Since the church purchased the piano in the 1990s it has hosted occasional concerts. As a local resident who had performed there, Rachel Fryer decided to work with the church and began a regular series in 2007. The first concert was attended by just 1 person plus 2 on the door and refreshments! There was no heating so concerts only took place in the summer months. A committee was formed in 2011 and heating was installed in 2012, meaning concerts could go on throughout the year. In the same year, Music & Wine at St Luke’s was the recipient of the council’s annual Hedgecock Bequest fund, enabling it to host workshops in local schools and to bring in larger ensembles for that year.
In 2016 we decided that work was needed on our beautiful Steinway. The strings needed replacing, there were cracks in the soundboard and the action needed work. We decided to engage Clive Ackroyd, a Steinway specialist to do the work and we needed to raise £10,000.
We had collection buckets at every concert from April 2016 and organised two large fundraisers. The first engaged young pianists from the Brighton & Hove area in the afternoon to give a concert and local professional pianists in the evening. The second was an epic 21-hour performance of Eric Satie’s Vexations, involving 36 pianists.
The aim of the series is to bring live music, primarily classical, to the local and wider community, making it as accessible as possible and providing a friendly atmosphere.