I have just spent a few days in the company of the Choir of St Thomas' Fifth Avenue New York, at their 38th annual conference for choir directors. I had the pleasurable task of directing the Choir for three services, and demonstrating to the conferencees the British empirical way of choral conducting. The St Thomas' boys and men are as fine a group of church musicians as you'll find in the USA, coupled with an openness and enthusiasm hard to match. So at one level I had only to bring them in, and they did the rest. And yet it was intriguing to hear them modulating their approach confronted with my suggestions. It vindicated the idea that a conductor has some function in life! St Thomas' is a roomy church which takes a big sound, and these singers certainly can produce that, with plenty of treble power among the 30-odd choristers. But Byrd's Second Service doesn't so much need noise as style, and this they can provide also. We had an interesting time rescoring the work as TrTTBarB, and examining the possibility that in Byrd's day tenors rather than altos took those highly active and, for altos, very low inside parts (when sung at the right pitch). The last thing I conducted was Wesley's Blessed be the God and Father, where it was scarcely possible to imagine a more rounded and generous sound from the choir. The presiding genius of the Choir is of course John Scott. He continues a pattern, set by T. Tertius Noble, of British organists contributing much to the music of the American episcopalian church. And I hope that when I left New York, I left his choir none the worse for my tampering with it. If his singers were even remotely as enriched as I felt on boarding my return flight at JFK, then it was an extremely worthwhile visit.