Holy Nativity has had an RSCM affiliated choir for many years, and was one of the first three churches in Bristol to join its predecessor, the SECM, in 1927 (along with St Mary Redcliffe, and St Saviour's, Chandos Road, Redland). On the wall of the choir practice room is a cutting from the Daily Telegraph, displaying an article dated 1936, reporting on the SECM Festival held at the Crystal Palace. Holy Nativity sent several choristers to this event , one of whom, the late Harold Hanford, was happy to reminisce what a splendid occasion that service was.
Numbers in recent times have reduced, but the few dedicated members who remain give a valuable accompaniment to enhance worship and glorify God.
The choir leads the congregation in the singing of hymns and psalms and provides a weekly communion anthem. On occasion the choir is supported by various extra singers who cannot commit to weekly services but are happy to come along once in a while.
Thus we are able to sing Choral Evensong at least a couple of times a year, with Introit, Responses, Canticles and an Anthem, and to provide music for special services, such as the 150th anniversary of the Church in 2015, when for Evensong we sang 'Beati Quorum Via' by Charles Stanford, the Walmsley in D Minor Canticles and the Anthem was 'Blessed City Heavenly Salem' by Edward Bairstow.
We are always happy to welcome new members; please contact the Organist Kathy Gibbs.
The organ standing on the West Gallery has been in place since 1956/7, actually being installed slightly before the completion of the rebuilt church. This represented a move from the more traditional location in the Chancel where the previous organ had been located, and was not without a degree of controversy at the time.
The 'new' organ had been discussed during a PCC meeting by the then organist, Percy Mapowder, who spoke of it as "...an organ worthy of Holy Nativity" It was at that time in Oakfield Road Unitarian Church, where it was deemed too large. This option then became the choice of the PCC, and subsequently Vowles Organ builders were contracted to move and rebuild it.
Several modifications were made to the organ during the move from Clifton to Knowle. A large pedal reed didn't make the rebuild ( however this omission was rectified many years later when Father John Bradley obtained the ophicleide from the Central Hall organ in Old Market) and a 4 rank Mixture on the Great didn't come across either. The Setter board is Vowles Patent.
Over the years the organ has been added to. The Great diapasons are by Vowles. The solo reeds on the Choir (Tuba, Orch. Oboe and Clarinet) are reputed to be Nicholson. The Swell has 16ft, 8ft and 4 ft reeds and "a responsive box the size of a small garden shed", whilst part of a 3-rank mixture replaced a Viol d' Orchestre.
The current organ replaced the one lost during the Blitz, which was a rebuilt Vowles. That one was divided on either side of the Chancel with a detached console at the chancel steps. The wiring for this organ was subcontracted to Rushworth and Dreaper. This organ was rededicated in April 1936.
The organ is currently showing its age and is certainly in need of an overhaul, the cost of which is likely to be beyond Holy Nativity's means.