Category Archives: Magazine Articles

Williamwood’s Top-ten Christmas Carols


Have you ever wondered what the most popular Christmas hymns & carols are? Well at Williamwood this year we will discover our top-ten most favourite!!!

Christmas Carols are loved by many and we only get the chance to sing them for around 4 weeks every year. Some are long and some are short, some are old some are new! It is our intention to publish the result and use these results at some of our services during December.

So, get your thinking caps on! What is YOUR most favourite Christmas Carol??

Hark the herald? O come O come Emmanuel? Away in a Manager? Starry night? The list is endless! You only have one vote though!

Use the contact us option to tell us.

Thanks, Alan Mathew


Remember to include: Your Name , Your Favourite Carol    , and   your reasons why (optional)        

Reply ASAP, but at least by 14th December

Williamwood Music November 2014

Hi folks,

I can’t believe it’s nearly October, and already I have got the rough order for Christmas with the Choir all sorted, and have with the help of the choir done the timings and looked out the music from the vaults! Sometimes, as a Church Musician, you feel a bit like the supermarket chains – in that as one season finishes (i.e. Summer) you straight away turn to the next season (i.e. Winter) to get the preparation all in order. We’ll still be singing Christmas Carols and I will already have one eye on Easter – and the cycle continues!

Before I really talk about Christmas, lets have a quick recap of the new session so far. It’s great to see Jerry and Jean N back with us the choir regularly. We’re always on the look out for “new recruits” so two familiar faces are a welcome sight. It’s been a busy few weeks!!! We were the choir with no home on 18th September but enjoyed an “At home with the Little’s” instead of our usual surrounding due to the church being used as a polling station. We were very grateful to Jean and Neil for the use of their back room and piano and for the goodies at tea-time!

We’ve sang our way through various facets of Love and I have tried to play my way through various themes of Love at the organ. The theme will of course continue on a smaller scale as everything we sing in some way talks about an area of love, but the recurring theme will have stopped by the time you read this. We hope you have enjoyed it though?

Anthems have included old and new, and some borrowed over from Summer Choir. These shorter songs such as “Jesus us the Name we honour” and “Father we love you” are nice items and are easy to learn which means more time can be spent on the more difficult of anthems, so it’s a bit of a balancing act! One of the anthems that we have enjoyed learning is for Remembrance Sunday. The now well-known and much loved “Where ever you are” by Paul Mealor and brought to our ears by Gareth Malone and his Military Wives on the BBC. We hope you enjoy it, and with it being a modern item it really does suit a 21st Century Remembrance service.

We’ve been singing an introit each week and we hope that these short songs help ease us into worship, to help steady the mind and focus us on the act of worship that is about to begin. We stay in the choir stalls for these introits and we hope that we can be heard OK over the organ. Please let us know if the balance is not quite right.


The choir will once again take most of the service on 14th December, being the 3rd Sunday in Advent. Christmas with the Choir is always something I look forward to, and we hope that all you Inspire readers look forward to it too!

I want to make an Invitation to any member of Williamwood who might like to come along to our practices from mid-October (announcements will have been made in the weekly news sheet) and augment our singing for the 14th December. Our choir is very able to do this on our own, but it’s nice too to invite others to join us, especially at this joyous time in the lead up to Christmas. After all we only get to sing Carols once a year!!!

The readers for the service will come from our congregation, so it’s a real “in house” effort showing just how good “TEAM WILLIAMWOOD” works. If you have a burning desire to read at the service please let Alan know ASAP as the list will be completed by early December.

CAROL SINGING – I hope to take a group of folks Carol Singing in December to Aiden’s Brae. If you would like to take part in this, and perhaps song Carol Singing around the streets of the Parish as well, get in touch with me so I can take a note of names and keep you updated.

The Choir will have a well earned rest after the main service in December, but will start back with our Anthems early in January. Our first practice of the new year will be 8th January in the Session House. As usual an invitation to new members is always made, and warm welcome is assured!

Looking to 2015
As I said choir will start back on 8th January. All are welcome! We will be looking at our introits and anthems for a new year, but with Easter firmly in our minds! I mentioned in the last Inspire about the possibility of an all age & all ability event for Easter called “Resurrection Rock”. I first head of this 3 years ago from Iain Reid but we never had the opportunity to put it into action. It’s a wonderful combination of music and reader lead stories from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. You can read about it and hear some of the music here –

As a welcome spin off from the Open Doors day in September we look forward to the Williamwood High Young Musician of the Year taking place in our church in 2015. I’m sure that we are all so glad to have the High School once again using our buildings and interacting with us.

The events team are busy with that event and also an Organ Recital by myself in January and a Concert with Christopher Barr’s new choir Legato Voices later on in the Spring, so the music is indeed in good heart at Williamwood. Williamwood Music’s strap-line is “I will sing with the understanding” which is from 1 Corinthians 14 at verse 15. That whole verse reminds us that we should pray with the Holy Spirit that it within us, but pray so with intelligence and understanding; and also that we should sing in the same way – with the Holy Spirit that is within us, with intelligence and with understanding of what we are singing.

It is indeed my hope that we convey the real meaning of what we sing and that it does come from our hearts, where the Holy Spirit does dwell within us all. That we sing with conviction, with our emotions and most of all that we sing it with JOY.

Alan Mathew

Williamwood Music – Summer Inspire 2014

Dear Friends, July 2014

I hope that you are all enjoying this summer season? I certainly am. I am reminded of the old hymns – Summer Suns are glowing, When morning guilds the skies, Jesus loves me for a sunbeam – who all remembers these? Of course with the first one we talk about sun in a sense in that all at times the sun is shining somewhere. This is a reminder that God’s love also shines every. The suns light provides warm and of course God’s love provides us with spiritual warmth, love and protection If you are holidaying, in the UK or abroad, I hope you’ve had a good spell of weather and travelled safe.

clip_image002SUMMER CHOIR

If you have managed along at all during the summer months you will have heard our Summer Choir – back after a year’s break. We’ve met each week at 10am in the session house to learn something easy but tuneful! We’ve introduced these items as introits, anthems and as sung blessings. There have been many kind remarks about what we’ve sang and we all thank you for that. Many of you have commented how nice it is to sing the blessing at the end – and this is of course a blessing we should sing to each other as our service ends. There will be a few more Sunday’s before “summer” ends and if you want to come to Summer Choir then please do so. Everyone is welcome.



Our Church Choir resumes practices on Thursday 21st August at 7:30pm in the Session House. This is a few weeks earlier than usual due to your Organist/Director of Music having the first two weeks of September in Spain! This means that there is no Thursday practice 4th and 11th September. New members are of course very welcome – and we have spaces in all sections. Just come along and we will give you a very warm welcome.

Looking forward to the new session I am full of enthusiasm to work with the choir after my spell away. When I came back things were winding down for the summer, but we enjoyed a few Thursday evenings before our end of session dinner. The plan is to look at some anthems on the theme of “Love” in September. We have a nice setting of Love Divine by John Stainer which some of you may know, also a nice setting of How Deep the Fathers Love for us by Stuart Townend and a new setting of Love Divine by Howard Goodal. Our first batch of music looks towards Remembrance Sunday and it’s my hope to have the choir sing Wherever you are by Paul Mealor, of the Military Wives fame. After than we have Christmas, Lessons and Carols and the new year to look to. So, it’s going to be a busy session.


Over the course of the summer, there have been issues pertaining to the organ, which at the time of writing as still being investigated and looked into. The Allen (UK) organ company have visited 4 times and have been asked back to assist more. Fortunately I have been able to play it each week (with the exception on one) and the issues haven’t interfered too much with our Sunday services. I hope that things will be rectified soon, so that the problems don’t impact on the choir music come September.

It may interest some of you to know that for most of June and July, I have only had around 1/2 the organ available to me each week which severely limits the sounds, tones and texture that are available. The latest issue seems to be a tuning problem in that the two “sides” or “computers” of the organ are out of tune with each other. I’ve not let you hear this on Sundays but it’s a little like a harmonium which isn’t all that pleasing to the ear! As I say, fingers crossed, the issues should be all sorted soon.


Christmas? Christmas? What do you mean, talking about that already – I can hear some of you shout! Well, all I want to say is that if anyone wants to join the choir for our Christmas celebrations you will be made most welcome. We will likely participate in a Lessons and Carols Service of some shape or form in December, and help lead the singing at Watch night etc. I had always hoped to go carol singing around Aidan’s Brae and hopefully we can start that this year, and also bring some lighter and fun Christmas songs to the people there.


Looking to 2015……….

I would hope to do, as in previous years, something that everyone can join in with. I have a few ideas that I soon want to run by Linda and Eric (or even a new minister?) some are more serious than others. Two of the ideas would fall at Easter – one is a coming together of local church choirs and a presentation of “Stainer’s Crucifixion” and the other is much more upbeat and family orientated called “Resurrection Rock” which might be suited to an Easter Day service. Watch this space to see how my ideas progress.

I want to close by thanking you all for your continued appreciation and good wishes for what we get up to musically at Williamwood. On a personal level the welcome I received back to you was truly wonderful and was indeed a “coming home” feeling. I’m glad to be back!!


Alan Mathew

Music News May 2012


Dear friends at Williamwood

As I write this music article for the Summer Inspire magazine we are preparing for our Jubilee Event on Saturday 2nd June.  This will have taken place by the time most of you read this.  I hope that it will have been an exciting and joyful evening when we’ve looked back and celebrated Williamwood 75 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Thanks are due to the various people who have taken part and helped in their own way, but specifically we need to thank all the singers and musicians from our community who have worked hard and enjoyed sharing music for what is a one-off special event.

Adult Church ChoirOur session ended in May but we have continued to meet in preparation for the Jubilee. Our end of session dinner takes place on 14th June at Williamwood Golf Club where we and our partners relax and have fellowship (and a good meal also) away from the busyness of our weekly work.

It’s been a remarkable session during 2011-12.   We’ve achieved far much more than I thought possible.  I would go as far to say that we have not only improved our repertoire, but also improved our quality and our enjoyment.  I am very lucky indeed to be at the helm of such a competent church choir, and it has been said in this past year that we have one of the best soprano sections (if not “the” best) in the Southside.

Through the internet we have been heard as far afield as the USA.  This is through our on-line recordings of services and also through our YouTube channel – just look for wmwoodmusic.

The new session will begin at the end of August (probably on Thursday 23rd August) or the beginning of September – all depending on when the choirmaster takes his holidays! We would welcome any one who is interested to come along.  You will find a warmth and friendship that is only found in church choirs – come along to experience it. Look out for weekly intimations for more information.

Church Music Groupa group of around 8 (or so) singers, some guitars and a flute (plus some bongos – thank you Carole) have taken part in some of the services in 2012.  I think that people have enjoyed both our “sound” and the items of praise we have lead or introduced.  We have said good-bye to Ann McCormick our flautist, as her placement here at Williamwood has come to an end.  We say thank you Ann for immersing yourself in all aspects of our music.  We hope you’ve had as much fun as the rest of us!

Likewise, Music Group will resume in the new session (Aug/September) and anyone who plays an instrument is welcome to come along.  Even if you don’t play an instrument you are welcome to come along to sing, or utilise the box of percussion instruments we have but rarely use.  Look out for weekly intimations for the first meeting of 2012-13.


It’s that time of the year when summer choir resumes. We start meeting in the session house on Sunday 3rd June at 10:15am.  Summer Choir will meet weekly at 10:15am throughout June (with the exception of Communion Sunday) July and August.

We will look at the hymns and learn anything that may be new, and also each week try to prepare a simple, yet effective, item from CH4 or other sources as either a call to worship, a meditation, anthem or something to end our worship. You do not need to be in the church choir to take part and you can come as often as you are able.  All we ask is that you enjoy your time with us.

Williamwood Singers - The Williamwood Singers have just completed their 25th year as a group of enthusiastic young singers, giving a concert at Christmas and in the Spring.

At our concert a few weeks ago we displayed some of the many photos taken over the years – from the early days when we often went out and about singing in different places through rather lean years when we just managed to keep going.  We now have a very able choir with a large repertoire of uplifting songs.  It is wonderful to hear these young voices developing – some have now been with us for 10 years.  As to age there is no upper limit, we’re always ready to welcome new members.  The choir, with excellent instrumentalists from our own church and beyond has given great pleasure to a great number of people – if you can sing (age 10 and upwards) do come and join us on Sunday 26th August at 6.00pm.

Meanwhile many thanks from me to the choir, for giving their best at the concert, to our past accompanists – Aindrea McKay who was with us for 17 years, followed for a short time by Gail Alexander, and now to Mairi McIntyre, for all their hard work and to our many supporters who make it all worthwhile.  Norah F Gray

Music Makers – like the regular music groups we don’t meet during the summer months.  However, we met rather intermittently during 2011-12 and that has been disruptive to everyone who is keen for Music Makers to really lift-off.  Starting in September we will meet regularly, but only once a month.

From September, we will meet on the 2nd Sunday of each month from 12:30pm to 1pm.  Kids and/or parents should come to the Church and meet in the front pews.  Ailie and I will prepare something with the kids and/or mums and dads that we can sing at Christmas-time.

Looking forward to 2012-13

  • Williamwood Singers resume on Sunday 26th August at 6pm in the Session house.
  • Adult church choir resumes (23rd August) – look out for weekly notices
  • Music Makers resumes – 2nd Sunday of September at 12:30pm
  • Music Group resumes Aug/Sept – lookout for details

Friends of Williamwood Music

As we move through another year I would like to get together a proper list of “friends of Williamwood Music”. You may like to help serve tea after church for us, or help steward at a concert or serve tea.  Please, just pass your name to me.


The Trumpet Shall Sound – Sunday 14th October, 7pm

A Special concert in the Church with Organ and Trumpet, featuring Matt Edwards (organist) and Grant Golding (trumpet) – this is a special event taking place as part of our 75th anniversary celebrations.  Mark the date in your diary and prepare to be amazed at the wonderful sound combination of organ and trumpet.  Keep an eye out for more details in weekly notices for what promises to be an excellent evening of music.

I do hope that your summer holidays are good and that the weather keeps up for us – hope I’ve not gone and put my foot in it! I do look forward to seeing you at Church during the summer to take part in the music of each morning service and enjoy the fellowship of Williamwood Church.