Music invites a response; emotional, spiritual and communal. Music in Worship invites that response and allows us to offer our music back to God in return, whether in congregational hymns, worship songs, 4-part harmony anthems or Taizé chants, to give a few examples. Diversity is our strength. We recognise that people’s response to different kinds of music in worship can be very varied in a congregation which holds all age groups and all musical tastes, and it is precisely because our experiences of music are so individual that we hope to meet the varied needs of the congregation in worship.

Music at our 11.00am morning services at St John’s can vary from a service with traditional organ hymns, played on our Conacher organ to a service with more contemporary music, played and sung by our unique music group.

Contact details: Pam Dimbleby


Our organ may be unique! It may be the only surviving Conacher organ from the early days of the cinema.

The invention of the motion picture camera in 1890 gave us the “Silent Era” of the movies.

Films remained silent until 1927 and during that time were often accompanied by a cinema organ.

Our organ began its days in 1920 when it was installed in the Central Cinema, Harrogate. The publicity at the time states that the Central Cinema had, “….full orchestral music with the accompaniment on the Grand Organ, installed at a cost of £3,300.” Quite a sum in those days! At that time it had a set of chimes and possibly also drums and other percussion. From 1923 to 1928, it was played by Stanley Johnson.

In 1949 the Central Cinema closed and during the mid 1950s the organ was moved to St John’s. In a service on 19th November 1955, it was “Dedicated to the glory of God by the Provost of Wakefield, The Very Rev. Noel T Hopkins. M. A.” The service was conducted by the Rev. R.A.C. Broddribb and the organist was Harold Rayner. Mr Rayner was Organist from 1928-1968.

A ‘plate’ in the organ loft tells us that in 1983 the organ was “cleaned and improved” by Mr. J. E. Shippin, Organ builder from Leeds, and “brought back into use” on 18th September of that year. The Vicar was the Rev. Michael Storey and the organist was Miss Jill V. Ramsden.

Details of the present specification are listed in the National Pipe Organ Register: Ref: RO1134 (when it was at Harrogate) and RO1135 (as it is now at St John’s.)


The St John’s Music Group consists of instrumentalists and singers who accompany more contemporary songs from “The Source”. We offer something different, as with our present line-up of acoustic guitar, piano, two violins, viola, clarinet and singers we differ from people’s usual concept of a church music group. In addition to some of the Sunday services, we provide music for other occasions, from secular jazzy Christmas songs as part of the Christingle celebrations, to pieces at a concert. We are always happy to welcome new members.

Contact details:

The augmented Music Group players after playing for the two Christingle services on Christmas Eve. We had a lot of fun playing Christmas songs (Rocking around the Christmas tree, Rudolph, etc.) in addition to the carols for the lovely services.


The St John’s Voices, our four-part-harmony singers, join together to rehearse at various times during the year. The choir is open to anyone. Not all of our members regularly attend church services, but are happy to join us rehearsing for and singing at special services and events. These might be as varied as an important service in the Church’s year, a music corporate communion, a choral evensong, nine lessons and carols, a concert, or even a trip out to the Beamish Open Air Museum to ‘dress up’ and sing as the choir in the charming Pit Village Chapel. For some of these occasions we’re joined by singers from St Matthew’s, Rastrick, to form the Rastrick Voices.

If you think you would like to join us, please contact Pam Dimbleby:

St John's Voices Past Events:

Brighouse Victorian Christmas

On Advent Sunday the St John’s voices joined singers from many other churches to form the choir for part of the ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ which was taking place. We enjoyed ourselves dressing up in Victorian costume (or as Victorian as we could make it!) and as the combined “Brighouse and Rastrick Churches Together” choir we sang some favourite carols, accompanied by Sally, our St John’s accompanist. A good time was had by all!

Carol Singing at Rastrick Hall & Grange

On Thursday 5th December, members of the Rastrick Voices (the name we use when we form a joint choir from both St John’s and St Matthew’s, Rastrick) sang carols with the residents at Rastrick Hall and Rastrick Grange Care Homes.

Not every choir can sing unaccompanied, but the Rastrick Voices proved that they could! What’s more, they sang accompaniment in harmony and made an amazing sound! What a lovely relaxed atmosphere it was, helped by Canon Michael Storey’s introductions to the carols! I watched the faces of the people as we were singing, and knew it was worth it. Some sang along with us, and others mouthed the words, but everyone appreciated the special moment which was happening there; both the residents and the ‘Voices’!