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On the road with Steve Knightley

June 2019

Steve Knightley St A June2019 Let’s start at the end. Folk singer Steve Knightley had been entertaining an audience of 160 in our acoustically outstanding church for over two hours. He had escorted us on a personal journey down the backroads of his musical career, playing old and new songs, layered with anecdotes and amusing observations. He had everyone in the palm of his hand, so when he asked a third of the audience to click their fingers, another third to rub their hands and the back rows to stamp their feet, they obliged willingly.
The effect created a gentle rhythm reminiscent of a thunderstorm. Knightley ended his last song with the line ‘it’s raining again’ and walked off slowly to the pitter-patter sound of a spell-bound audience. It was a magical moment to end his intimate set. We felt we knew him; we had become his friends and we were sorry to see him go.
Rewind to the start. How was this intimacy achieved?
When it was announced late last year that Steve Knightley would be playing at St Andrew’s as part of his 2019 solo tour, it caused a stir in Hertford folk circles and the local area. Playing as an acoustic singer songwriter for over 40 years, Knightley has built a reputation as one of England’s most accomplished folk performers. Best known for being one half of the renowned roots duo Show of Hands with his long-time friend Phil Beer, it was seen as a coup to get Knightley to play at St Andrew’s.
Show of Hands have been together for over 25 years, playing a variety of venues from village pubs to London’s Royal Albert Hall; from minor folk clubs to international festivals, including Glastonbury and WOMAD. It is this tapestry of experience, touring throughout Europe and the UK that has provided Knightley with rich material for most of his anecdotes and songs.
In recent years he has themed his solo tours. This concert came under the banner ‘Songs & Stories Part 2 – Roadworks’ and followed last year’s Part 1, which drew on the songs that had influenced his early career. This time, he set out to describe – through a series of amusing vignettes and original songs – a typical day in the life of a touring folk singer.
Self-depreciating and observational, his stories featured people and situations that he had come across on the road, playing 200 gigs a year.
Safe as Houses, Cars and Country Life
He talked about his early ambition to perform. ‘I said to my Mum, when I grow up I want to be a musician. She replied: ‘well, you can’t do both’’. He revealed that, after many Steve Knightley St A June2019concerts, he is often invited to stay with the organiser and then feels obliged to continue playing late at night in a stranger’s sitting room. It often takes a few minutes in the morning to remember where he is. He stayed in someone’s home one night and woke the next morning to find that his host had gone to work and locked him in the house. This inspired the ironical song Safe as Houses. And then there was the debate with the audience about whether the cream or the jam should be spread first on a scone.
Other songs described driving from London to Brighton on a bank-holiday Monday (Cars, which finished with a much-heralded guitar solo, ‘applause please’) or his best-known song Country Life about the hardships of rural poverty and the lack of opportunity for young people in country regions.

Worthy of applause
He finished with an amusing story about taking his sister to Berlin to see the Rolling Stones and introducing her to Mick Jagger. ‘Those guys are amazing,’ he said. ‘What are they? In their 70s? And they still love going out on stage and playing to an audience.’
This is clearly something that drives Knightley as well. There is a dichotomy in his life, being torn between the hardships of touring and the buzz of being on stage playing to a live audience. ‘All I want is applause’ he said with self-mocking irony.
Well, applause is what he got. Applause for the skill of his guitar playing, applause for his songs but, most of all, applause for the generous, relaxed friendliness of his stage presence. It’s no wonder we enjoyed his company for a couple hours. It was another notch for St Andrew’s on the leader board of Hertford’s best musical venues. Nice one Steve. And thank you to Chris Seward for organising a great evening that, by the by, raised over £800 for church funds.

Forbes Mutch

You can find out more about Steve here

Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
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Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning. During the period of Covid-19, please see the information at the bottom of this page.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
Unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark. However, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church - there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.


Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the age appropriate activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected

Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves. For up-to-date information about current services (in church and online via Zoom), please look at details on our Worship and Prayer Page.
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.