The choir of St Mary Magdalene, Newark is one of the finest and oldest of its type. Made up of both boy and girl choristers, “Magnus scholars” and adult volunteers, they sing for the 9.30am Parish Eucharist and 5.00pm Choral Evensong each Sunday and assorted civic services and events across the year. The choristers also sing Choral Evening Prayer on a Wednesday at 6.05pm during term time.
Please note that during the lockdown in the first part of 2021, the Eucharist is at 9.00am. Music will be provided by an organist and cantor. Sunday Choral Evensong and Wednesday Choral Evening Prayer have been suspended as have all choir rehearsals.
The choir is professionally led by the Director of Music (sometimes known as the Master of the Song School), Dr Stephen Bullamore. He is supported by the Assistant Organist, Mike Dutton, who both plays the organ and assists with the training of the young people in the choir. The music for the church is supported financially by the Thomas Magnus Foundation. This enables the choristers and “Magnus scholars” to be offered music lessons to support their learning.
The music that the choir sings encompasses a vast range of repertoire, from Gregorian chant, through Tudor verse services, Classical Mass settings and great Romantic anthems to twenty-first century music.
Choristers (School Years 2-8)
The choristers (boys and girls) rehearse in the historic Song School next to the church twice a week and sing for three services a week during term time. They are drawn from lots of different schools around Newark. In addition to their group training, many receive individual singing or instrumental lessons, partly funded by the Magnus Foundation.
Up to eight Magnus Scholarships worth £1,000-£1,500 per year are currently available for singers, organists or choral directors in full time education. Recent scholars have gone on to sing in various Cathedral and Collegiate choirs, taken up Oxbridge organ scholarships and continued their musical studies at university.
The choir welcomes adult singers of any voice part from all walks of life. They rehearse in the Song School on a Friday evening and sing for two services on a Sunday most weeks of the year.