I have had a wonderful first year as Director of Music at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square. As well as directing the excellent professional quartet and four choral scholars for Sunday morning mass and feast days, the church and I have worked to increase the community music-making in this vast and beautiful space in the heart of Chelsea:
- In September 2022 we created Holy Trinity Evensong choir – giving experienced evensong singers of all ages, some lapsed, the opportunity to sing the best of the Anglican choral tradition for c.5 evensongs per term, directed by me and others .
- In January 2023 we set up “Songs and Soup”, a free and open-to-all Tuesday lunchtime choir, aimed at retired folk and local people. The group has grown quickly and now consists of about 50 singers from all over London, who come to enjoy a varied selection of songs – hymns, folk, gospel, pop, musicals at 1pm on Tuesdays, for 45 minutes, before they are given a free mug of soup and bread. People are welcome and sing regularly, or just as a one-off.
- We have set up the Sloane Square Choir Cafe, aimed at introducing choral music to a new audience, through short offerings of a particular genre of choral music, with clear introduction to the music, as well as an audience-participation element, and an emphasis on refreshments. So far we have done “Bach and Pancakes” (on Shrove Tuesday) and a “Greek Idyll”.
- We put on a community performance of Bach’s St John Passion on Palm Sunday, 2nd April, involving our professional choir, choral scholars, evensong choir, and a “chorale choir” formed from our congregation and “Songs and Soup”, and with the renowned tenor James Gilchrist as Evangelist.
- I created Chelsea Early Summer Music Festival (www.chelseasummermusic.com) coinciding with the Chelsea Flower Show – a four-day festival with nine events, including chamber, song and organ recitals, a large-scale performance of Haydn’s Creation and a Sound of Music Singalong.