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This Week at St Mary’s

Get our Bells Ringing Again

King Charles III will be the 29th monarch this nation has had since our first record that bells have been rung at St Mary’s. It could well go back further, but at least from the time of Henry IV in 1399, our bells have rung out at every coronation. 

However, unless we can get scaffolding up in the next month to do the necessary repairs at the top of the south transept gable end wall, Nottingham faces the unthinkable: that St Mary’s bells remain silent on this great occasion. I am appealing to everyone, please now to contribute as much as you can so that our bells indeed ring out, loud and clear on May 8th. 

Many will already be aware of this, as East Midlands Today, Notts TV, Nottingham Post and others have very kindly drawn attention to the silence of our bells. We have been speaking about it at St Mary’s since the late autumn when we learnt the cost of repair work – at least £180,000. 

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The Bells Must Ring for the New King

St Mary’s bells have been silent for over 7 months. The reason is that is serious instability has been identified in one of the gable end walls of the south transept.

The cost of the work is likely to be close to £200,000. Whilst we are applying to grant making bodies, we need the many good people of Nottingham to feel moved to contribute. Lots of them with a few making wonderfully generous donations. The work could start very soon – we just need the funds. Let the bells be rung for the new King in May!

On the morning of 31st May we received the following email from the Bellringers: During our bellringing practice last evening it was noticed that the external wall on the south end of the south transept was moving quite visibly in a N/S direction. The attached video which Emma took shows this. We were concerned that this not a normal movement because the join where the lead flashing is mortared into the wall had opened and was coming out. In view of this we stopped our practice and I would contact you this morning.

A structural engineer inspected and advised there needed to be further investigation. He warned that ‘appropriate remedial works may be quite comprehensive’. In early August there was a close up inspection and Peter Rogan our architect reported: ‘the late Victorian phase of repairs are weathering very badly with the stone extensively failing within the grain of the bed.. deterioration of the stonework may well have exacerbated the movement, but the actual cause of the swaying of the gable appears to be linked to the motion of the transept roof… but because the two are not tied together, the gable then develops its own harmonic which can amplified depending on subsequent movement of the roof. The fact that the south window is huge, the parapet not aligned/tied to the corner pinnacles, means that the gable is effectively hinged at the level of the springing of the window and flapping around’. 

Peter puts it poetically, but there’s no disguising the seriousness. Thanks to the bell-ringers for alerting us. Tender documents have been prepared and it’s going to cost £165,000 plus professional fees etc, meaning that the total cost is likely to be close to £200,000.

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St Mary’s Children’s Choirs Win Major Funding Award

Friday 23rd September 2022

St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market has been awarded funding from the Cathedral Music Trust, one of only six churches to succeed in this year’s call for applications. The funding has been awarded to boost the new ‘Sing Nottingham!’ programme at St Mary’s, which is thriving under the leadership of Lucy Haigh.

In May 2022, St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market set up ‘Sing Nottingham!’, an ambitious programme to enhance singing provision for children across Nottingham. ‘Sing Nottingham!’ offers free class singing teaching for primary schools, particularly in areas of social deprivation, and selected children are also invited to join one of three exciting new Children’s Choirs which will enrich the musical life and worship of St Mary’s Church.

Lucy Haigh is the Director of ‘Sing Nottingham!’. Lucy has already forged links with primary schools in some of Nottingham’s most deprived communities and set up three choirs at St Mary’s with a total of 45 members. The initial success of the programme has now been acknowledged through financial support from the Cathedral Music Trust, a charity which supports music in churches and cathedrals across England and Wales.

The Church Choir Award was launched earlier this year to recognise and develop excellence in music making by church choirs through funding imaginative new projects and activities. The Trust praised the “ambitious plans to establish three children’s choirs, and work with local schools to provide musical and vocal training in support of their curriculum.”

Lucy Haigh, Director of Children’s Music at St Mary’s, said ‘I am delighted that we have received this generous grant from the Cathedral Music Trust, which will enable even more children to experience the joys of choral singing’.

Rev. Tom Gillum, vicar of St Mary’s, said, “This funding will make a huge difference to the Children’s Choirs and the work St Mary’s does at the heart of the city of Nottingham, helping us reach out to and support communities across the whole city.”

The Children’s Choirs are preparing for their first public appearance at the Harvest Festival service at St Mary’s at 10.45am on Sunday 2nd October. Applications to join the choirs are open and expressions of interest from parents and schools are welcome. Lucy Haigh can be contacted at lhaigh@stmarynotts.org

A representative of The Cathedral Music Trust will present the award at St Mary’s Christingle Service on Sunday 11th December.

Cathedral Music Trust press release: https://www.cathedralmusictrust.org.uk//CMT/News/Articles/Cathedral-Music-Trust-and-RSCM-announce-six-Church-Choir-Award-Recipients.aspx

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Choral Scholarships Available for Nottingham Students 2022/2023

Nottingham’s civic church is pleased to invite applications for choral scholarships for the 2022/2023 academic year.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious choirs in the region, St Mary’s choir offers unrivalled opportunities for talented singers in Nottingham. Choral scholarships are available for all voice parts (soprano, alto/countertenor, tenor and bass). Open to students aged 18 or over in further or higher education, a choral scholarship offers the following benefits:

  • at least £1,625 choral scholarship per annum (paid in arrears each term)
  • additional fees from weddings, funerals etc.
  • choral masterclasses with some of the country’s best choral directors (2008 Edward Higginbottom, 2009 & 2013 Jeremy Jackman, 2010 & 2016 David Hill)
  • subsidised singing lessons
  • international tours

All of our choral scholars share a passion and talent for choral singing, and many have gone on to pursue successful careers in music. Read what some of our former choral scholars thought about their experience here.

Choral scholars are typically students at Nottingham’s universities (The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University) but we accept applications from students attending any further or higher education institution.

For more information about the scheme, click here.

Auditions are being held at St Mary’s church on 2nd & 9th October 2022.

To apply, please fill in the brief form here

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St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market Appoints Lucy Haigh to Lead Ambitious New Children’s Singing Programme in Nottingham

[NOTTINGHAM, UK, 15 JULY 2022] Nottingham’s ancient church of St Mary’s in the Lace Market has today announced that it has appointed Lucy Haigh as choir director to lead a new music programme for children in the city centre. Lucy will lead the creation of three children’s choirs at the church while also building links with local Nottingham schools. The church is excited to be creating opportunities for children in the city to get involved in singing.

Tom Gillum, the vicar of St Mary’s, explained, “St Mary’s is well established as a centre of musical excellence in the city. We are delighted to appoint Lucy, who has an outstanding track record and abilities, as our new Children’s Choir Director. From the moment we met her, we were impressed by her love of music and we are thrilled at her ambitious plans for children’s singing at St Mary’s.”

Lucy Haigh has over thirty years’ experience as a choral director.  She has directed successful children’s choirs in both the UK and Australia, giving promising young singers the opportunity to sing to the highest standards.  Before moving to Nottingham, Lucy held the post of Cathedral Choral Director for the (RC) Diocese of Leeds, where her Cathedral Junior Choirs broadcast regularly on television and radio and she taught a busy programme of whole-class singing sessions at schools throughout Leeds.

Lucy said ‘Our exciting new programme ‘Sing Nottingham!’ aims to build strong partnerships with local schools.  We were delighted to be able to offer free, weekly singing sessions (in line with the new Model Music Curriculum) to selected schools.  In addition, I am visiting as many schools as possible on an occasional basis, with the aim of discovering promising young singers who will benefit from everything our new Children’s Choirs at St Mary’s have to offer.’  

Lucy is setting up three new children’s choirs at St Mary’s church: a boys’ choir and a girls’ choir for singers aged 7-11 and a training choir for children aged 6 and above.

Lucy goes on to say ‘The choirs will give the children opportunities to develop their singing to a high standard, to learn lovely songs and musical games in many styles (not only church music!) and to make new friends from all over Nottingham.  In addition to the group audition sessions in schools, I’m very happy to hear from parents who are interested in the choirs for their children.  There is just a short, informal audition consisting of fun musical activities: no previous experience is necessary.’

The Director of Music, John Keys, added, “our successful choral scholarship scheme has been giving opportunities for university students to sing in our choir for well over a decade. Singing in choirs is well known to have many benefits and we want more people to come to appreciate the joys of choral singing.”

Parents of children who are interested in joining one of the new children’s choirs and local primary schools that would like to be involved in the programme can register their interest on the church’s website at www.stmarysnottingham.org/childrens-choir or contact Lucy directly on lhaigh@stmarynotts.org

St Mary’s in the Lace Market is the ancient Parish and Civic Church of Nottingham. The present building, well over 500 years old, is believed to be at least the third church on the site. The church holds regular services throughout the week, usually supported by the choir of St Mary’s which has built a reputation as one of the region’s finest church choirs. More information about the church can be found at www.stmarysnottingham.org

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Ed Mills at 07766 391622 or email stmarysnottingham@outlook.com.  Photographs of the church and choir are available on request.

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Workplace Wednesdays

Looking for a stimulating lunchbreak alternative now we are back in the city centre? Join fellow city workers from all backgrounds for the 2022 season of Insight Talks. 

Hosted by The Workplace Chaplaincy, the monthly presentations are given by senior figures from across business, charity and academia. Each session takes place in St Mary’s in The Lace Market and begins at 12 noon with a light buffet lunch. We aim to close by 1.30 pm.

These events are FREE to attend but registration is required.

Email lensimmonds@gmail.com to book a place.

DATETOPIC
25thMayWhat was it like working during the pandemic?
‘On the buses’
NOTTINGHAM CITY TRANSPORT
– Chief Executive David Astil
22ndJuneWhat was it like working during the pandemic?
‘INDEPENDENT SINCE 1844….. AND STILL THRIVING’
WEAVERS 
– Chief Executive Philip Trease
13thJulyWhat was it like working during the pandemic?
‘A HOSPITAL CHAPLAIN AT THE QMC’
– Revd James Pacey 
17thAugWhat was it like working during the pandemic?
‘LIFE-CHANGING SUPPORT’
EMMANUEL HOUSE
– Chief Executive Denis Tully
14thSeptRESHAPING POLICING PRIORITIES FOR THE PUBLIC
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER
– Corrina Johnson
19thOctPOST PANDEMIC – IS IT REALLY TRANSFORMING OUR LIVES, RESHAPING BUSINESSES AND INFLUENCING BEHAVIOURS?
INTERESTING TO KNOW – LIVE
– Len Simmonds
16thNov‘HISTORY IS THE ULTIMATE PASSPORT TO THE FUTURE’ 
An INSIGHT into how our city centre has evolved as a result of its natural surroundings,
history, culture and the passage of different people and industries. 
– Richard Brackenbury