Little Saint Mary’s Church, Cambridge

Music at LSM

LSM choir


Music plays an important role of the worship at Little St Mary's, and the church has a thriving musical tradition. The Parish Choir and Choristers are at the heart of the Church's musical activities, and since 2007 LSM has been home to a fine mechanical action organ, built by the Northampton firm of Kenneth Tickell & Co. The Choir of Little St Mary's sings at High Mass every Sunday and at feasts and festivals throughout the year. The Choir draws its membership from across the City and University and, since the establishment of a top line of girl and boy Choristers in 2000, from schools across Cambridge. In recent years, the Choir has made two CD recordings (available to purchase from this website), undertaken national and international tours, commissioned new music from several established composers, and taken part in a number of outreach projects. In 2015 one of the Little St Mary's Choristers was awarded the prestigious title of BBC Girl Chorister of the Year.

At choral services we use the New English Hymnal, occasionally supplemented by New English Praise. Hymns 600-700 are found in the latter volume which also includes new tunes to some of the older hymns, such as Coe Fen, named after a location in our own parish. For a key to the first lines of hymns that have been translated from Latin, Greek, German or other languages see this index, which covers both volumes.

Psalms and the Proper of the Mass are usually sung to Gregorian plainsong tones, though sometimes we use Anglican chant or fully polyphonic settings. The simpler tones of the English Gradual (as edited for the Gregorian Association of London by Francis Burgess) are generally used at weekday Sung Masses. The Ordinary of the Mass may be sung to one of the well-known plainsong settings such as Missa de Angelis, a congregational version such as those of Merbecke or Martin Shaw, or sometimes a fully choral setting.

In Holy Week the Passion narratives are sung to plainsong (often interspersed with polyphonic settings of the turba sections, such as those by Victoria). Here is a recording of the St John Passion as used on Good Friday, illustrated by a presentation of our Stations of the Cross.

The Director of Music, Andrew Reid, is always delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining the Choir.