A CHOIRMASTER at the centre of bitter employment dispute said the Christmas period lost its sparkle after the choir fell silent.
One of Wrexham’s biggest churches – St Giles’ Church – was without a formal robed choir for its Christmas services for the first time in years after the choir was suspended.
A row is ongoing over the departure of church choir director Jacqui Blore, who was made redundant from her post in August.
She is taking her former employers, Wrexham Parochial Church Council (WPCC), to an employment tribunal citing unfair dismissal.
After she left, several devoted choir members – angered by their musical leader’s exile – quit and the choir has been suspended.
That meant the historic church, which has a choral tradition dating back to the 18th century, was without a formal choir over Christmas.
Speaking to the Leader, Miss Blore said: “It just did not feel like Christmas to me without the choir.
“It’s so very sad and a bit of a wrench the church was without the Christmas chorus being sung by the choir.”
It was the first time Miss Blore has not attended St Giles’ Church at Christmas in 46 years.
Instead she went to festive gatherings at a church in Gresford.
Nobody from the WPCC or the diocese was available for comment.
Previously church representatives admitted there was no formal robed choir at Christmas but insisted the singing of the congregation at St Giles’ is as strong as ever.
Rev Kate Tiltman, assistant curate at St Giles’ Church, said: “In 2014 we have a huge programme of concerts planned – even doing the Mozart Requiem at one point – so the musical tradition at this historic place of worship will continue to thrive.
“The congregation are really enjoying taking the responsibility for the singing.”
Miss Blore, 46, whose duties at the church also included being secretary to the rector and parish administrator, was made choirmaster in 1996 after a long established musical career. A year later she was promoted to director of music.
She was signed off with work-related depression in April but in August Miss Blore was made redundant.
She has taken her dismissal to the courts over the way she was made redundant and the justifications given by WPCC.
A tribunal is due to take place early this year.