Music plays a very important part in the worship of St Mary's
In May 2011 St Mary's hosted an RSCM Regional Festal evensong. For a review of this exhilarating event click here
St Mary’s church has had a choir for more than 100 years. Initially there was a choir of boys and men only but for many years now it has been a traditional mixed parish church four-part choir affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music.
The choir’s role is to lead and support the musical aspects of the church’s worship.
It sings at the Sunday Eucharist, the monthly Evensong and for Festivals, Weddings and other special services both on Sundays and occasionally during the week.
Anthems are sung regularly and may be simple communion motets or, as the occasion requires, more demanding items. During the past few years the music has included such well-known anthems as ‘Zadok the Priest’ (Handel), ‘I was glad’ (Parry) and ‘The heavens are telling’ from Haydn's ‘Creation’. The choir sings music from Tallis and Byrd, Purcell and Stanford to Rutter and Chilcott and also uses short items from the Taizé and Iona traditions.
Three or four times a year a full choral Evensong is sung and a Christmas highlight is the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols.
For these larger events the choir is joined by extra singers from within the congregation and also from the neighbouring choirs of Priory Methodist Church, St Peter de Merton, Bedford and All Saints’, Kempston.
Practices take place on Friday evenings throughout the year except during August. Many of our members have become Dean’s and Bishop’s Choristers.
We are always looking for new singers and instrumentalists to join us. Musical ability is desirable but enthusiasm and commitment are essential! The age range is 7 - 80+
The organ has two manuals and was originally built as a single-manual hand pumped instrument sited in the old chancel of the church. When St Mary’s was extended in the 1950s it was moved to the new west end Choir Loft. In 1975 the instrument was completely rebuilt ; much of the original pipe work is still in use.
In addition to the choir there is also a small group of singers under the direction of John Scrivener. These provide accompaniment at the ‘Family Praise Service’.
Practices for the ‘First Sunday Service’ usually take place on the Sunday a week before the service.