St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace launches Christmas album with readings by Leslie Phillips
St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace has launched a Christmas album featuring a selection of carols by the St Mark’s choir and the well-known voice of classic British actor and friend of St Mark’s, Leslie Phillips CBE, who performs three spectacular readings on the album.
Until suffering a stroke in August this year (from which he is recovering well but slowly), Leslie has in recent years been a regular face and voice at St Mark’s, where a service of dedication of his marriage took place last year. Leslie actually played the role of a vicar in the hit series ‘Our Man at St Mark’s’ in the 1960s.
St Mark’s voluntary choir was re-formed three years ago and has performed on BBC’s Songs of Praise. Recently a new Junior Choir has also been formed at St Mark’s for children aged between 7 and 14. For the past two years, the church’s musical output has been under the direction of Tansy Castledine, who is also Director of Music at St George’s Weybridge, where the school choir won BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition in 2012.
St Mark’s has a strong musical heritage, with connections with the Victorian opera and oratorio star, Charles Santley and also Arthur Sullivan. The hymn tune Day of Rest sung to the words O Jesus I have Promised was composed by J.W. Elliott, a former organist of St Mark’s. The renowned choral musician John Williams who became the first Master of Music at the Tower of London was organist at St Mark’s in the 1950s and Margaret Cobb, the first woman to play the organ at a Promenande Concert in the Royal Albert Hall was also an organist at the church.
Leslie Phillips said:
“I am always very happy to help out at St Mark’s. We enjoy going to church when we can and it is a pleasure to be able to read as a professional.”
The Vicar of St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace, The Revd Aidan Platten commented;
“We are thrilled with this CD and delighted that Leslie Phillips gave his time to record his readings. It represents the hard work and commitment of our musicians and will be a fantastic accompaniment to Christmas this year for all who buy it.”
The album, Soon to be Born, is available now from www.stmarks.me.uk