St Philip and St James’s church, Grafton Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2DD



Our Choir

The choir of St Philip & James is a traditional 4-part robed choir numbering around 25, and affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music.  The choir sings at 10.00am Family Communion on most Sundays and Choral Evensong twice a month at 6.00pm.  Anthems are sung at all services, and the choir has a wide repertoire of evening canticles and responses.  During Lent the choir sings Compline and Tenebrae. In recent years the choir has visited several Cathedrals, including Exeter, Worcester and Salisbury to sing Evensong.

Children’s choir 
The children in the choir receive theory lessons and follow the RSCM Voices for Life scheme.  The Director of Music is assisted by chorister parents in this role.

New members from the age of 8 upwards are always welcome.  Practices are on Friday evenings in the Church from 7.30pm – 9.00pm. Children from 7.00pm, leaving at 8.15pm.

Link to Royal School of Church Music

Our Music group


The Music Group leads worship at the morning service on the 1st Sunday of each month. At these services we sing contemporary worship songs and modern settings of traditional hymns. All ages are welcome and singers do not need to be able to read music – an enthusiasm for singing and the ability to hold a melody is all that is required.  Rehearsals are on the Friday evening preceding the first Sunday of the month, 6pm-7pm.

We have a growing number of instrumentalists and people who play instruments are welcome to enquire. On occasions the choir and the music group combine to perform at large festivals and in larger choral works. If you’d like to know more, please contact Linda Sucksmith on 01242 526135 or Ginnie Paget on 01242 570656.

Our Director of Music


Russell Burton has been the Director of Music at St Philip and St James since 2015.

After graduating with distinction in organ, piano and conducting from the Birmingham Conservatoire, and gaining the ARCO, Russell spent much of his career in schools. He was organist at Taunton School, Head of Choral Studies at Charterhouse, Director of Music at Hurstpierpoint College and Bradfield College and Head of Singing at The King’s School, Gloucester. During 13 years at Gloucester Cathedral, Russell was not only the senior Lay Clerk in the Choir, but also a soloist in the Three Choirs Festival, Director of the Cathedral Junior Choir and Head of the Outreach Programme.

Russell has directed the St Cecilia Singers and the Ross on Wye Choral Society, currently teaches at Pate’s Grammar School and is the vocal coach to several professional singers. He is an adjudicator and has been an ABRSM examiner since 1995, touring the Far East on several occasions.