The Choir at St Mary’s is one of Scotland’s finest. It is a group of twenty or so adult singers who, although they give of their time and talent on an entirely voluntary basis, sing to a professional standard.
The choir sings two services every Sunday: Sung Eucharist at 10.30 am and Choral Evensong at 6.30 pm. They also sing for occasional services on special days of the church’s year. Services are preceded by a rehearsal, and there is a rehearsal once a week, currently on Thursday evenings.
The choir sings a very wide range of music, from the most ancient to the most modern; in fact, the choir has commissioned a great deal of new music from contemporary composers such as Malcolm Archer, Richard Shephard, Martin Dalby and Richard Pantcheff, as well as local composers such as John Bell, Steve Davismoon, John McIntosh and John Gormley. Composition students also have the opportunity to have their works sung by the choir.
Broadcasts, Radio and TV
The Choir now broadcasts regularly for the Daily Service on Radio 4, and has often featured on the same station’s Morning Worship on Sundays. They have also often sung on Radio 2’s Sunday Half-Hour, as well as featuring on special programmes on Radio 2, Radio 4, the BBC World Service and Radio Scotland. In May 2004, the choir appeared for the first time on television’s Songs of Praise on BBC One. They recorded another in November 2005, in Rosslyn Chapel.
There are two CDs of the Cathedral choir available, which ably demonstrate the diversity of their repertoire. Coming to our Senses is a collection of accessible modern worship material (hymns, refrains and sequences) which, although recorded in 1996, still continues to sell well – so well, in fact, that it has now sold out. Requests for a copy are still coming in; we can provide an authorised copy, along with jewel case and programme notes. Haec Dies is a complete service, including readings and prayers, of traditional Festival Choral Evensong, as you might expect to hear it in St Mary’s on any special feast-day. CDs are available from the Cathedral.
In 1990 the choir sang in every mainland Scottish Episcopal Cathedral in just 24 hours! This was done to help raise money for, and awareness of, the cathedral’s restoration programme, now complete.
Since then, there has not been a tour as such, although the choir has undertaken to sing concerts and services in various venues around Glasgow and the Diocese. They have also sung in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, and in Rosslyn Chapel.
In summer 2003 the choir ventured south of the border for the first time, and sang for a weekend in Tewkesbury Abbey; and in August 2004 they were resident in Lichfield Cathedral, where they sang the daily services for a whole week. In August 2005 they sang at services for a week in Salisbury Cathedral.
Any singers who would like to know more about the choir and possible membership are encouraged to contact the Organist and Director of Music, Frikki Walker.