Big Band Jazz 29 January

Welcome to 2022!

We are kicking off our concert series in 2022 with a blockbuster performance by the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra and the Imperial College Big Band

OUJO played our last Jazz at St Giles’ gig of series 8 at St Giles’ Church with the University of Durham Big Band before the pandemic lockdown in January 2020 and for everyone who came, it was the most memorable night imaginable. Now they are back by special request – ours and theirs!

Profits will be allocated to our Project 900 fundraising appeal. Every little helps!

N.B. Because the COVID regulations have been relaxed, we will not be able to guarantee any Social Distancing at this concert.

Nicholas Prozzillo celebrates 10 years as St Giles’ Choir Director

The cheque is presented

Earlier this month, the singers, friends and supporters of St Giles’ choirs  interrupted their Friday evening’s rehearsal to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our Choir Director‘s joining St Giles’ and beginning his transformational work. In addition to some personalized tokens of our esteem (not least a psalm composed in his honour), Dr Prozzillo’s well-wishers raised £1,525 to sponsor an organ pipe in honour of this momentous milestone.

The choir sings a specially worded psalm

As befits Nicholas’ musical tastes, the church’s organist, Andrew Patterson, purchased five pipes with this money: a G, representing our Patron Saint Giles; and then B♭, A, C and B♮, which, in German musical notation, spells out ‘BACH’. A fitting tribute – we look forward to seeing and hearing what the next ten years will bring!

Bachstreet Boys concert is cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Bach Street Boys concert on 19 December at 12:00 noon has had to be cancelled. One of the performers has had to self isolate.

We apologies for any inconvenience. The Bach Street Boys will return to St Giles’ in 2022 and we will be in touch when a new date has been agreed. We hope you will be able to join us.

A refund is available to those who have already bought a ticket. Unclaimed ticket money will be put towards the St Giles Organ fund.

Goldberg Variations in aid of Project 900

Oxford pianist Benjamin Grønlie played Bach’s Goldberg Variations on 5 December 2021. The concert can be viewed online (see YouTube panels below).

J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a musical composition for keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, it is named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may also have been the first performer of the work.

Benji Grønlie is Junior Organ Scholar at St Giles’ Church, Oxford, where he was also a chorister. A committed church musician, Benji also holds an organ scholarship from the Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars’ Trust. He studies the organ at the St Giles’ Academy with Nicholas Prozzillo, voice with Jeff Stewart, and piano and composition at the Junior Royal Academy with Graham Caskie and Matthew Taylor. He passed his Grade 8 piano and organ with distinction and is now preparing for his ARCO examination. He has won a number of prizes including Oxfordshire Young Musician of the Year in 2020, and the New Directions Composition Competition at Robinson College Cambridge in 2021. 

Proceeds from this concert have been given to the St Giles’ Organ Fund.

Preview
Watch the recital here

St Giles Choristers learn Latin in Lockdown

During the ‘Lockdown’ period, St Giles’ Choristers learned Latin with the help of a member of the choir who teaches the language in the Classics Department at Oxford University.

After the classes were finished, the choristers duly thanked the department -in Latin naturally!

Tea and music meeting a great success – significant funds were raised!

The session on October 2nd was a great success and funds were raised during the meeting. We heard how we need to raise money to buy a new organ, as the present one is no longer reliable and is beyond economic repair. Some of its faults were demonstrated dramatically by Nicholas Prozzillo.

Our new organ will make a significant contribution to the music at St Giles, allowing us to support our young musicians and offer a city-wide resource for concerts and aspiring musicians.

The ‘Sponsor a Pipe’ website is fully open for business!

We are asking you to sponsor an organ pipe which cost between £25 and £5000 each.  Pipes can be purchased in memory of a person or to commemorate special events, which will be recorded for posterity.
 
Can you help?

‘Jazz at St Giles’ supports Project 900

Our first ‘Jazz at St Giles’ concert took place on Saturday 18th September and a portion of the profits will be donated to Project 900.

As a supporter of the St Giles’ Project 900 campaign, we can offer you a discounted ticket for our concerts and we will email our mailing list with details in due course. (https://forms.gle/DRiLwxMHfMZZyqS96)

You will find all the events planned including our jazz concerts at https://sg900.org/activities/

St Giles’ PCC endorses Project 900 targets

A summary of PCC decisions relating to Project 900

At an extraordinary meeting of St Giles’ PCC on 1st September 2021, key decisions were taken to define the targets and strategy of Project 900.  Full minutes of the PCC meeting will be available as soon as they are approved by PCC.

Broadly, the following items were considered in the meeting:

  • Take account of current state of fundraising progress.
  • Provide costs and priorities for the fundraising objectives of the project; 
  • Define alternative scenarios if the fundraising falls short of the targets 
  • Finalise an end date for the P900 campaign.

Current progress / Targets

It was agreed that the goal for the new organ should be £550,000

A target of £95,000 was set for building work.

The total fundraising target was set at £645,000, of which around £357,000 has already been pledged/paid.

Scaled-back building proposal

The PCC voted for the second two options presented by Christian Randall of Conservation Architects, costs of which break down as follows:

  • New kitchen, toilet and associated works: c. £41,500.
  • Redecoration of church: c. £30,000.
  • Vault restoration: c. £15,000.
  • Total: c. £86,500.

With c. £42,000 already raised for building work, it is hoped that the vast majority of the other building costs will be raised via grants and applications to trusts. The Project 900 Steering Committee would be able to focus their fundraising efforts on the new organ (an approach that proved successful when raising money for the roof). 

The PCC-approved plans will be on display next Sunday morning 26th Sept.

Project 900 Bank Account

A new account has been opened, overseen by Nicholas Prozzillo as P900 Treasurer. Funds already donated will soon be transferred to this account.

Alternative scenarios in case of fundraising shortfall.

With c. £340,000 in the bank already, it should be eminently possible to fall back on the £420,000 ‘Plan C’ organ outlined in previous meetings. In the almost unthinkable event of this being beyond our capabilities, the sum in the bank could pay for an organ of lower quality. The organ fundraising target is to be reviewed after Easter 2022 in light of fundraising progress by that date.  

Time span and closure date for the P900 campaign. 

  • Project 900 campaign will be relaunched on Saturday 2nd October 2021;
  • The calendar year 2022 sees the most intense period of fundraising activities;
  • Public fundraising activities will end at APCM 2023.
  • Project 900 will remain open to receiving donations until March 2024.

Project management of building work. 

Christian Randall will be project manager, reporting to Buildings Committee (chair: Paul Rutterford); since much of the proposed building work has been specified in the last Quinquennial, Buildings Committee will be consulted at every stage in the process, as they are responsible for the fabric of our building. Daniel Walters and Nicholas Prozzillo will join Buildings Committee.

These exciting plans will transform the facilities available for worship, musical performance and education, and wider church activities. But we cannot hope to realise these aspirations without the active and financial support of the St Giles’ community and its friends elsewhere. We need you to join us in the intensive effort that is now underway to make this vision come If you think you can help in any way, please speak to one of us, or email sg900@st-giles-church.org

Joanne Russell, Paul Rutterford, churchwardens