Music in St Mary's Olveston
St Mary's has a strong musical tradition and the music in the church is
much appreciated by the congregation. During the course of a month a variety
of musical styles is used in services - ranging from youth services and
family services through to choral evensong and choral eucharist. There is
growing interest amongst some of the youngsters in the parish for music
in church and from time to time services are held where the youth will play
their own instruments and make their own music.
Music is a precious gift and should not be the preserve of only a few selected
people. However, during a church service, it should always be performed
to the very best of the performers' ability and that is what we strive to
do at St Mary's
St Mary's is fortunate to have a superb two manual organ, installed in
1991. The instrument was built by Walkers in the 1960s with electric action
and was originally installed at the home of Mr Jack Britton in his magnificent
home near Pucklechurch, on the outskirts of Bristol. The church acquired
the organ on the death of Mr Britton and it was re-erected in the church
with an additional open diapason stop on the pedal organ.
Every year, a celebrity recital is given on the organ, to a very good audience.
The church has been most fortunate to have had Dame Gillian Weir giving
the recital on two occasions.
The church has a strong robed choir of about 30 voices which sings at one
service each Sunday. The pattern of attendance of the choir reflects the
diversity of services during any month of the year. Thus, the choir will
sing a variety of services from Prayer Book (1662) evensong through to Family
The choir enjoys singing in other venues and has sung evensong in a number
of cathedrals in England and Wales and in the Republic of Ireland.
All members of the choir are also active members of the church so there
is good fellowship amongst the choristers.
The choir rehearses once a week (on Fridays at 7.00pm) and many members
then go to enjoy a well-deserved drink in the pub across the road from the
The Director of Music
David Shaw is the present holder of the post. He has been director of music
at St Mary's for 21 years. When he was appointed, the choir had been disbanded
for many years. But soon after his appointment, a choir was reformed and
local churches were extremely generous in giving used robes to the church
to "get us started". From that humble beginning the choir grew
in size and ability and before very long new robes had been purchased.
David enjoys composing choral music from time to time and one of the settings
for Holy Communion used regularly in St Mary's is his composition. He has
given a number of recitals on the organ.
Music in Worship
Some thoughts by David Shaw.
We can and should use the gift of the arts to the very best of our abilities
to glorify God.
Music is a powerful medium in which our thoughts and emotions can be
interpreted, expressed and transmitted.
Each person interprets music differently thus in any situation one person
will find help/inspiration/solace/comfort in one particular piece of music
whereas another may not.
Music can uplift the soul in exultation and can provide solace and comfort
to the distressed.
Music has been a part of worship probably since worship began.
Everyone can make music, whether it be banging a drum or singing the
most ethereal of compositions. Each has its own part to play; each will
have a particular meaning and significance to a listener.
In any service, there is a time for silence, a time for quiet instrumental
and/or choral music and a time for congregational music so that people
can express themselves according to their own individual needs.
Church musicians of all genres have an awesome responsibility to provide
this art form to the very best of their ability in order to enhance the
worship of all members of the congregation.