A Proud Musical History
A Proud Musical History
Music is integral to our Parish. Our excellent choristers and skilled bell-ringing team make up the core of the musical excellence at St Mary’s. We also have opportunities to take part in other musical activity in the Parish Centre through ‘Street Academy’.
We have a magnificent church choir which sings in the classical choral tradition. They sing a wide repertoire of anthems and settings from composers including Byrd, Purcell, Parry and Howells.
In addition to leading our worship in St Mary’s each Sunday, the choir sings major set piece services, such as our Easter Triduum. In recent years they have sung movements from Mozart’s Coronation Mass as part of the liturgy on Easter Day, and movements from Duruflé’s Requiem through the service on All Souls’ Day.
For a Bowdon Festival concert in May 2015 they sang Vivaldi’s Gloria. Each year they stand in for the cathedral choir at one of our great cathedrals during the summer holidays, always attracting praise for their high standard. This year St Edmundsbury Cathedral rated them “the best visiting choir we have had in 45 years”.
At full strength, the choir has 45 members, including a thriving junior section, who demonstrate great commitment and musicianship. It operates the RSCM medals scheme for both adults and trebles.
We are very fortunate to have such dedicated leadership in our Director of Music, Michael, and our Organist, Roger (formerly assistant organist at Lincoln Cathedral).
Other styles of music are just as important to our different forms of worship. We use our own guitarists, pianists, and a whole variety of other musicians and sometimes iSing Worship. Very occasionally we have had live Christian rock and pop groups such as MaLoKai and Twelve24 play in our church, generating as much excitement for their fans as the great choral works do for theirs.
We are most fortunate at St Mary’s to have a fine peal of eight bells and a team of some 15 ringers who are committed to ringing before services every Sunday. At their recent AGM, the ringers elected David White as their new Tower Captain, to take over from Hamish Rankin. David is only the fifth Tower Captain in 78 years, following in the footsteps of Alan Brown (1935 – 1991), Richard Shekelton (1991 – 1994), Doug Reeson (1994 – 2009) and Hamish Rankin (2009 – 2013). David said of his appointment, ‘I am honoured to step into the shoes of such distinguished predecessors’.
Bowdon Youth Festival
The annual Youth Festival is just one component of Bowdon Festival. It offers the opportunity for young people to perform music, speech and drama, supported by eminent and experienced adjudicators and accompanists. The chance to perform in a safe and supportive environment can encourage young people to develop their confidence in performance. As well as having fun, they strike up friendships with other performers.
The highly successful 4th Bowdon Youth Festival took place in St Mary’s, Bowdon Parish Centre and The Bowdon Rooms from 4 – 7 February 2016.
The churchʼs contribution to community arts is manifested in the Bowdon Festival programme, with St Maryʼs and the Parish Centre providing outstanding venues. The events are entirely run by volunteers from the church and local community. The most ambitious occasion to date was a concert version of Pucciniʼs Madama Butterfly in July, 2015. More than 300 people enjoyed the opera and over 100 picnicked in the Parish Centre beforehand. None of this would have been possible without the volunteers, orchestra and wonderful soloists; we are most grateful to them all.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.