Posted on

This Week at St Mary’s

22 years of St Mary’s Choral Scholarships

Jonathan Stork writes:

It is now some 22 years since a small group of the choir and congregation conjoined their efforts and passion for music at St Mary’s to establish a choral scholarship fund. Whilst the vision then was to bolster the already-strong contribution of music to worship at St Mary’s through the encouragement of student membership of the choir, few could have foreseen or expected the extraordinary success of the scheme over the years that have followed. In that time over 100 scholars have been appointed, numerous careers in music have been launched and, above all, many lives have been immeasurably enriched.

In celebration of this success, a scholarship and choir reunion was held at St Mary’s on Saturday 27 May. A choir of 65 convened for euphoric renditions of music by Clemens non Papa, Howells, Finzi and Briggs – the latter performance dedicated to Ally Betts, a wonderful supporter of the scheme, who tragically passed away last year. Spirits lifted on the majesty of the music and James Pacey’s preaching were soon joined by raised glasses, as celebratory food and drink were enjoyed in the nave. It was particularly gladdening to welcome former scholars from all “generations” of the scheme, including no fewer than five from its inaugural year – testament to the longevity of the impact that the choral scholarships have had upon the lives of its participants.


As the evening drew to a dose, the question was asked, when would the next reunion be? Doubtless, the scholarship scheme has a bright future, with the continued influx of talented and committed young singers. Events such as last Saturday’s, and indeed the scholarships as a whole, rely upon the dedication of willing volunteers and the generosity of those who finance it. Given the wonderful occasion, the contribution of many and the continued success of the scheme, the answer to the question must be – soon!

If you are interested in finding out more a bout the choral scholarship scheme or making a donation, please contact Jonathan Stork, Chair of the St Mary’s Choral Scholarship Trust, at

View Full Document