Category Archives: Virtual Choir

Farnham Festival of Remembrance returns

The Farnham Festival of Remembrance returns this year but will be online, here on the website, on Saturday, November 7, from 6pm.

Covid restrictions mean that it has been impossible to hold the festival in its home in St John’s, but, nothing daunted, we’ve gone online, with participants recording themselves separately and the whole being put together to create a moving event which pays tribute to all those who have served in times of conflict and peace. This year the festival also commemorates the 75th anniversary of both VE and VJ Day which marked the end of World War Two.

Jeremy Hunt, MP, will open the festival and he will be followed by an assortment of readings, reflections, prayers, poems, songs and hymns and the National Anthem played by Farnham Brass Band.

Simon Alexander has been working seemingly non-stop to organise the event and says: “Each November as a community and a nation we take a moment to pay tribute to the service men and women of our Armed Forces in an act of Remembrance.

“Living in Farnham, the presence of military service is all around us: Farnham, the home of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment; neighbouring Aldershot, the home of the British Army; nearby Odiham, one of the bases of our Royal Air Force; and Sandhurst, the home of our world-renowned Military Officers Academy to name just a few.

“Remembrance is a time for us to pay tribute to these brave men and women who serve so selflessly to protect and defend our nation and our freedom.

“War comes in many forms and, as such, the public service of our Armed Forces comes in many forms too. This year we have leant on the help of our military again in our time of need here at home to help us deliver essential services during the pandemic. Dedicated, agile and responsive as ever, the men and women of our Armed Forces have responded to our nation’s call.

“As we embark on our annual national commemorations of remembrance please join us online along with the Royal British Legion; Princess of Wales Royal Regiment; Sea, Army and Air Cadets; Jeremy Hunt MP; the Mayor of Farnham; Farnham Brass Band; local schools and a range of readers, soloists and performers for the Farnham Festival of Remembrance 2020, whom we thank for their time and skill in contributing, and let us together not forget our service men and women, past, present and future.”

Join us online for this year’s Farnham Festival of Remembrance.

Pictured: The Combined Forces at last year’s Farnham Festival of Remembrance in St John’s Church.

A Song for Farnham

Here is A Song for Farnham! This parish and other churches across Farnham have joined forces and voices to sing Amazing Grace.

As well as this parish, St Andrew’s Church; St James’, Rowledge; St Joan of Arc; The Spire Church; and Farnham Vineyard have sung a verse each.

The hymn is a favourite of many and was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, who eventually became an advocate for the abolition of slavery.

Lesley Crawley explains why the churches have decided to sing it: “The churches in Farnham wanted to make a song to lift spirits now that some people have been locked in for three months and many face uncertainty as to when it will end for them. We chose Amazing Grace – written by a slave owner who saw the error of his ways and found God even though he considered himself beyond the pale given his previous life. It speaks of God’s unconditional love and grace in our lives, no matter how we feel about ourselves.”

Listen to A Song for Farnham on social media and at and other church websites from Sunday, June 21.

Get involved with a virtual choir

We want to create a virtual choir and allow as many people as possible to get involved. Bob Shatwell explains what to do:

The parish musicians have been collaborating over the past few weeks by playing together remotely, using an app designed for iPhones and iPads called Acapella. As far as I’m aware, at the present time only Margaret and I have the app, which limits participation somewhat. The following are basic instructions on what to do if you would like to record a video of yourself singing or playing an instrument along with one or both of us. It should also be possible to play along with someone who doesn’t have the app (Frances, for example).

These instructions are tentative and untried at the moment. There are likely to be glitches! For this reason, I’ve given them a version number and date. I suspect we’ll modify them after we gain experience.

General principles

If you are singing along with someone, it’s essential that you can hear them, so you can sing in time and in tune. Basically you need an audio track playing to you through earphones whilst you record a video of yourself using your device’s microphone and camera. It is also important that the track you are singing along to is not picked up by the microphone. This will lead to funny audio effects, typically an echo or positive feedback (whistling).

If you have the Acapella app on an iPhone or iPad

There will be a link on this website that you can click on. This will open up in the Acapella app and you should see a composite image with a few blank partitions. Ask to edit and click on one of these partitions. Record yourself, if necessary several times until you are happy with it, and then click “Save and Share”. Use the collaboration option that comes up to email a link to Margaret and me. I can download the video as a file and send it to Alan for incorporation in the service.

If you have this app and are intending to use it, we need to know early in the week. When we start a collaboration project (i.e. record a hymn) using Acapella, we have to make a choice about how many boxes to display, corresponding to how many different tracks there will be. We can’t change this retrospectively, although we can always leave some spaces unused. It might look a bit odd in the finished product, though.

If you have a PC

To use it on a PC you have to install an Android simulator.  If you do not know what I am talking about then it is probably beyond you!  If you search for “Acapella PC download” you will get the following option (if you search on Google it will probably be the top one):

Google Acapella

This will tell you what to do.


The easiest approach is to select one of the Acapella hymns linked to above and click on the Get App button.  You will need quite a recent version of Android, as when Alan tried he was told his hardware wasn’t compatible with the version of the App that was attempting to load.



Image by Jens P. Raak from Pixabay