The Choirs and Music of St Mary's Church, Warwick

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Music at St Mary's

Since the first choir was founded in 1123, music has filled this magnificent mediaeval church of St Mary, Warwick.  Choral singing is one of Britain’s richest traditions and a vibrant, living heritage which is often the preserve of our great cathedrals.  The fine choirs of this church are precious; they transform and inspire worship and enrich the community of Warwick.

The English choral tradition remains central to music at St Mary’s Church and today’s flourishing choirs enjoy an international reputation.

St Mary’s Church is a popular venue for a range of high quality concerts and other events, welcoming performers from across the UK and the world.

The Gentlemen of the Choir

The Gentlemen are all experienced musicians and are committed unpaid volunteers. Most are in full-time occupation, ranging from teaching and social work to positions in the computer and motor industries. Teenagers, who have continued to sing in the “back row” following service in the treble line, sing alongside senior citizens, and the social life of the Choir is all the healthier for the broad range of experience brought to it.

St Mary’s Scholars

St Mary’s Scholars is the deputy adult choir of St Mary’s Collegiate Church, singing for services on up to six Sundays every year, as well as on Warwick Victorian Evening and during Holy Week.  It has also sung in churches further afield and given occasional concerts.   The repertoire encompasses a broad range of church music: plainchant and mediaeval music frequently “rub shoulders” with contemporary music, and the choir has given several first performances in addition to standard repertoire from Tallis to Tavener.

Rehearsals generally take place on Tuesday evenings (7.30-9.30pm).  Membership is by audition and the choir is formed from a wide pool of singers from all walks of life.   

If you are aged 18 or over, can sight-read confidently and would be interested in the opportunity of singing in St Mary’s, please contact the Assistant Director of Music for more information, or to arrange an audition:

Mark Swinton, Assistant Director of Music
+44 (0)1926 403940 (option 3)
adofm@stmaryswarwick.org.uk

Collegium

Collegium was formed by Simon Lole, then Director of Music for St Mary’s, in 1986. After continuing to develop under the leadership of subsequent Directors of Music, it is now conducted by Oliver Hancock.

The choir usually gives three main concerts a year in St Mary’s Church, and also occasionally takes part in services and gives performances in Warwick and elsewhere. It has engaged in a variety of other activities, including visits to Verden, Warwick’s twin town in Germany, participating in a BBC ‘Top Ten Hymns’ broadcast from Birmingham Town Hall, and also contributing to a recording of Christmas music produced by the St Mary’s Choirs. Collegium participated in a BBC ‘Songs of Praise’ broadcast from St Mary’s Church, and formed part of the ‘Murallennium’ choral celebration of the millennium in Warwick Castle.

Collegium has joined with other local choirs and orchestras, presenting Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Berlioz’s Messe Solennelle, Philip Wilby’s A Passion for our Times, and Handel’s Messiah (including two joint performances with St Katharine’s Church, Braunschweig, Germany) and Alexander’s Feast. More recently, Collegium joined the Choeur Josquin des Pres of Villebon-sur-Yvette, near Paris, for a performance of Finlandia and Fauré’s Requiem.

If you are interested in joining, please email the Chairman:

Mary Clark, Collegium Committee Chairman
maryclark@john-lewis.com