St Mary’s Choir: centuries of singing in Harrow

St Mary’s Choir is a flourishing part of the life of our church. Our regular line-up includes around a dozen junior trebles and about the same number of adult singers. Photos around the choir vestry show many changes through the years but we remain a friendly, thriving choir for children and adults, offering lots of opportunities to sing at parish services and bigger events.
We lead the music every Sunday in church. Our usual sung services are: parish communion at 10:30am (1st to 4th Sundays of the month); choral evensong at 6pm (3rd Sunday of the month) and Choral Matins at 9.30am (5th Sunday of the month). Please do check the weekly diary, though, if you’re planning a special visit! Our morning services span a broad range of liturgical styles, providing the chance to sing a great variety of music.

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Special occasions allow us to explore an even wider repertoire, such as Advent carols, a sung requiem on Remembrance Sunday, Passiontide services and – of course – our very popular carol service. We have an annual service with orchestra which usually includes a classical Mass setting, often Mozart or Haydn, or a Bach Cantata. Many people in the choir and congregation play instruments and we get together as St Mary’s Music Group to accompany our regular family services (usually held on the fourth Sunday of the month, plus Good Friday and Christmas morning).

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The choir enjoys singing in other places too. We take part in the annual Harrow Deanery Choirs Festival and relish the chance to sing in St Paul’s Cathedral in the Diocesan Choir and the biennial RSCM London Area Festival, and we’ve sung carols in Trafalgar Square. We’re also delighted when choirs and individual singers come to visit us.
We are proud of our affiliation to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) and use their Voice for Life scheme to help with choristers’ training. Members of all ages have the opportunity to enter for RSCM Awards, and to attend RSCM training courses and events far and wide.
Our junior choristers compete annually for the Chester awards which are presented at a special Choral Evensong in June. These awards reflect the all-round skills which choristers need. They are also eligible for the Woolley scholarship which focuses on developing their singing.
Numerous choir members have taken their singing further: we are proud to count St Mary’s choir members past and present in the choirs of St Paul’s Cathedral, the National Youth Choir, Eton Chapel Choir and Wells Cathedral Choir. Indeed, the current Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, Andrew Carwood, is a former St Mary’s chorister.
We practise in the Choir Vestry on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 (except during the summer holiday), with an additional run-through before services. Extended practices are arranged as needed in the run-up to key services (particularly during Eastertide, Advent and Christmas) and to allow time to learn more demanding pieces.

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We welcome new singers of all ages and voices, so whether you are a junior treble, soprano, alto, tenor, bass – or aren’t sure which part! – do come and chat to us after any service or contact Tim Smith, our Director of Music, at timsmithmusic@hotmail.com or by phone on 07749 811728.

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