Hornsey Parish Church (St. Mary with St. George) has a long running musical tradition, dating back at least a century. The largest single expense in constructing the Victorian church of St. Mary was the installation of a state-of-the-art Father Willis organ, which supported the sizeable choral liturgy at that time. The Music Director from 1920 to 1928 was Dr. George Frederick Brockless (FRCO), a renowned composer and conductor, whose hymn tune “Grainger” is still in use today. From 1949, St. Mary’s church ran regular choral festivals. In 1982, St. Mary’s Church merged with St. George’s Church, which already had a large choir of men and boys. Two years later, the Walker organ at St. George’s was enlarged by Saxon Aldred, and today features 1300 pipes. In the later half of the 20th century, the choir was one of the finest voluntary choirs in London. The church music library contains several commissioned works from this period dedicated to the choir.
In recent times, there has been a mixed choir of adults, led by a succession of excellent directors including Louisa Livermore, David Went (organ scholar, Queens’ College Oxford 1995), Tom Fowkes (organ scholar, All Saint’s Northampton 1993), Fredrik Karlsson. A regular Eucharist service is sung every Sunday, and all major festivals are kept with choral liturgy. The choir also sings occasional Evensongs and Complines, and has hosted a number of performances of large-scale sacred choral works, such as the Fauré and Mozart Requiems. The church also supports the Tower Singers, a community ensemble that rehearse in the surviving tower of the original fifteenth century church. The choir has recently appointed 4 choral scholars for the academic year 2019 – 2020, establishing a new tradition that is sure to support musical excellence in the coming years.