The Choir sings every Sunday at the Parish Eucharist, at Choral Evensongs (once per month) and on special services and occasions throughout the year. Each service is preceded by a rehearsal. The music at St Mary’s is maintained to high standards by the current Organist & Choirmaster, Tony Henwood (appointed 2008) and the Assistant Organist & Choirmaster, Bryan Almond (appointed 1993). Various recordings have been made in recent years and the Choir has presented recitals in London and Paris. A children’s choir was formed in 2001.
The rich musical heritage of St Mary’s Primrose Hill has its origins with its most famous vicar, Percy Dearmer (Vicar 1901-15), who with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw (organist of St Mary’s 1909-20) compiled The English Hymnal (1906). The congregation at St Mary’s was the first to sing many well-loved hymns such as ‘He who would valiant be’, ‘In the bleak midwinter’, and ‘For all the saints’. The musical tradition continued to be enriched by figures such as J H Arnold (the plainsong scholar), George Timms (Vicar 1952-65) who directed the publication of The New English Hymnal (1986), Tony Greening (teacher and early music scholar), John Rutter, the composer, (a one-time member of the Choir and Assistant Organist of St Mary’s) and a number of distinguished organists including Christopher Herrick and Michael Fleming.
The Peter Pears Prize singing competition started at St Mary’s in 1978 and was run here for sixteen years before it evolved into a major international event.
Anyone interested in joining the choir should contact Tony Henwood