News: Hugh Dennis, Mel Giedroyc and Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir announced for Keep Our Doors Open concert for St Martin-in-the-Fields

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, more than 10 million people have enjoyed the music that continues to be produced from St Martin-in-the-Fields from the safety of their own homes. Now, they are holding a one-off digital concert with performers who know and love the space. These artists are coming together to raise money to keep St Martin-in-the-Fields’ doors open, to support their work with homeless and vulnerable people in London and across the UK, and to help sustain their work with talented young musicians.

Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Revd Dr Sam Wells will begin the evening’s festivities. During the concert, award-winning journalist and BBC broadcaster, Julian Worricker will speak with comedian Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered, BBC; Mock The Week, BBC), Miko Giedroyc (Founder, Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir), Clarence Hunt (Choir Director, Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir) and presenter and personality, Mel Giedroyc (Mel and Sue, ITV; Great British Bake Off, BBC). He will also speak to St Martin-in-the-Fields’ Choral Conducting Fellow, Gabriella Noble. BBC newsreader and children’s author Zeb Soanes (Gaspard the Fox, Graffeg) will introduce the pieces, including poetry readings from comedian Arthur Smith (The Comedy Club, BBC Radio 4; Are You Being Served, BBC) and a performance from slam poet Harry Baker (Winner, World Slam Poetry Competition, 2012).

There will be soaring performances from St Martin’s Voices, their professional choral ensemble, and the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. Warren Mailley-Smith, the last person to perform at St Martin-in-the-Fields before lockdown, will share Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on the piano, and there will be an astonishing performance by soprano Katharine Dain. The St Martin-in-the-Fields choral scholars will present En la Macarenita, arranged by Bob Chilcott, and there will also be a performance by The Amanzi Quartet (2018 SMITF Chamber Music Competition Audience Prize Winners).

Music has always played a central role in the life of St Martin-in-the-Fields – a building designed almost 300 years ago with choral music in mind. Londoners know it as a venue for high calibre classical music, training young musicians through the Voices and Choral Scholarship programmes. Last year, over 400 concerts played here, many of them for free. Sunday’s digital concert will shine a light on amazing artists with support from some of the people who love St Martin-in-the-Fields, all so that they can raise precious funds to keep the doors open.

Welcoming over a million visitors in recent years to their concerts, events, shop and café has been a vital source of income for this London icon. Standing empty will be devastating. To make up this shortfall, St Martin-in-the-Fields launched an emergency appeal: ‘Keep Our Doors Open’.

Every donation to the appeal supports the work of St Martin’s during this national crisis with the money split between the Church, St Martin-in-the-Fields charity and The Connection. It will help them provide emergency shelter for rough sleepers in London, equip frontline workers with the tools they need to keep in touch with the most vulnerable and isolated and help to support a new generation of classical musicians. Every gift will ensure that this place of sanctuary and hope for so many will be able to continue its work.

For one hundred years, St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square has been known as ‘The Church of the Open Door’; with their doors locked by Government mandate, they’re finding new ways to provide support and provide sanctuary to those who need it most.

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