The Choirs of St Mary's

St Mary's Choirs are always looking for new members to swell the ranks, both trebles, girls and back row voices. Singing experience is desirable, although not essential.

We sing a wide repertoire at St Mary's and have sung at other venues including:

  • Ely Cathedral
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • and venues in Germany

Contact Director of Music, Karl Dorman, on 07870 938167 or karljdorman@hotmail.com for an informal voice test.

For many years St Mary's has enjoyed a long musical tradition that has enhanced church services and given inspiration to all who have worshipped here. In a very literal sense, generations of singers and other musicians have not only received support and encouragement for their music making, but in many cases have gone on to use this experience as a springboard for a lifetime of musical fulfilment.

It is our objective to maintain and develop this established heritage and preserve it for those who will follow. We are one of the few parish churches that maintain a treble line consisting of boy Choristers.

Our repertoire ranges from plainsong to music by Tudor composers through to contemporary motets.

What musical activities take place?

St Mary's reflects the broad Anglican choral repertoire within a traditional liturgy and maintains a Regular choir of about 10 boys, lady altos and men. This choir sings at the two main services on Sundays: the 9.30 am Parish Eucharist and Choral Evensong at 6.30pm. At every service we sing an anthem or motet.

St Mary's Girls Choir is a recent initiative. Girls sing with the boys and backrow for special events and services. The girls are a separate choir and lead worship regularly.

St Mary's Ladies Choir, directed by Pam Akhurst, lead the Sunday worship and perform an anthem once a month.

For both young people's choir rehearals there is always a second adult who has been DBS checked alongside the Director of Music in attendance, to assist with safety and supervision.

What does choir membership involve?

Primarily it requires a passion for music, dedication and commitment, as well as the inherent qualities of enthusiasm and the ability to sing well. Life as a treble chorister usually begins at around the age of 7 or 8 when they are introduced to the choir routine and begin to learn new repertoire. After this has been successfully established they are expected to commence the normal attendance timetable of Weekly evening practice and two Sunday services. We operate the RSCM badge system.

During the summer months a 'scratch' choir operates, open to all.

The Choir football team is soon to be back on the pitch, and choir members also support and take part in the activities of St Mary's Youth Link (SMYL) with its exciting days out, water fights and camping trips!

The Choir are supported by the Rector and PCC

Rehearsals:

  • Girls: 6-7 pm Tuesday
  • Boy Trebles: 6 - 7.30 pm Wednesday
  • Ladies: 7.45 - 9.00 pm Wednesday
  • Altos, Tenors, Basses by monthly arrangement

Sunday services
Parish Eucharist, including practice, 8.50 - 10.45am
Evensong, including practice, 5.30 - 7.30pm

The Organs at St Mary's

Our fine Lewis Organ housed in a case by the workshop of William Morris was overhauled by Willis in the 1990s and is currently in the care of Harrisons of Durham. The PCC are budgeting for its next overhaul some time in the next decade.

The Chamber organ, situated in the North Aisle was a gift to the Parish.

Director of MusicDirector of Music -
Karl Dorman

Karl Dorman began his training as a chorister at Rugby Parish Church under the leadership of Arnold Pugh. He was later selected to be the Organ Scholar at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick.

Karl was awarded an Eric Thompson Trust scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Patrick Russill and Nicolas Kynaston. Whilst a student at the RAM he was winner of the United Music Publishers Organ Ensemble Prize. Karl concluded study at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

In September 2005 he succeeded Kerry Beaumont as a Deputy Organist at Guildford Cathedral where regularly he deputized for the then Sub Organist David Davies, under the leadership of Stephen Farr. He was simultaneously appointed Director of Music at Merton Parish Church and joined Beddington Parish Church in May 2011.

Karl was associate conductor and accompanist to the chamber choir Sine Nomine for a period of ten years. This enabled him to perform in many of the UK 's most precious places of worship Including St Paul's and York Minster. Karl has broadcast on BBC radio as a choral singer under the leadership of Paul Leddington-Wright, played the organ for a Channel four programme and conducted plainsong featured on ITV. He has-been chorus-master of the Rugby School Philharmonic, taught at King's School Wimbledon and at present works as an Organ tutor at Wimbledon College.