Choirs and Instruments

St.Mary's is fortunate indeed to have not one but four choirs. The Saturday choir sings at the Vigil Mass and the Sunday Choir at the Sunday Parish Mass. In addition there is an Ordinariate Choir which sings at the Ordinarate Mass on Sundays at 9.15am and a Gregorian Schola. In total there are 32 members, some of whom are enthusiastic enough to sing at more than one Mass. Our purpose:

- To sing at either the Saturday or Sunday Masses, Holydays and Festivals and special services.
- To enable the assembly to sing more enjoyably and effectively in the praise of God.
- To enhance the liturgy with song.
- To make an offering of music to God.
- To enjoy learning a wide variety of music.
- To work at improving an enjoyable skill.

We are very worthwhile groups, friendly and purposeful. See Andrew, our Director of Music, about joining after Mass. We sing all sorts of music from the tremendously varied traditions of Christianity, from the late Roman Empire 'Christus Vincit' to Palestrina and from the Victorians to the worship songs of Graham Kendrick. There is a weekly anthem or motet or psalm setting or chant as the Communion Song and different settings of the Mass.

The Sunday Choir rehearses on Friday evenings at 6.45pm in the Choir Gallery of St.Marys and occasionally before the Sunday Parish Mass. We sing Mass and psalm settings and a weekly motet/anthem/worship song. Membership 20

The Saturday Vigil Choir rehearses on Tuesday evenings at 6.45pm in the Choir Gallery of St.Mary’s and before the 6.00pm Saturday Vigil Mass. We sing Mass and psalm settings and a weekly motet/anthem/choir worship song.

As well as the weekly Mass the Vigil choir combines with the other choirs and groups in the parish to sing e.g Evening Prayer, Holy Week liturgies, Carol Services. Membership 18

The Gregorian Schola sings at the Extraordinary Form LatinMasses which are held every two months with a rehearsal on the previous Sunday evening.

We sing a widening selection of Plainsong Masses (Orbis Factor, Cum Jubilo, Stelliferi Conditor Orbis, de Angelis) and the occasional polyphonic Mass (e.g.Viadana’s Missa L’Hora Passa) with help from members of the other choirs at St.Mary’s and are rediscovering some of the enormous forgotten variety and breadth of the Medieval and Renaissance musical tradition of Christendom.

The Ordinariate Choir is a small but friendly group who rehearse before the 9.15am Sunday Mass. There is a sung setting and an occasional anthem.

The Instrumental Groups are a number of instrumentalists that take an enjoyable part in worship at St.Mary’s, either as soloists or as part of a group of about 7 or 8. We usually play before Mass. If you play an instrument please see Andrew after any of the Sunday Masses.

Our Organ

By 2006 our pipe organ was becoming unusable and we decided to embrace the digital age and install a new three manual organ by Viscount with a CM100 expander box. This gives our organist access to the complete organ repertoire through time and country and forms a splendid basis for accompanying the congregation and choir and for improvisation during the services. While there is a magnificent English 'full Swell' the Great and Positive organs tend more towards a continental feel and there is a floating solo section playable from both Swell and Positive manuals. The compromise is very effective!


Pictures by Christine Ann Photography