When is the last time you sang together with a group of your neighbors? Most Americans today only sing the Happy Birthday song or maybe Take Me Out To The Ballgame when they have a ticket for a live baseball game. Yet, singing has been central to the human experience since the very beginning of humanity. It is one of the core activities of every group of humans who gather to celebrate (along with eating and dancing), no matter their culture or language.
To be Church is to sing together in celebration of who God is, what God has done, and what God will do.Fr Nathan Ferrell
Music is an integral part of the Sunday services at Saint Mary’s which is glorified by the architecture and traditions of this stately Anglican stone church.
Music allows us to pray, to hear scripture in song, to express our love, and to connect with God in unique ways. Singing is an important part of who we are and who God created us to be.
We use the Hymnal 1982 as our primary source for hymns and liturgies, but also draw from the Hymnal 1982’s supplement Wonder, Love, & Praise (1997), as well as the hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing II (1993).
The Choir provides music that enriches and beautifies our worship on Sunday mornings and certain holy days. From September through June the choir rehearses on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. During the later Sunday service, the choir leads the parish in the hymns, sings an offertory anthem and other service music. Anyone high school age and older, who loves to sing and can regularly attend rehearsals, is eligible for choir membership. If interested contact Bruce Fithian
The Saint Mary sanctuary is modeled after a Norman chapel in England. It was built using granite stone and therefore has truly inspirational acoustics that the parish enjoys as well as the concert audiences in southern Maine. Singing in this sacred space, surrounded by glorious stained-glass windows is truly a source of great joy to all.
Saint Mary’s offers music beyond the traditional liturgy.
Evensongs, Lessons & Carols, Organ Concerts, Bell Choir, RSCM, Outside Music Groups that use S. Mary’s.
The organ accompanies most music during the worship services including the prelude and postlude music. In 1977, Saint Mary’s received a gift of a Casavant tracker organ, given in memory of Herbert Payson, Sally Carroll Payson, and Joan Whitney Payson by Charles Shipman Payson, a grandson of General Brown and is located in a gallery at the west end with space for the choir.
The organ was dedicated on April 22, 1979.
“Commissioned in 1977 after several years of planning, the organ was designed and handcrafted expressly for its setting at Saint Mary’s Church by Gerhard Brunzema of Casavant Freres Limited, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. The two manual and pedal instrument has 20 stops, 26 ranks of pipes and has mechanical and stop action. Its tonal design was inspired by the North German organ tradition of the 17th and 18th Centuries and is true to classic Baroque period as is exemplified by this program.” – “Anderson Will Dedicate Falmouth Foreside Organ,” The Lewiston Daily Sun. April 18, 1979, p. 3
Pianos and venues
The Parish auditorium is a beautifully lit room with excellent acoustics and is greatly appreciated as a recital and concert space. An elegant 1890 Steinway baby grand piano serves as excellent accompaniment
and recital instrument.
The James Dalton Thompson Chapel is an intimate space with superb acoustics that can also serve as a
venue for music, especially sacred music. This lovely chapel contains a digital organ/piano as well.
Downstairs, the choir room is a pleasant environment for singing with a baby grand piano, and a room for
the storage of the hand bells.
The Guiding RAY section of downstairs also contains a baby grand piano which can accompany the children as part of their religious education program.
Organist & Choir Director
Saint Mary’s is truly blessed in having Bruce Fithian as organist and choir director following in the path of excellence established by John Corrie and Robert Renwick in the prior decades. As an American tenor, Bruce made his Carnegie Recital Hall debut, establishing himself as a tenor soloist. In addition to acquiring American acclaim, he won wide recognition in Europe, earning further prominence as a featured soloist in Germany, Israel, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and England. Bruce was a longtime professor at the University of Southern Maine School of Music before retiring a few years ago.
St Mary Schola, also founded and directed by Bruce, is a leading musical ensemble from southern Maine, specializing in music of the pre-Classical era. This professional group showcases works and composers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.