The free lunch-hour concert series at St Chad’s Church is one of the biggest in the country, and it restarts on February 3rd, 2023 - here is a taste of what we can expect, with some super high quality music coming to Shrewsbury. Pictured: Packwood School at Chester Cathedral, soprano Yunqing Jiang of the Birmingham Royal Conservatoire and harpist Gina Taylor.
The new Friday lunch-hour concert series at St Chad's Church will see nearly 50 concerts running weekly right through to December in 2023. It's one of the largest and best organised concert series in the country and attracts excellent performers from across the UK.
For 2023, these will include the choir of the University Church of Cambridge, cellist Ulrich Heinen, the former, long-serving CBSO principal cellist and another cellist Corinne Frost, who is co-principal cello in the ESO and an active soloist and ensemble player. Fabulous organ recitals will be given by some of the best organists in the land - Peter King (Organist Emeritus at Bath Abbey) and Samuel Hudson, director of music and organist at Worcester Cathedral and Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.
The only Friday next year without a concert will be Good Friday (April 7th)! The concerts always begin at 12.30pm and last just 40 minutes and there is a light lunch served after each concert in the church hall. Concert-goers can park from noon to 2pm free of charge at the church, space permitting.
Concert Director Richard Walker said: “Our audience numbers have picked up after Covid, and many regard Friday at St Chad’s as the most enjoyable part of their week. Both the organ and the piano at St Chad’s are among the best church instruments for miles around, and excellent performers are constantly asking us to give them a platform. Where else can you find such a free concert series with no tickets required and lunch on site afterwards? Audiences come from all over the West Midlands to enjoy high quality music-making by performers of all ages.
"A few highlights: for the first time, the choir of the University Church of Cambridge - Great St Mary’s - will perform on February 17th. There's a programme for flute quartet played by four our excellent local professionals on April 21st and another harp recital by the rising star Gina Taylor on July 21st. Cello recitals will be given by two great soloists: Corinne Frost (June 30th) and Ulrich Heinen (September 29th). Plus there are vocal, piano, violin and many other recitals as well, together with several chamber music concerts.
"Concerts by students from Chetham’s School of Music are on March 24th, May 12th, October 6th and December 1st. The willingness of musicians from one of the world’s leading musical training schools to play in Shrewsbury should be a source of great pride to everyone in the area. Other schools contributing to the series include The Old Hall, Wellington, (February 10th), Packwood Haugh (March 17th) and Shrewsbury School (September 15th). Student performers from the Birmingham Royal Conservatoire, begin with soprano Yunqing Jiang on March 31st.
"Organ recitals again form a significant part of the year’s entertainment; amongst other excellent players we welcome Carleton Etherington from Tewkesbury Abbey for the first concert of the year on February 3rd, Jonathan Hope (Gloucester Cathedral - June 16th), Peter King (Organist Emeritus at Bath Abbey - September 22nd) and Samuel Hudson (Worcester Cathedral - November 17th) together with recitals from Anthony Pinel and Richard Walker from the home team at St Chad’s."
Full listings, including programmes of forthcoming concerts, can be found on the church website: www.stchadschurchshrewsbury.com , where details of all the other musical activities at St Chad’s, including regular choral services and other concerts, are posted.