St Mary’s Choir has a long and distinguished history and is now one of the last parish choirs in London to maintain an historic chorister tradition of having girls and boys singing the treble line.
The Choir has been at the heart of worship at St Mary's for generations; our records show that a choir similar to the modern-day one has existed at St Mary's for at least 150 years. During the mid-nineteenth century, at the height of the Oxford Movement, parish choirs were formed across the country to provide a high standard of music imitating the musical offering often found in cathedrals.
While the Choir’s heritage and traditions are important, many things have changed since its inception, most significantly the inclusion of women and girls. The standard of singing and range of repertoire is probably much better too, if contemporary records are anything to go by!
The modern Choir, which numbers around 30 singers is made up of adult volunteers, choral scholars and boy and girl choristers. As well as singing morning and evening services, the Choir also performs in concerts and visits cathedrals across the UK to sing week long residencies. In recent years these have taken the Choir to York Minster (2010), and Winchester (2014) and Southwark (2016) Cathedrals, and Westminster Abbey (2016).
In April 2017, members of the choir with other local singers came together to form the St Mary Merton Consort and, with a small orchestra “Ensemble SW19” led by Susie Carpenter-Jacobs, presented a liturgical performance of Bach’s masterpiece – the St John Passion.
During the following two weeks, including services in Holy Week and Easter, the choir then sung anthems written over the previous four centuries from works by the 16th century composers Thomas Morley and Orlando Gibbons, to the 17th century German composer Schütz as well as music by SS Wesley from the 19th century and Herbert Howells in the 20th century.
For full details about the choir's activities and how to join, visit their website.