The Choirs at St John's

The Church Choir – our traditional robed choir

St John’s places a high value on music as an important part of our regular worship. We have a strong tradition of choral music dating back many years and are fortunate to support two choirs, offering everyone interested in singing the opportunity to participate to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the commitment they are able to offer.

The Church Choir is a group of about 15 adults and children who sing at all but one of our Sunday morning services as well as a “Cathedral style” Choral Evensong on the second Sunday evening of each month. 

We also sing at the special services around Christmas and Easter, as well as at other important times throughout the church’s year.   

What do we do?  

We aim to bring of our best to worship and so our Church Choir works hard to bring music of a high standard in support of our church’s liturgy. The Choir’s musical repertoire is broad, ranging from plainsong through to the flowering of British choral music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, right up to contemporary compositions. We prepare an anthem each Sunday morning as well as more extensive musical contributions during our Carol Services at Advent and Christmas, and of course our Choral Evensongs. 

Who can join?  

 Our Church Choir welcomes junior members aged seven and above. We broadly follow the Royal School of Church Music’s Voice for life training programme and we encourage all our younger singers to enter external examinations for Dean or Bishop Awards (the green and purple ribbons awarded by the Diocese of Southwark). Training and requirements for these exams include:- - Musical skills and understanding - sing a psalm, hymn and anthem where they are tested on interpretation and musicality and also undertake an aural test; - Choir in Context – answer questions on the bible, liturgy and ministry, belonging to the choir; - Testimonial by the Director of Music on the candidate’s commitment to the choir. We also welcome adult singers of any age, particularly those with previous singing experience and a love of church music, to form our Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass parts. 

When we rehearse: 

  The Church Choir rehearses in the Choir Vestry each Thursday evening from 1930 – 2030 for junior members and 2000 – 2100 for adult members. 

There is also a warm-up rehearsal before each service.

Interested in joining us?

If you or a member of your family are interested in joining either of our choirs or would just like to have a chat about what is involved, our Director of Music Ian Brentnall would be delighted to hear from you.

 He can be contacted on 020 8290 6594 or email

The come and sing choir

The Come and Sing Choir are very friendly and enthusiastic group who welcomes anyone who enjoys singing. 

We sing on our own at the fourth Sunday morning service of each month and join with the Church Choir on the second Sunday morning. 

No previous experience or training is necessary! 

This choir is particularly suitable for those who love singing but are unable to offer the commitment for membership of the Church Choir. 

Members sing whenever they can, we don’t keep a register!   

 Are there any rehearsals?  

 You are welcome to join the Church choir rehearsal before the fourth Sunday of each month and there is also a warm-up rehearsal before each service.

Choir Services

If you would like to hear our traditional choir in action, come along any Sunday morning at 10am, exept the 4th Sunday of the month

Or why not join us for one of your special choral services.

Choral Music February 2018 - May 2018 (pdf)


Want to join us?

If you would be interested in joining the choir or would like some information about choir services,

 please contact Ian Brentnall on 0208 2906594 or 

email him

Our Director of Music

Ian Brentnall

Ian Brentnall Director of Music and Choir Master

Born in Brighton in 1961, Ian Brentnall spent his formative years in Orpington during which time he studied the Organ under Peter Moorse, completed his schooling, and forged a career by following his father into the London Insurance market.  

Ian’s potential as a singer was spotted and he was duly invited to study singing at the Blackheath Conservatoire of Music under Brenda Stanley and thereafter with Michael Maurell and Dennis Wicks.  This led to work with a number of professional opera companies and the BBC, as well as solo concert engagements.  

Ian has been active as organist at churches in South east London area including St. Paul’s, Crofton, St. Mary’s, Shortlands and St. John the Evangelist, Sidcup. 

He resumed the role of Director of Music at St. John the Divine, Selsdon in September 2014 after a break of some thirty years, having trained the choir and ultimately led them to sing a week of services at Chester Cathedral in 1986.

Our Organist

Jonathan Musgrave studied at the Royal College of Music as an undergraduate, postgraduate and Junior Fellow, gaining a first class honours degree and a Master of Music with distinction.  In a solo role he has performed concertos by Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven, and taken part in masterclasses by Bryce Morrison and Artur Pizarro.   As an accompanist he has worked with instruments and voices of every kind, and his duo partnerships have led to engagements from the Kirckman Concert Society and Park Lane Group, to critical acclaim. He is also in demand as a repetiteur.  As well as innumerable appearances in London (venues including the Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall and Wigmore Hall) and around the south of England, he has also performed at music festivals in Cambridge, King’s Lynn and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Jonathan Musgrave

Jonathan has been an Organist at St Johns since 2003.

The Church Organ

The fine new Parish Church of Selsdon needed an organ and in 1936, the Liverpool firm of Rushworth and Dreaper were commissioned to build an instrument which would be powerful enough to lead the congregation when the church was full as well as to achieve subtle accompaniment of a choir.  

It was never conceived or built as a recital instrument and it is clear from the original specification provided by Rushworth’s that although the chests, soundboards, frames and electro-pneumatic action were all brand new, the pipework was sourced from an earlier instrument, the origin and age of which is completely unknown.  Unfortunately, Rushworth and Dreaper went out of business in 2002 and, tragically and unbelievably, almost all their records were destroyed at that time. Therefore, the origin of the pipework of the Selsdon instrument is likely to remain a mystery. 

If you know more, please do contact us and share your knowledge.