As we move out of lockdown our core weekly service will be the 10.00 am Parish Eucharist where general congregational hymn singing has resumed from 5th September 2021; there be a Choral Eucharist on the 1st Sunday of each month. Following those services St Mary’s will remain open on Sundays until 2 pm for private prayer.
In addition there will be two Sunday Evensongs at 6.00 pm each month held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays commencing on 12th September 2021; we plan the occasional Choral Eucharist and the first of these is planned for 24th October 2021.
Music at St Mary's generally
Music has always been important at St Mary's, which pioneered the liturgical performance of 16th and 17th century choral music from the 1950s onwards. We set out below the background to our approach to music that we would follow in more normal times:
The church has a Director of Music, Choral Scholars, Boy and Girl Choristers and a Church Choir. St Mary's is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music.
Choral Eucharist, with a Latin Mass or English Communion setting and a motet, is sung by the Choral Scholars on the 1st Sunday of each month, except during August. Choral Evensong is sung by the Boy and Girl Choristers and the Choral Scholars several times a year, and special choral services include the candlelit Darkness to Light service in Advent, the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, Midnight Mass, Maundy Thursday Choral Eucharist, Good Friday Devotion, Easter Sunday Sung Eucharist, and an evening Ascension Day Eucharist.
Solo anthems are sung by our junior Choral Scholars at some services of Evensong.
The choristers and choral scholars also sing at wedding services.
Please see the list of forthcoming choral services on our Music for the Month page.
The Boy and Girl Choristers
If you are an enthusiastic singer aged 10-18, come and sing with our choristers.
They sing at the 10am service once a month, and also sing alongside the professional choral scholars at Carol services, major festivals and choral evensongs. Choristers wear Royal School of Church Music medals and ribbons and St Mary’s robes. They follow the RSCM Voice for Life Training Scheme, and also get to sing solos and read lessons in some services.
The choristers are a lively and friendly group of dedicated young musicians, who work hard and also have lots of fun. Some are enthusiastic Thespians (including their school's production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and some also take part in productions at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and are active in a wide range of sports.
Lizzie, our former head chorister, is now singing with several Oxford college chapel choirs.
For the latest news on our Choristers please click here.
These adult professional singers sing at Choral Eucharist, Choral Evensong and on major festivals. They include a former member of the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral and the scholars regularly deputise in cathedrals. The ‘Ouseley Choral Scholars’ are supported by the Ouseley Church Music Trust. The 2019 scholars are Emily Chapman, Emily Christian, Devon Macadam-Sutton, and Andrew Moore. They are all current students at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The Wiiliams Church Music Trust
We are delighted that the Williams Church Music Trust has given a very generous grant of £2,000 to St Mary’s. This grant will support services of Choral Evensong, and will also enable our boy and girl choristers to have singing lessons.
The aims of the Williams Trust are to provide grants to assist the study, practice and improvement of instrumental music (including in particular organ music), and singing (in particular choral singing) especially in connection with the services of the Church of England and of Churches in communion with the Church of England.
More information about the Trust, and George Williams, its founder, is to be found on this website:
It was the focus on early choral music that inspired the commissioning of the superb organ installed in the church by Frobenius, Organ builders of Lyngby, Denmark, in 1975.
This outstanding instrument was voiced in the church by Erik Frobenius, and is widely praised for its light, responsive touch and the delightful sweetness and clarity of its sound. It is a smaller cousin of the renowned organ of Queen's College, Oxford, installed by Frobenius a decade earlier.
The organ is a joy to play and has attracted a number of eminent organists to play, give recitals and make recordings on St Mary's organ, including James O'Donnell, James Dalton, Simon Preston, Dame Gillian Weir, Susi Jeans and Ian leGrice. A CD recording of the organ was recently recorded by Emma Gibbins, a previous Director of Music of St Mary's, and is available for sale at the church.
The specification can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register here
We are grateful thanks to the Ouseley Church Music Trust www.ouseleytrust.org.uk for their continued support of St Mary’s music department.
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