedals, with electric action. The stoplist can be found here.
The church also has a fine Bechstein Model D grand piano on the dais, an upright in the Julian Chapel, and a digital piano in the upper room.