Music

The Choirs of St. Mark's Church 

The Parish of St. Mark is one of what is now very few Anglican churches in the country who support and maintain a regular Parish Choir to sing at services. The Choir sing a busy schedule of Choral Eucharists on a Sunday, and Choral Evensong occurs once a month every 3rd Sunday. Aside from regular Choral Worship at St. Mark’s, the Choir is also active in singing services for Holy Week, a Service of Light for Advent Sunday, the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas, and has been known to visit other Churches and Cathedrals to sing services. The Choir of St. Mark’s is an affiliated member of the Royal School of Church Music, and partakes in the Voice for Life scheme they offer, also singing at many community-based events around Auckland. The current Organist & Director of Music is Brian Millar who can be contacted through the Contact Us form.c.

Choral Eucharists with a full Mass Setting, Anglican Psalm, Communion Motet and traditional hymns are sung at 9.30am every Sunday except the 3rd Sunday of each month.  On the same day each month, Choral Evensong – as found in the Book of Common Prayer (1928) – is sung at 5.00pm by the Parish Choir. This quintessential Anglican service includes many musical offerings, with Psalms, Preces & Responses, Evening Canticles, and an Anthem. This service will, at times, be sung by a Visiting Choir to St. Mark’s.

If you are interested in joining our Choirs, please click here for further information.


The Organ

A harmonium was the first instrument in the building, but was replaced by a pipe organ in 1865. This organ was found in Wellington and is believed to have originally come from Hobart in the early convict days. The instrument cost 90 pounds, the money raised through subscriptions organised by Edwin Hesketh, the parish organist and partner in one of Auckland’s early law firms.
 

A new two manual and pedal organ of 19 speaking stops was installed in 1882 by Henry Jones & Son Ltd, London. The necessity to house this larger instrument became one of the incentives for building the tower with a new organ chamber in its base.

 

In 1920, the Henry Jones organ was considerably enlarged and modified by Harry Tustin (Wellington) using 'action work and new stops' supplied by William Hill & Son, Norman & Beard Ltd, London, to a specification drawn up by the Organist of St Mark’s, J. Maughan Barnett, who was also City Organist. The instrument was very comprehensive and included a new Choir division.

 

Following a fire in the Tower in 1935, the instrument was extensively reconstructed by the firm of Lawton & Osborne, Aberdeen and Onehunga. Opened in 1936 and costing 2000 pounds, the instrument was a lavish example of New Zealand ‘Edwardian’ organ building, retaining several ranks from the previous organ and incorporating the latest technology in exhaust-pneumatic action and console design.

 

In 1957, the organ’s action was converted to electro-pneumatic and in 1967, tonal modifications were made by George Croft & Son Ltd. In 1977, a substantial rebuild was undertaken by George Croft & Son Ltd. in the prevailing ‘neo-classical’ style of the time, complete with new console. In 1989, the South Island Organ Company of Timaru partially reconstructed the organ to return the Chancel casework and façade back to its original position.

 

Since 2001, the organ has undergone considerable tonal and some mechanical refurbishment by the South Island Organ Company of Timaru, with the aim being to ‘adapt’ the organ better to the acoustic and to enhance the organ's role in congregational and choral accompanying. In June 2009, the organ was removed by SIOC, and underwent a full restoration of its winding system and selected tonal work was also done on the Swell. It was returned and rededicated on Advent Sunday 2009. St. Mark’s Church possesses a pipe organ of significant colour and versatility, the instrument being the largest and most comprehensive in an Anglican parish church in the greater Auckland region.


To view the Organ Specifications, please click here.