Music at

The Church of

Our Lady & the English Martyrs





Welcome to the music pages of the Church of Our Lady & the English Martyrs

situated in the historic university city of Cambridge.  Since the end of the 19th

century the praises of God have resounded here, in the daily Prayer of the

Church, the celebration of the sacraments, most especially the Mass - the

Memorial of the Lord, the source and summit of our life.  Music plays an

important part in our liturgical celebrations as all who come here to worship

in faith are invited to join their voices in the offering of the One, True, Sacrifice

of praise ‘in the presence of the angels.’


With its huge spire and sturdy tower, the Church of Our Lady & The English Martyrs - known affectionately as OLEM - is one of the landmarks of the city of Cambridge and one of the largest Catholic Churches in the country. The Church was founded as a result of a bequest given by Yolande Lyne-Stephens, a former ballet dancer, who married a rich East Anglian land owner. Consecrated in 1890, the Church today serves a large, diverse congregation.

Over the years a rich liturgical and musical tradition has been established -  music playing a vital part it our liturgical celebrations. The musical treasury of the Church is preserved and cultivated here in the regular singing of Gregorian Chant, polyphony, as well as music from the classical and romantic periods, through to the best of the contemporary. What follows is a description of the work of our various choirs and instrumentalists, as well as a wide range of related activities such as recitals, concerts, recordings and broadcasts.

If you would like to become involved in the musical life of our church, then do get in touch - please go to the contacts page.








Music in the Sacred Liturgy


‘The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.’

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy – Vatican II

‘Music is the expression of ideas greater and more profound than any in the visible world; ideas which centre, indeed, in Him whom Catholicism manifests, who is the seat of all beauty, order and perfection whatever.’

Blessed John Henry Newman of the Oratory



In the words of the psalmist, the Church is called day by day to 'sing a new song to the Lord'. Throughout history, sacred art has been created to give praise and honour to God while raising the hearts and minds of all people to him and his Kingdom - music being pre-eminent in this work.

Music in the Liturgy is not to be seen as an adornment, but rather as a necessary and integral part of the Church’s daily offering of prayer. Its fundamental purpose is to glorify God and thereby sanctify the faithful. The Church regards her music as ministerial;  its purpose is to serve and not dominate. At its purest it assists the Church to pray more profoundly.  In doing so the people of God enter into a deeper unity one with another, as together they celebrate the Mysteries of Jesus Christ and are joined to his perfect hymn of prayer and praise to the Father.









Choirs & Instrumental



'There should be choirs, or capellae, or scholae cantorum, especially in cathedrals, and other major churches, in seminaries and religious houses of study, and they should be carefully encouraged.’


 Instruction on Music in the Sacred Liturgy – Vatican II



The Parish Choir


The choir sings the weekly Sunday morning Solemn Mass at 10.45am, as well as the main Christmas, Holy Week and Easter liturgical celebrations.  Established in the 1999, the semi-professional choir is made up of former university choral scholars as well as singers who perform with other chamber choirs in the city, and those who work in the music industry.  The repertoire extends from Gregorian chant and polyphony through to contemporary mass settings and motets by composers such as James MacMillan, Colin Mawby, Malcolm Archer and Andrew Wright.


The choir sing Mass at Westminster Cathedral every year and in 2011 they were invited to sing the National Mass of Thanksgiving there, celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster with the Papal Nuncio and diocesan bishops and clergy.    Together with members of the Latin Schola the Parish Choir have produced an acclaimed commercial CD of sacred music in honour of Blessed John Paul II (see ‘Recordings’)  The church and choir now broadcast live regularly for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sunday Worship’ and ‘Sunday Half Hour’ on BBC Radio 2.


New members of the choir are always welcome following an audition.  A high standard of sight-reading is required.  The choir rehearse at 9.30am on Sunday mornings.  For further details and to arrange an audtion please contact the music department (see ‘Contacts’)











The Latin Schola


‘The Church recognises Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy.  Above all, the study and practice of Gregorian chant is

to be promoted, because with its special characteristics, it is the basis of importance for the development of sacred music.’

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Vatican II



The Latin Schola sings the weekly Sunday Solemn Latin Mass at 6.15pm.

A wide range of music is performed, almost exclusively in Latin.  The repertoire includes a substantial amount of Gregorian Chant, polyphonic mass settings and motets by some of the great composers of sacred music – Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Tallis and Byrd etc.



The Latin Choir has been an important feature of parish life for some thirty years.  The choir was reconstituted and then directed from 2005-2006 by Colin Mawby KSG, a former Master of Music of Westminster Cathedral.  Many members of the choir are former university choral scholars and members sing with other renown choirs in Cambridge and London.  There is also a list of deputies who are willing to sing in the choir from time to time.    Entrance to the choir is by audition and a high standard of sight reading is required.  The choir rehearses on Sunday afternoons from 4.45 to 6pm. For further details please contact the music department.








Choral and Organ Scholarships


Four choral scholarships and an organ scholarship are offered every year to full time advanced students.  For further details please contact the music department.





We welcome singers who would like to serve as a cantor – leading the congregation in the Ordinary of the Mass, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation at the Saturday (6pm) and Sunday (9.30) Masses.  Full tuition will be provided for those who can read music to a decent standard.  For further details please contact the music department.


Junior Choirs


Two choirs for children from 7-12 and 13-18 years will be established in the parish from September 2011.  The choirs will sing at the Family Mass once a month and join the adult choirs from time to time.  There will be opportunities for individual singing tuition and musical theory as well as social events.  For further details please contact the music department.



The ‘Five Alive’ Music Group


The music group was founded in 1993 to provide contemporary music for the weekly 5pm Mass.   Singers, pianists, guitarists, wind, brass and percussion players are welcome to join.  Rehearsals precede the Mass on Sunday afternoons at 4pm.   For further details please contact the music department.









Concerts & Recitals



‘Our churches have for a very long time played an important role in the cultural life of cities and towns.  Is not the church the house of the People of God?  Has it not been in churches that this people had its first aesthetic experiences in seeing the beauty of the building, its mosaics, paintings, statues, or sacred objects; in hearing organ music or the singing of the choir?  Outside of liturgical celebrations there can be a place for religious music in the form of a concert.  This can be an occasion offered to Christians who are no longer practicing their faith, or even to non-Christians who are seeking God, to have access to a true religious experience, beyond a simple aesthetic emotion.’


Blessed John Paul II, 1987


We are delighted to be able to welcome musicians to our church, from the city of Cambridge and far beyond.  In so doing we are afforded an opportunity to share this sacred space with the wider community, and to be given a chance to hear large-scale, non-liturgical sacred works.  The church makes an inspiring setting for concerts and together with its generous acoustic it continues to be a popular choice among musicians and promoters.


Over the years we have welcomed musicians of international acclaim including the Choir of Westminster Cathedral, The London Bach Players, The Dufay Collective, Orlando Consort, Charivari Agréable, Clare College Choir, Gonville & Caius College Choir, Carthage College and Preston Hollow Choirs USA, Guy Woolfenden, while organ master classes and recitals have been given by Dame Gillian Weir, Thomas Trotter, Guy Bovet, Hans Fagius, Martin Baker, Nicholas Danby, David Sanger, David Briggs, Wayne Marshall, Hans Geffert, Vincent Dubois and Vincent Warnier.















‘Tu es Petrus’ – A tribute in song to Blessed (Pope) John Paul II




Shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2005, the Choirs of Our Lady & the English Martyrs were honoured to receive an invitation from the international music agents Hazard Chase, to record a CD in his memory.  Recorded in May 2005, the disk was launched at a special concert at OLEM in October 2005 and has sold well over 1000 copies to date.  A special website provides full details of the disc as well as a facility for online purchase.


















The Abbott & Smith Organ

Renovated by Nicholson & Co - 2002



‘The pipe organ us to be held in honour in the Latin Church as the traditional

musical instrument, the sound of which has the power not only to add a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies, but also to lift up men’s minds in a remarkable way to God and things on high.’


Instruction on Music in the Liturgy – Vatican II


'Music is of the highest importance in the celebration of the divine mysteries, and in the Latin Church among the musical instruments the pipe organ always held a place of honour. Whether as an accompaniment for singing or as a solo instrument, this instrument adds splendour to sacred celebrations, offers praise to God, fosters a sense of prayer in the faithful, and raises their spirits to God.'


Introduction to the Blessing of an Organ -  The Book of Blessings, ICEL.

When you walk into OLEM for the first time, you will probably be struck by the building's height, its stone decoration, the ironwork screens, the hanging rood, the gabled ciborium over the high altar. The last thing you might notice, if you walk up to the sanctuary and turn to the south transept, is one of its major treasures, certainly its largest: the Abbott & Smith organ of 1890. There it has lodged up in the gloom of the organ gallery for over a hundred years, a survivor of two world wars, largely unscathed by fashions in organ 'improvements', like some Dreadnought in dry dock.




The newly built, lavishly furnished Church of Our Lady & The English Martyrs was given an organ to match, with its three manuals, pedal organ and 2018 pipes. Abbott & Smith of Leeds were chosen as builders and Charles Villiers Stanford, the then organist of Trinity College drew up its specification and gave its inaugural recital in 1890.


So much, but little more survives of its history on record: gone is any correspondence between the church authorities and the donor, or between either of these and the builders or Stanford; absent is any record in Stanford's own papers; gone is any information as to how its siting in the south transept was decided; gone, even, is any record of what Stanford actually played on the instrument. Gone, to is documentary evidence of modifications claimed to have been done by, for example, Canon Bonavia-Hunt, an Anglican clergyman with a reputation for tinkering, not always harmlessly, with the organs he was allowed access to. The absence of such material in the care of the church authorities is a keen disappointment; did such material exist before the clear-out of records in Canon Stokes' time as Rector?

Many of Abbott & Smith's organ have not escaped radical alteration or replacement, but in 1984, Michael Sayer was able to write : 'An excellent example survives in the Church of Our Lady & The English Martyrs, Cambridge.' (New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, ed.Stanley Sadie) Paul Hale in his consultant's report on the organ (1999) quotes from a letter from Stanford to the builders (5th March 1890) 'The organ seems to me a complete success, and is of beautiful balance and quality. The touch is excellent. I congratulate you firmly on the work.' When the organ was dismantled for renovation in April 2002, torn strips of envelope were found stuck inside the Swell soundbox (to assist the airtight movement of the sliders) with a Leeds address and post-marked '6th February 1890.' The presumption is, therefore, that the organ was moved from the Leeds works and assembled in the church during February 1890 for Stanford to try out


Paul Hale highlights the instruments musical pedigree in his report. Mgr Scott, Rector at the time, wrote to the Northampton Mercury (21st April 1894) praising the virtues of the Schulze organ in Northampton Town Hall which was made for the Great Exhibition, and says how the tone of it resembles that of the organ procured ' for our new Church in Cambridge' in its 'lighter stopsits magnificent diapasons.'






For the first fifty years of the organ's life it was spared alteration. An electric blower, installed in the cellar below the south transept, may have replaced Abbott & Smith's original handpumps (for the pedals) and blowing engines for the manuals. On Shrove Tuesday 1941, however, it suffered fall-out from an incendiary bomb which went through the roof of the adjacent sacristy. While escaping the fire damage, the organ was showered with shattered glass and debris from the windows and stonework around. The first post-war event to



affect the organ, was, of course, the installation of the central heating system, which over the years, has accelerated the splitting of the organ case and

soundboxes. More directly the tracker action was replaced by an electro-pneumatic system, which in turn, needed replacing in 2002.



The £115,000 renovation marked a fresh start of life for the instrument in many ways asd was carried out by Nicholson & Co, following advice from our consultant Paul Hale of Southwell Minster. Firstly, its financing did not rely on the generosity of a sole donor; the major part of the money came from parishioners themselves through donations, gifts and legacies. Secondly the organ was provided with a new console, incorporating a combination system to make the instrument infinitely more manageable and attractive to play. Thirdly a new unenclosed Tuba was added, filling what many believed to be a gap in Stanford's specification (there was space left for such a stop and pipework both on the console and in the organ chamber.) A revelation has been the newly restored brightness of the reeds, which, over the years had become dulled and overshadowed in tone. The casework with its trumpeting angels (so easily overlooked) has been cleaned and freshly waxed.


The newly renovated organ was re-opened during the weekend of 5th/6th October 2002 with a recital given by Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, and a Mass of Dedication featuring the first performance of 'The Cambridge Mass' commissioned for the occasion from Andrew Wright, Master of Music of Brentwood Cathedral. Today the organ fulfils its liturgical role superbly, and is also used regularly for recitals, teaching and recording. Among the international organists who have come to play here over the last few years, are Wayne Marshall, Thomas Trotter, David Sanger, David Titterington, David Briggs, Vincent Warnier, Vincent Dubois, Hans Fagius and Johannus Geffert



Generations of worshippers in Cambridge have reason to thank the generosity of Yolande Lyne-Stephens (OLEM's first benefactress) the expertise of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and subsequent musicians, the craftsmanship of Abbott & Smith, and Nicholason & Co, (who continue to maintain the organ) and the care and vision of those responsible for its continued stewardship.


An edited version of an article by Andrew Johnson, Chair of the OLEM Organ Appeal Committee, and printed in the programme booklet celebrating the renovation of the organ. (2002) Copies of the booklet are obtainable through the Music Department.


Specification of the Abbott & Smith Organ


Great Organ                                                           


Double Diapason  16                                                 

Large Open Diapason  16                                             

Small Diapason  16                                                             

Doppel Flute  8

Principal  4

Harmonic Flute  4

Fifteenth  2

Mixture  15.19.22

Trumpet 8

Clarion  4

Swell to Great

Choir to Great


Swell to Great


Bourdon  16

Open Diapason  8

Lieblich Gedackt   8

Viola da Gamba  8  

Voix Celeste  8

Principal  4

Fifteenth  2

Mixture II  19.22

Double Trumpet  16

Horn  8

Oboe  8

Clarion  4


Super Octave





Choir Organ


Open Diapason  8

Violoncello  8

Clarabella  8

Dulciana  8

Lieblich Flute 4

Piccolo  2

Contra Fagotto (tc)  16

Clarinet  8

*Tuba (2002)  8 (unenclosed)


Pedal Organ


Open Diapason  16

Bourdon  16

Violoncello  8

Trombone  16

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal

Choir to Pedal


8 thumb pistons to Great Organ

8 thumb pistons to Swell Organ

8 thumb pistons to Choir Organ

Reversible thumb pistons to all unison couplers

8 General thumb pistons

96 levels of memory with 16 divisional levels.

Reversable toe pistons

Great to Pedal

Swell to Great

Great & Pedal combinations coupled

General on Swell toe pistons

Setter piston/General Cancel

Tuba blower on/off











Music – Choral & Organ



Choral & Organ Music for Solemn Masses - January to February 2012


Sunday 8th January

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Ecce advenit    Behold the Sovereign Lord is nigh

Kyrie    Mass of St Chad    Saint

Gloria    Celebration Mass    Wright

Offertory    As with gladness men of old

Sanctus    Celebration Mass    Wright

Agnus Dei    Mass of St Chad    Saint

Communion    Vidimus

Motet    Bethlehem Down   Warlock

Hymn    Brightest and best

Organ    Fiat Lux    Dubois


6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Ecce advenit

Mass    Missa O Magnum Mysterium    Victoria

Gradual    Omnes

Alleluia    Vidimus

Credo    III

Offertory    Vidimus Stellam    Byrd

Sanctus    Mass VIII

Communion    Vidimus

Organ    Fuga sopra ‘Vom Himmel Hoch’ BWV 701   Bach








Sunday 15th January

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit     Omnis terra ‘Let all the earth praise you O Lord’

Mass    St Anne’s Mass    MacMillan

Offertory    Just as I am

Communion    Dicit Andreas

Motet    Tantum Ergo    de Sévérec

Hymn    Christ for the world we sing

Organ    Praeludium in D, BuxWV 139    Buxtehude 


6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Omnis terra

Mass    Missa Puer qui natus est nobis    Guerrero

Gradual    Misit Dominus

Alleluia    Laudate

Credo    III

Offertory    Cantate Domino    Hassler

Sanctus    Mass XII

Communion    Dicit Andreas

Organ   Passacaglia BuxWV 161    Buxtehude


Sunday 22nd January

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Dominus  ‘ The Lord observed two fisherman’

Kyrie    Mass of St Thomas More    Barber

Gloria    Celebration Mass   Wright

Offertory    O Jesus I have promised

Sanctus    Celebration Mass    Wright

Agnus Dei    Mass VIII

Communion    Venite post me

Motet    Come down O Love Divine   Harris

Hymn    Forth in thy name O Lord I go

Organ    Grand Choeur ‘Benedicamus Domino’   Weitz






6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Dominus

Kyrie     XI

Gloria    Mass for Four Voices    Tallis

Gradual    Timebunt gentes

Alleluia    Dominus

Credo   III

Offertory    Vivo ego dicit Dominus    Lobo

Sanctus    Mass XI

Agnus Dei    Mass for Four Voices    Tallis

Communion    Venite post me

Organ    Fantasia     Gibbons


Sunday 29th January

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Laeteur  cor ‘Let searching hearts rejoice in God’

Mass    New Missal Tones

Offertory    King of glory, King of peace

Agnus Dei    Mass in D    How

Communuion    Illumina

Motet    O Sacrum Convivium     Croce

Hymn    Jesu thou joy of loving hearts

Organ    Prelude & Fugue in C, BWV 545      Bach


6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Laeteur cor

Mass    Missa O Magnum Mysterium    Palestrina

Gradual    Quis sicut Dominus

Alleluia    Adorabo

Credo    III

Offertory    Alma Redemptoris Mater     Lassus

Sanctus    Mass XII

Communion    Illumina

Organ    Toccata ‘Suite Gothique’    Boëllmann











Thursday 2nd February

The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord


7.30pm Sung Mass & Candlemas Ceremonies

(Organ & Cantor)


Organ    Mit Fried’ und Freud’ ich fahr’ dahin    Bach

Introit    Suscepimus Deus ‘Within your temple mighty Lord’

Procession    Lumen ad revelationem    Plainsong

Gloria    Mass XV                           

Sanctus    Mass VIII

Agnus Dei     Mass VIII

Communion    Responsum

During Communion    Nunc Dimittis    Burgon

Organ    Lumen ad revelationem   VI Op 48    Dupré



Sunday 5th February

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Venite ‘Bow down before the Lord’

Kyrie    Mass of St Chad     Saint

Gloria    Celebration Mass     Wright

Offertory    Spirit of light and love

Sanctus    Celebration Mass    Wright

Agnus Dei    Mass of St Chad     Saint

Communion    Multitudo

Motet    Listen Sweet Dove    Ives 

Hymn    Firmly I believe and truly   

Organ    Paean    Leighton













6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Venite

Mass    Missa Entre vous filles     Lassus

Gradual    Tollite

Alleluia    Laudate Dominum

Credo    III

Offertory    Ad Dominum cum tribularer     Hassler

Sanctus    XII

Communion   Multitudo

Organ    Paraphrase ‘Ave Regina Caelorum’    Weitz


Sunday 12th February

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Esto mihi ‘Be my protecting, saving God’

Kyrie    Saint Anne’s Mass    MacMillan

Gloria    Mass XV

Offertory    How shall I sing that majesty descant Naylor/Deverson

Sanctus    Saint Anne’s Mass    MacMillan

Agnus Dei    Missa Festiva    Jordan

Communion    Manducaverunt

During Communion    Jesus Christ the Apple Tree    Mawby

Hymn    Be thou my vision

Organ    Fanfare    Whitlock


6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Esto mihi

Mass    Mass for Three Voices    Byrd

Gradual    Tues

Alleluia    Cantate Domino

Offertory    Non nobis Domine    Anon.

Sanctus    Mass XI

Communion    Manducaverunt

Organ    Chorale ‘O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort’    Krebs








Sunday 19th February

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


10.45am Solemn Mass


Introit    Domine ‘In your most steadfast love’

Kyrie    Missa Festiva    Jordan

Gloria    Celebration Mass    Wright

Offertory    Thine arm O Lord is days of old

Sanctus    St Anne’s Mass    MacMillan

Agnus Dei    Missa Festiva    Jordan

Communion    Narrabo

During Communion    Tantum Ergo    Laloux

Hymn     Christ is the world’s true light

Organ    Dankpsalm    Reger



6.15pm Solemn Mass (Latin)


Introit    Domine

Mass    Missa super dixit Maria    Hassler

Gradual    Ego

Alleluia    Verba

Credo    III

Offertory    Exaudi Domine    Palestrina

Sanctus    XII

Communion    Narrabo

Organ    Carillon du Longpont    Vierne









Music Staff



Organist and Director of Music

Nigel Kerry


Music Office

Catholic Rectory

Hills Road



Tel (direct) +44 01223 224854

Fax: +44 01223 224860



Assistant Director of Music

James Devor


Director of the Latin Schola

Christopher Hodkinson


Organ Scholar

Joanna Verlake


Assistant Organists

Jeremy Wong

Brian Watkins

Christian Rutherford


Director of the ‘Five Alive’ Music Group

Joe Caprani














Parish Clergy & Office


Monsignor Peter Leeming – Rector & Parish Priest

Father Dick Healey – Priest Administrator

Father Benedict Jonak OP

Father Rafael Esteban

Father Rex Vegby

Father Christopher Back


Reverend Andrew Neate – Deacon

Reverend Robert Joyce – Deacon




The Parish Office

Catholic Rectory

Hills Road




Tel: +44 01223 350787

Fax: +44 01223 224860




The Parish Office

Catholic Rectory

Hills Road




Tel: +44 01223 350787

Fax: +44 01223 224860