Music as part of Worship

Music really is an important and integral part of our worship. Our services include sung liturgy from the choir, celebrant and congregation. All are welcome to join in – or not – as they feel comfortable.

At High Mass we sing plainsong or congregational settings of the Propers, Gloria and Creed. There is normally a choral setting of the Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei, followed by a communion anthem. Music ranges from Tudor, Renaissance and Baroque to modern living composers. We usually sing choral music in its original language, chosen to fit the season and occasion.

This provides a rich liturgical experience, on a traditional pattern. All are welcome to join in with the congregational elements as much as they feel comfortable. We do take pains to ensure that the music enriches the worship, rather than dominates it.

We are proud of our choir, which is arguably one of the best non-professional choirs in the city. Under the baton of Director of Music, Sandy Chenery and supported by our team of organists, the choir sings a huge variety of repertoire. Firm favourites include music by Byrd and Victoria, right through to Howells and MacMillan. The choir is no stranger to new music, regularly taking on new material; most recently giving the world premiere of Will Todd’s Mass for St Michael’s conducted by the composer.

During the Festivals, larger pieces of music are undertaken, such as Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Rheinberger’s Mass for Double Choir and more recently, Langlais’ Messe Solennelle and Schubert’s Mass in G.

Come and sing with us

We rehearse from 9:00-10:00 before that Sunday’s Mass – no midweek rehearsals to commit to here! We welcome confident singers; anyone who is interested is always welcome to come and join us. Get in touch with our Choir Secretary, Elaine McAdam, here.


The organ serves as the musical backbone of each of our services. A surprisingly versatile two manual instrument with a moveable console, it is equally comfortable providing a continuo part for a solo aria as it is filling the building with a stirring post-service voluntary. Our organ has had quite the journey: it was built by Forster and Andrews in 1872 in Scarborough, before a rebuild in 1920 by Abbott and Smith. In 1966 it was rebuilt – and moved within Scarborough by Wood Wordsworth. Our organ was installed in our church in 1992 by Peter Wood.

We are lucky to be supported by multiple organists who take the organ bench on a semi-rotational basis, each bringing their own interpretation to our worship.

On special occasions the church’s own group of string players – St Michael’s Music – provides the music which is a real treat for us all. Brass players augment this when required.

Accessibility Toolbar