Music at Our Lady and St Walstan

Music plays an important part in parish life, both in the weekly Parish Mass and other occasions throughout the year. There is a long history of good music at Costessey, based around the old Hall chapel and St Walstan’s: we have some late 18th and early 19th century motet books from the Hall, together with some manuscript parts for Palestrina masses in the hand of Dr Husenbeth himself. In recent years there has been a church orchestra (the ‘Gallery Band’) of young and talented musicians which gave frequent concerts. Currently there is a small choir which anyone may join (it’s not the standard you sing to, but the fact that you sing!), and instrumentalists are also encouraged. Musical style ranges from the very traditional to contemporary, and the Holy Week liturgy is of a particularly high standard. The Filipino Community has established the Choir of Our Lady of Penafrancia, which leads the liturgy for occasions like Easter Morning and First Holy Communions and is extremely popular. In the future we hope to re-establish the ‘Gallery Band’ together with a small Schola Cantorum, but this will only happen with enthusiastic participation from the community! The present Director of Music is Mro. Nick Walmsley who has held the post since 2006.

The original organ at St Walstan’s was a chamber organ from Costessey Hall and was built by William Gray in 1810. It was removed in the 1970s, but happily has survived and may be seen at the English Organ School and Museum at Milborne Port in Somerset. The new organ built by Bower and Company in 1995 was the brainchild of the then Director of Music Mro. Vyvyan Morris and is a superb versatile instrument very much in the late 18th century English style.

Anyone wanting to get involved with the musical life of the Parish will be warmly welcomed: just speak to one of the clergy or the Director of Music.