by Greta Yeoman
The sound of music is set to ring out from St Mary’s Anglican Church again.
The historic Church St building, which has been closed for earthquake-strengthening work since January, would reopen in time for the annual Battle of Britain commemorative service this Sunday, musical director Lucy Dillon said.
This would be followed by the first musical event in the renovated church, another lunchtime concert, on Friday next week at 12.30pm.
When The Courier spoke to Mrs Dillon on Monday, workers were still reinstalling the 200 pipes of St Mary’s church organ, which had been removed for safety during the renovation work.
However, the church staff were confident they would meet their Sunday morning deadline, she said.
The strengthening work followed previous closures of the church due to safety concerns following the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.
The church was damaged during the earthquake and the spire had to be removed, so the congregation moved to worshipping at the Craighead Diocesan School chapel until the church reopened in 2015.
However, the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch then decided to undertake strengthening work on the more than 100-year-old building.
This was to make sure it met building code standards that had been upgraded since the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
Mrs Dillon was looking forward to the lunchtime concert on September 21, which would be the first held in the church this year.
“It’ll be so lovely; it’s got amazing acoustics.”
Schools set to perform at the event were also looking forward to playing there, after several of the concerts had been held in the neighbouring hall, she said.
“It’s got a great atmosphere.”
Mrs Dillon would perform a few pieces on her violin, alongside several school-aged soloists, the Gleniti School Choir and St Mary’s minister John Shoaf, who would perform a trumpet solo.
“There’ll be a bit of variety this time.”
September’s lunchtime concert is the second of four monthly concerts.
The remaining two, in October and November, will be held on the third Friday of each month, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.