Once a week at St Peter’s Church, something else replaces the peal of bells and the singing of hymns. Every Thursday, musicians from Oundle School migrate from the music department to St Peter’s to perform in intimate recitals open to the public from 12.45pm.
The series is called ‘Lunchtime Concerts’, and no one has to skip lunch to attend the concerts. Homemade soup and bread rolls are served before the start, sourced from Rachael Kelley of the Little Soup Kitchen, who runs a popular take-away van in the Thursday market.
Having attended these concerts myself, I cannot emphasise more strongly the benefits of listening to classical music for forty-five minutes. And what better way to de-stress after a midweek morning. Instead of tuning into the top of the charts, why not immerse yourself in the works Beethoven or Mozart, who have well surpassed the three weeks of fame that most contemporary artists enjoy.
When I attended the most recent concert after a weary morning in lessons, the automatic doors whirred open and I was immediately greeted by the warmth of the church, infused with the enriching smell of soup.
Naturally the aroma soon lured me to the lunch counter, and for £3.50 I was soon tucking into a bowl of steaming soup accompanied by a homemade seedy bun.
Being musically inept to the point of tone deaf, even the tuning of instruments and warming-up of the musicians impressed me. However, what is clearly evident to all the attendees is the quality of the musicianship on display.
It is perhaps the diversity and depth of the musicianship that is most striking. The season’s programme brings a variety of different musical disciplines from brass, percussion and bass guitar to violin and vocals, and each weekly concert features repertoire on a different instrument.
Many performances feature material prepared for diploma examination, which is a professional-standard qualification.
According to Linda Collins from Thrapston: ‘The professionalism displayed by the musicians was exceptional, as was the quality of the music’.
With the winter months closing in, what better than soup and music amongst like-minded individuals?
By Harry Curtis