7 December 2022

Classical musicians locked in for church’s 2023 offerings

The Flinders Quartet perform at St John’s Flinders. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

15 November 2022

A Mornington Peninsula parish’s musical program is set to continue, attracting popular classical performers again in 2023.

The Anglican Parish of Flinders with Balnarring’s recitals feature established musicians and are held monthly at St John’s Flinders.

Recitals coordinator John Barren said there were 10 performances in 2022 and 10 more were locked in for next year.

This year’s line-up included classical guitarist Clancy McLeod, and the Peninsula Chamber Musicians, with the latter also set to be included among next year’s performers along with the St Paul’s Cathedral choristers.

A former Australian Ballet School administrator, Mr Barren said he’d decided to organise the recital programs after retiring.

Read more: Churches take note: Australians like nature, music spirituality

He said they started in 2005 with a performance by acclaimed musician Geoffrey Tozer on the church’s grand piano, and evolved from there.

Among the many highlights since then, was a chamber version performance of Handel’s Messiah by a group from the Basilica of St Quirinus in Neuss, Germany.

“There were eight solo singers and 12 instrumentalists, and in our small church, it was power charged,” Mr Barren said.

He said finely tuned acoustics inside St John’s were partially why musicians, including Slava Grigorian, enjoyed playing in the space.

Mr Barren said the local community was supportive of the church’s offerings, and non-churchgoers and parishioners alike were regular music patrons.

St John’s vicar the Reverend Keiron Jones said people attending the performances frequently included visitors from all over Melbourne and beyond.

The final recital for the year at St John’s is a special performance by the Inventi Ensemble and opera singer Leanne Keegan when Archbishop Philip Freier dedicates the church’s new stained-glass windows on 4 December.

The church will kick off the music celebrations early in the new year when it hosts the Inventi Ensemble in its gardens on 1 January as part of the Mornington Peninsula Summer Music Festival.

To find out more go to apfb.org.au.

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