History of St Mary’s Choir

Mark Rodman BEM writes: I can go back to 1969, when I joined the choir as a boy. The choir stalls were full of men and boys. Where most of the members were fathers and sons. There were two choir practices a week, as the boys had a separate practice.

The then Organist and Leader was Mr.Thomas Stonham. We sung many anthems in those days, the following list:

  1. I was Glad by Sir.G. Elvly
  2. Zadok The Priest by G.H. Handel
  3. Thou Visitest The Earth by Dr. Greene
  4. Great Is The Lord and Marvelous by Bruce Steane
  5. O Gladsome Light by A. Sullivan
  6. Christ The Lord Is Risen Again by Eric Thimen
  7. Turn Thy Face From My Sins by Thomas Attwood
  8. I Am Alpha and Omega by J.Stainer
  9. The Wilderness by Sir G. Goss
  10. If Ye Love Me by E.Bennett
  11. O Thou That Bringest Good Tidings by J. Stainer
  12. God So Loved The World by J. Stainer
  13. Jesu,Joy Of Man Desiring by J.S.Bach
  14. Hear My Prayer Music by F. Mandellsohn. Words by Bartholdy
  15. Lead Me Lord In Thy Rightousness by S.Wesley
  16. O Saviour Of The World by Sir G. Goss
  17. The Radiant Morn Has Past Away by Rev. H. H. Woodward
  18. Stainer’s Crucifixion

We sung carols at the Rutland, around the Christmas tree, also the then Hospital – we went round all 12 wards in an evening. At Harvest time we went to Withersfield Cambridgeshire to sing at their Harvest, they provided the Coach – and what a feast afterwards!!

As time went by the choir reduced in size as members passed away or moved on. About 1980 ladies were introduced to the choir, which has been a good encouragement for others to come along.

In January 1991 my predecessor passed away, I took over on Palm Sunday of that year. As a small choir, they show commitment in their singing, at Eucharist and at Evensong to this day.

In 2008 I felt it was time to introduce Taize music, which I find so spiritually close to our Christian faith here, to the understanding of what we are and share with others around us. This I hope will encourage others to join us. The help of Fr. John Hardy and his wife Liz have been of great inspiration, bringing freshness into the life of St. Mary”s. This I hope will encourage others to join us, to grow in the spiritual chanting of Taize. WE WELCOME YOU.

Organist Mark Rodman