Music and choir
Director of music
Laurence is a London-based baritone, choir director, and organist. He enjoys a busy schedule of professional solo, ensemble, and choral singing, and is a founding member of both The Russian Music Project and the acapella sextet, The Back Row.
Originally from Gloucester, Laurence began his singing career as a deputy lay clerk at Gloucester Cathedral before singing as the choral scholar for Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, under Simon Bell. Laurence went on to read Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he studied singing with Elaine Pearce and was a choral scholar with the highly-acclaimed Choir of Royal Holloway, under the direction of Rupert Gough. During this time, Laurence worked with many vocal ensembles including The King’s Singers and BBC Singers. He regularly performed in major concert venues in the UK and around the world, and sang for numerous live radio broadcasts and recordings, including Ola Gjeilo's Winter Songs, which was No. 1 in the UK and US Classical Charts. In 2019, Laurence graduated with First Class Honours and was awarded the Dame Felicity Lott Prize.
In 2019, Laurence was selected to take part in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain's Fellowship Programme, which further developed his interest in performing, leading, and educating. Through this programme, Laurence performed around the country with the seven other fellows, working with many ensembles including The Tallis Scholars and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and leading workshops at institutions such as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music. Laurence continues to perform regularly with this octet of National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship alumni.
As a soloist, Laurence is a Making Music Selected Artist 2020-21. His recent engagements include Stainer's The Crucifixion, Fauré's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's The Creation, and Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs.
Contact Laurence here
There has been a long tradition of choral singing at St Mary’s for well over 100 years. Choral music is a vital and valued part of the life of our Church. Our services involve singing at the Parish Mass each Sunday and for a service of choral evensong, usually on the first Sunday of the month. Occasionally we sing for weekday services such as Ash Wednesday, during Holy week and also for carol services at Advent and Christmas.
The choir, are a friendly, dedicated and talented group of voluntary singers drawn together by a love of singing sacred music in its liturgical context.
For further information contact the director of music.
Our Director of Music, Laurence brings a strong background of organ study and composition to St Mary’s; through his modern approach to liturgical music, St Mary’s continues to be filled with the sounds of praise throughout the year.
A short history of the organ
In 1521 Stephen Colman left the residue of his goods towards the purchase of a ‘payre of organys’ and in 1552 they appear in the inventory of the church goods. When the church was taken down in 1774, arrangements were made for the organ’s safe custody. Samuel Spencer in about 1790 presented the church with a much larger instrument. Later this was replaced by another, erected by public subscription. This, which stood like its two predecessors in the western gallery, was removed with the gallery in 1881. A new organ was built by Brindley & Foster and placed in the northern transept of the new chancel. In 1952 this organ was enlarged and divided to include pipework in the south gallery by Spurden Rutt & Co with electric action and a detached console under the south gallery.
The present three manual digital ‘Allen’ organ, with speakers in both galleries, has 44 stops, a recording sequencer, crescendo pedal, transposer, bass and melody couplers and four midi stops which incorporate a library of 33 voices. It was purchased in 1996 as part of the re-ordering of the building with a bequest from Ruth Bennett, a loyal member of the congregation.