Human beings are fundamentally musical creatures, and the church as a whole has long made use of music's power to calm, sooth, inspire, move, entertain and energise. We use it to enrich our worship of God and bring us to a deeper understanding of what it is to be a Christian.
The three churches in the Benefice offer opportunities for very different kinds of music-making in support of worship.
St Mary's is a large medieval space which has flattering acoustics and room for 500 people. As a true parish church, St Mary's offers a wide range of music at services and gatherings - from hymns accompanied by the organ during High Mass, sung Eucharist or Evensong, to 20th and 21st century worship songs accompanied by piano, guitar and violin. Some services are supported by a choir under the direction of Mrs Sandra Brooks. Choir newcomers are welcome.
Music for services is generally chosen by a small group including the clergy, the organist and the choir director. Details of music chosen can be found at jonoflayham.com/stmarys.
The 3-manual organ at St Mary's is in a fine Father Smith case dating from 1687. Michael Colleer, a former St Mary's organist, has written a fascinating leaflet, A History of the Organ at St Mary's, Hadleigh, which is also available in church.
St Mary's has recently acquired a 9-foot concert grand piano for use both in church services and in concerts and recitals.
St Andrew's and All Saints' offer more intimate settings in the peace of their respective villages. Both have organs, and services tend to follow the Anglican tradition.
If you feel you would like to contribute to or influence music making in the Benefice, do get in touch - we'd be very happy to hear from you.