Church choir in mass walk out

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An entire church choir has quit in protest at the shock removal of its organist and musical director.

Parishioners were alerted to Stephen Hogger’s departure at the Easter Sunday service, which was the choir’s last performance.

The church website states that the choir section has now been removed, with a warden confirming that Mr Hogger had been let go.

“We have given three months notice to our director of music and, as a consequence and in support of the director, the choir decided that Easter Sunday would be their last,” said the warden.

Mr Hogger’s partner said they were “too upset” to talk about the decision but said the choir would continue as a separate body outside of the church.

John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “The Parochial Church Council of St Peter & St Paul has ended its contract with Stephen Hogger in his role as director of music, and wish him well in the next phase of his career.

“Mr Hogger was first appointed in May 1998 and has worked voluntarily and professionally in the enhancement of the church’s fine Willis organ.

“The church has been proud of its music and choral tradition which it hopes to maintain in the future.

“The rector and church wardens pay tribute to Mr Hogger’s musical talent and are grateful for all that he has given at Lavenham.”