You never know who you might meet! Michael writes:

Jean and I walked in to the Great Hall at NT Wallington Hall and there was a chap playing a lovely Broadwood Grand Piano. When he finished we went over to ask what he was playing and the House Steward turned up to shut up the piano. He looked at me and said are you Michael Grave? It transpired it was Robert Thompson a former choirboy of ours at Whickham back in the 1970/80s. The pianist then chipped in and said he had just been looking at the picture of Bernard Gilpin preaching at Rothbury, which is found in the Great Hall, and a discussion aboutour RSCM Festival, which celebrates Gilpin 500 this year, ensued. This led to it turning out that the gentleman was a former Rector of St Michael Houghton-le-Spring, called Fisher. It then further transpired that they knewTony Meakin, who appointed me as organist at Whickham and his wife Elizabeth Fisher told me she had been involved in Barry's training a priest. The two both said they knew George Peebles, Organist at Houghton and now lived in Barnard Castle and I think they new Joan Johnson as well. What a small world!  Jean and I had some music with us for the Mother's Union Lunch so we went on to give an impromptu recital and for the rest of the day as we wandered around Wallington people from all over the world stopped to have a chat and kindly compliment us. 

Music and Spirituality: captured moments
Music and Spirituality Retreat Sep 16 cu
MP4 Video/Audio File 4.3 MB

St Mary's Choir

Do you sing Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass then we'd love to meet you. St Mary's church has a fine musical tradition. Join our choir, new members are always welcome. The church & choir are both affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music; see below. Members sing at 9.30am and 6.30pm Sunday Services and take part in Weddings and several Festivals throughout the year. First class training is given by Michael Grave our Director of Music. Choir practice is held at 4.30pm in the church on the 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th Sundays and on the Thursday before the 3rd Sunday at 7.00pm. The Choir possess a wide repertoire of Hymns, Songs, Anthems and Psalms from the 16th Century to the formative cutting edge of contemporary music. Want to know more? Contact Michael Grave.


Congratulations to Michael and Jean who received a special volunteers award from the National Trust for their dedication and service in bringing beautiful music and song to Gibside Chapel for more than fifteen years! The award was presented on behalf of the National Trust Gibside by Sonia Middleton, herself a dedicated volunteer and Chapel Guide. Don't forget we have Choral evensong every first Sunday of the month at 3pm.


Royal School of Church Music, Durham Area. St Mary's Church & Choir is affiliated to the RSCM, which supports a world wide network of over 8000 churches, schools and individuals. The RSCM is committed to achieving the best use of good music in worship - whatever the resources, whatever the style. Regular local events and training are held throughout the Durham Diocese; contact Michael Grave for further information. The RSCM offer support through education, training, publications, advice and encouragement to churches and their musicians; investing now in the church music of the future.

Newcastle and District Society of Organists. The Society encompasses all who have an interest in the organ and its music; whether novice, professional, player or listener. It holds regular sessions in Newcastle and Gateshead including visits, training sessions, lecture recitals, master classes and holds a class at the Ryton Music Festival. Michael Grave our Director of Music is a past President of the NDSO and a co-organiser of the successful Great North Organ Day.