Music

St Mary's has had an enviable musical tradition for many decades, ably led by Mick Perrier, Director of Music who has served the Church for over 40 years! St Mary’s has two choirs: St Mary's Robed Choir and St Mary's Singers. They share services on a rota basis and also sing together for major festivals. The Robed Choir is a traditional choir of girl and boy trebles, with a mixed Alto line of men and former Treble girls, and Tenors and Basses. The Singers are a mixed voice choir of adults.

There are currently twenty Trebles in the Robed Choir who practise on a weekly basis during term-time. The Trebles follow a recognised Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) programme, initially in order to gain formal admission to the choir and obtain their surplice.  The Junior Trebles receive a modest amount of pocket money in return for their dedication to the choir and also have the opportunity to attend social outings, for example to the cinema. Please do encourage your child to join the choir! If you are interested, please talk to Mick Perrier.

On Remembrance Sunday and Palm Sunday an afternoon workshop is run for visiting singers featuring a substantial work, such as Vivaldi’s “Gloria”. The visitors then join the resident choirs to sing the evening service which is built around the work in question.

Every summer the choirs undertake a Cathedral Residency, which has seen them leading choral worship in places such as Peterborough, Portsmouth, St. Edmundsbury and Wells Cathedrals.

St. Mary’s organ is the prize-winning instrument built by Henry Jones of Kensington for the National Arts Treasures Exhibition in Folkestone in 1885. It is was rebuilt by Nicholson’s in 1966 and is about to undergo a major restoration.

If you are interested in being part of St. Mary’s Music Team, please contact Mick Perrier via the Church Office or speak to him in St. Mary’s Church

Organ Renovation Project

Work started in April 2024 on the renovation of St. Mary's Henry Jones Exhibition Organ. The organ has historic roots, being the instrument Henry Jones built for the National Art Treasures Exhibition in Folkestone in 1885. It was installed in St. Mary's in 1887 and, apart from one renovation in 1966, has served the church faithfully ever since. Time and considerable use over half a century have taken their toll and a total refurbishment has long been due. Thankfully, due to much fundraising in past years and several most generous recent donations, this work is now underway and will take the best part of twelve months. The organ will gradually be decommissioned as pipework and infrastructure are removed until, by the middle of May 2024, it will be replaced by the piano and a digital organ for the rest of the project. We anticipate a resurrection at Easter 2025! Donations towards the project continue to be welcomed at any time.

 

Stage 3 (images below)
Weighing in at 400kg and needing 4 strong pairs of arms and a solid scaffolding tower to lift the Choir soundboard out of the instrument 9 feet up and to lower it to ground level.
The vantage point gave a unique view of the chancel!
More cleaning done on the Choir pipework. The 2’ Flageolet stop was particularly well made and looks good after 150 years!

 

Stage 2 progress on the project (images below)
- The organ builders’ compound is erected and is now storing pipework and equipment
- Choir soundboard infrastructure out, awaiting scaffolding for removal of soundboard itself
- All Choir pipework out and sorted
- Pedal 4’ chests out plus all their pipework
- Replacement chests for Posaune and Great 4’ Flute measured up
- Pedal Mixture chest out for refurbishment together with its pipework
- Mitred 16’ for Great Double ready for refurbishment and much more in the way of infrastructure removed.

Stage 1 the project has started! (images below)

The dismantling of St Mary’s Organ has begun this week with the Choir Organ, Pedal Trombone and Pedal upperwork being the first to go! Bon Voyage, Henry - The renovation begins!

   Music