Music has always been at the heart of St Bartholomew the Great, with hundreds of years of plainchant and the evolving language of church music soaked into its fabric. Whether it be a great occasion attended by many, or daily rehearsals, the musical programme enriches the liturgy and broadens our outreach activities. Over the past century, especially, St Bart’s has attracted a series of exceptional Directors to lead and develop its musical activities. Our services are suffused with high quality music and throughout the year, we host concerts and recitals, either presented by the church or by external partners using our facilities.
Celebrating a rich and living tradition of music
An endowment to elevate hearts and minds
For many people, music has a unique ability to express the spiritual and emotional aspects of life. In church, it often provides a context in which people encounter God and themselves. In essence it has the power to elevate, comfort and inspire us.
Creating this experience demands skilled, professional performers. The cost of engaging these is rightly significant which represents a constant challenge for the church, competing as the music costs do with the maintenance of an ancient building.
Our building is a form of endowment from history: a stunning structure with an extraordinary atmosphere to which people are drawn. In the same way, our Music Endowment Fund is a gift to the future, ensuring that we can continue to respond to social change and strengthen the role of music within the church.
The Endowment Fund will enable us to realise a broad range of ambitions, including:
• The introduction of more weekday musical, liturgical and cultural events that also give our own choir a platform to undertake new projects that are relevant to the liturgical season, and showcase the talents of individuals or smaller ensembles.
• Capitalising on our unique place within the City of London’s ‘Cultural Mile’, in terms of our architecture and capacity for contextualising music within the sacred. The Endowment Fund gives us greater resources to offer this unique experience and go beyond what’s possible in a more sterile concert hall. In addition, it gives us scope to stage a variety of innovative, richly textured performances including music with meditation, placing music around historic sermons and combining choral work with striking visual presentations.
• Opening our doors to more guest artists, including Artists-in-Residence, and encourage closer partnerships with neighbouring choirs, orchestras and prestigious local schools of music and drama. Through collaboration and additional funding, we also have the opportunity to reinvigorate our own events programme and enhance our educational outreach.
• The introduction of a programme of free, short concerts of choral classics and readings, similar to the popular series run by St Martin-in-the-Field. These events would bring the uplifting, sacred and secular music to a wider audience, especially those who may be receiving mental health support at the hospital or as part of the parish’s new Mental Health Hub.
• A greater focus on welcoming families and young people, with a new programme of musical and liturgical activities hosted on Sunday afternoons. With greater resources, we have an opportunity to invite a more diverse community to attend Eucharist, have lunch nearby and return for a musical/liturgical event in the afternoon.
Our Anniversary investments in fabric and music are complementary. Together, they guarantee future income and showcase the church as a more attractive, more commercially viable venue for premieres and recitals, choral and orchestral recordings, book launches, lectures, and much more.
Find out more
To support the Music Endowment Fund, you can make a gift, or you might like to consider being involved in our Endow a Day of Music programme, which offers you the opportunity to make a lasting difference to the rich heritage of musical excellence at St Bart's.