It's business as usual as concerts return to Peterborough city centre church

If you have walked through Cathedral Square in the last month you can hardly have failed to notice the giant scaffolding covering much of St John's Church.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 8:08 am
Updated Monday, 27th March 2017, 1:18 pm
The Facade Ensemble performance at Cadogan Hall RV3alip_NyTFSif1NVTy

But, despite the roof repairs going on outside, inside life continues as normal, and in the run up to Easter there will be no fewer than seven concerts taking place in the church, with the popular 45 minute “Tuesdays Till Two” lunchtime concerts returning this week, when Stamford based harpist Eleanor Turner performed.

This week - March 28 - St John’s hosts multiple prizewinning Swedish guitarist Jonatan Bougt, then on April 4 local boy Steve Bean will be paying a return visit to St John’s after his superb début appearance there last summer.

The café will be open for an hour before each lunchtime concert, staffed by volunteers raising funds for The Green Backyard.

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Also on April 4, at 7pm, The King’s School will be holding its Spring Concert. The programme includes J S Bach’s 4th Brandenburg Concerto, Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

At 10.30am on April 6 , Piccolo, the monthly concert for pre-school children, continues the emphasis on strings, when violinist Roger Stimson plays a programme of “Music with Hats!”.

But, the highlight of the season comes the following evening, 7.30pm on April 7, with a visit from The Facade Ensemble, a group of talented young professionals specialising in 20th Century chamber music, for a performance of Arvo Pärt’s profoundly beautiful “Passio”, a 75 minute setting of the St John Passion that calls for the services of sixteen musicians and singers.

St John’s is one of four venues around the country where “Passio” will be performed, with Ely Cathedral five days later being the final stop on the tour.

Finally, at 6.30pm on Palm Sunday, April 9, local singers will be gathering with fingers crossed for the annual performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion.

Last year’s performance had to be cancelled at the last minute when the organ at St John’s narrowly escaped going up in flames when a motor overheated.

Currently, work to restore the organ is still ongoing, but it is due to be completed in time for the performance.

After a break over Easter, lunchtime concerts will resume on April 25 with a recital by pianist Jill Crossland, and will take place weekly until June 13.

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