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St Mary's Choirs

The Parish Church Choir in its present form has been in existence since the early 1950s and sings "to the glory of God and for pleasant recreation". We welcome new choristers (preferably with sight-reading skills) and offer a varied repertoire of church music from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries. We are grateful to all choristers for their enthusiasm and continuing dedication to the musical life of St Mary's Church.

Junior Choir

Any child over the age of eight who is interested in singing is invited to become a probationer.

The juniors practise on Fridays from 7.00pm to 7.45pm and on Sunday mornings at 10.15am before the Parish Eucharist. They are responsible for helping to lead the congregation at the Parish Eucharist at
10:45 am. They learn hymns, psalms and anthems - both old and new - and perform one of their own anthems every week.

Many of the choristers also sing in choirs elsewhere. Learning to sing improves confidence and concentration and is a 'skill for life'. And when that life moves on, how wonderful it is to be wanted and welcomed wherever you go!

Senior Choir

The senior choir has sixteen sopranos, seven altos, five tenors and four basses. Responsibilities include singing for the Parish Eucharist and Choral Evensong each week and providing singers for weddings and funerals. The senior Choir reherarse 8:00pm to 9:15pm on Friday.

Click here for a list of music sung over the past year.

Judith Catterick MBE, Director of Music (742635) judy@beckets.eclipse.co.uk

Junior Choir: Bene't Coldstream (742288)
Organists: John Rowlands; Ken Rook and Stuart Greenbank
Mistress of the Robes: Sarah Talks
Administration: Linda Gee
Librarians: Sheelagh Bennett and Ros Neat

2012/13 Report:

Both Junior and Senior Choirs at St. Mary's have continued with strength and commitment throughout the last twelve months.
Currently the Juniors number ten choristers, and the Senior Choir stands at thirty .
For special services, and the Ashwell Music Festival, the choir takes on board several chosen supporting voices and ex- choristers, plus voices from the Catterick family.
Musical Director for both choirs - Mrs. Judy Catterick MBE.
Principal Organist - John Rowlands, and we are also fortunate to have four others who can be called upon to play, viz. Ken Rook, Stuart Greenbank (Junior Choir accompanist) Brian Williams and Peter Saunders.
The Sunday morning services continue to be a Junior Choir requisite, accompanied always by some Senior members.
Juniors practice for 45 minutes on Friday evenings, learning chants to accompany psalms, canticles, anthems, carols, and a large selection of hymns.
The Senior repetoire consists of the finest from English sacred music from The Renaissance to the present day, and it is regularly performed for Evensong each Sunday.
Choir attendances have been good, outnumbering the evening congregation on several occasions!
The gentlemen of the choir also sing Compline at various times, such as short evening services during Holy Week and during the Ashwell Festival.
The Festal Evensong last year, Sunday May 27th, the 59th, was popularly received with Michael Smedley conducting, and Paul Bryan on organ.(Organist to the Ely Cathedral Octagon Singers.)
On November 4th 2012 the choir sang the whole of Faure's Requiem during Evensong, again conducted by Michael Smedley, with Paul as accompanist.
On additional occasions throughout the year, the choir has sung by request at weddings and funerals, most notably the funeral of Allan Budgen, our late Reader Emeritus, whose memorial service was on Mon. 28th January 2013.
Christmas Services and the village Carol Concert all went ahead smoothly, as well as the ever popular carols sung by the choir during the morning of the Chritmas Fair on December 1st.
The choir has a social side and meets up at various member's homes for special occasions, and also regularly helps out with the village At Home in August. It looks forward to this year's 60th Anniversary of the Ashwell Festival in May, for which rehearsals have begun.
The life of the choir has been recorded for several years in The Ashwell Village News , by Claire and Brian Williams, Ros Neat, and latterly by Marjorie Fitt.