24-hour Messiah concert raises £10,000 for repair fund

Labrador Events, in partnership with the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), raised almost £10,000 with a 24-hour livestreamed concert of 'Messiah' for the repair fund of St. George's Church.

From 3:00pm on 7 September to 3:00pm on 8 September, a 24-hour 'drop-in' concert of the 'And the Glory of the Lord' song from Handel's 'Messiah' oratorio was held at St. George’s Church in Hanover Square, London. The singers worked their way through all the choruses until the end, then repeated the process until they finished 24 hours later.

It was no mistake that Handel's magnum opus was used for this performance, as Handel was a regular visitor of St. George's Church during his time living just around the corner at Brook Street - the church even hosts the annual London Handel Festival now. Unfortunately, a recent collapse of the church's portico rendered it in badly need of repairs, to a total of £400,000.

In collaboration with RSCM, Labrador Events put together the event, with any singer or instrumentalist being invited to join in on a 'drop-in' basis, anytime during the 24 hours. A number of eminent conductors helped with the performance by rotating in 60-minute conducting slots - including Ben England, Jennifer Johnston, Hugh Morris, Simon Over, Jamie Hall, Matthew Watts, Richard Gowers, Ralph Allwood, John Rutter and Making Music's very own trustee, Dr Edward-Rhys Harry.

In his own words:

'It was a joy to take part as one of the conductors of the 24-hour Messiah-athon. Given that there was an open invite for singers, when it was my 'shift' (Friday evening 10pm to midnight) I approached the podium with a degree of trepidation, but I needn't have been concerned. The singers were in brilliant form and rose to the occasion magnificently in what was a really special and bonding experience together, singing through all of the choruses nearly twice over. It was very moving and very tiring but amazing to lead - along with the brilliant accompaniment of Richard Gowers at the organ. I was delighted to be asked to take part.' - Dr Edward-Rhys Harry

The event was also livestreamed for free on the RSCM's YouTube channel for those who were unable to make it in person.

The event fundraised money from the hourly attendance fee, donations via their Give A Little webpage and 25% of book sales of the RSCM publication 'Messiah! Hope and Salvation; the meaning of Handel's masterpiece' by Stephen Thornton. Almost £10,000 were raised in total, making the event a great success, so much so that there will be a second 24-hour fundraiser on 25 April 2024. Confirmed conductors (so far) are Ben England, John Rutter, Ralph Allwood and Roger Durston.

It promises to be another spectacular performance!

Donate to the Portico Fund on Give a Little.

Register for the second 'Messiah 24-hour Drop-In' on 25 April 2024 on Labrador Events.

Find out more about Royal School of Church Music on their website and follow them on Facebook / YouTube / Instagram.