Church hosts Banbury’s inaugural Early Music Day celebrating Baroque masterpieces


It’ll be a day filled with enchanting Baroque music performances, competitions, and taster sessions

St Mary’s Church is hosting Banbury’s first ever Early Music Day tomorrow (Saturday).

The day is being held at the church, starting at 10am and is all based around music from the Baroque era – the period from the 1600’s to the 1750’s.

World renowned composers like Handel, Bach, and Vivaldi are all from this time.

The event is organised by Dylan McCaig who is the director of music at St Mary’s Church and a teacher of music at The Warriner school in Bloxham.   He began his role as director in March of this year.

Mr McCaig said: “I really saw the day as an opportunity to create wider awareness of baroque music, which needs a lot more interest.”

The day incorporates performances by two professional ensembles, Ensemble La Notte and Musica d’Outrora.   Ensemble La Notte are currently touring around the UK and have achieved remarkable success in both the concert and competitive arenas.   

Musica d’Outrora are an ensemble of three individuals from diverse backgrounds, who specialise in playing solo and chamber music from the baroque era. They’re putting on a programme in the evening titled ‘Across the Alps’.

The day also includes a competition for under 18’s, who will be challenged to perform a piece of baroque music.

Mr McCaig said: “We’re looking for pupils who are studying their instruments. If they’re doing the ABRSM, an A piece would be very suitable for this.

“It doesn’t matter the ability, it’s just an opportunity for under 18’s to perform. It’s a lot more about the piece of music rather than the standard.” 

The day also includes a ‘come and sing’ session for experienced singers with a passion for Baroque music and motets, and a ‘come and dance’ session, accompanied by live baroque music.

Mr McCaig wanted to utilise the organ at the church during the day, having hosted Banbury Organ Day two weeks ago.

The director and teacher, 25, grew up in Liverpool, where he was a chorister in the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Choir.   He decided to stop singing and move to Birmingham to pursue instrumental music, playing the piano and the organ.   He attended the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire music school, specialising in the organ.

Mr McCaig got his inspiration for the Early Music Day from venues around the city such as Birmingham Symphony Hall – a world renowned location for orchestral performances and home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

“You have these amazing venues where you can literally walk out of your door and listen to classical music in concert”, he said.

“I wanted to do the same for Banbury. I wanted to give those opportunities for local people to go out and listen to classical music.”

His love for Baroque music started when he joined St Chad’s cathedral as an organ scholar. Using a rare piece of music from the time, he conducted a choir and orchestra to perform the composition just before the covid pandemic.

“The concert I conducted was the point for me where I knew I wanted to keep going with this, no matter where it took me.”

Tickets for all or specific parts of the day can be booked here.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track