Over 70 concerts planned for 2013
Elizabeth Braggins – ‘Up Close’ Sunday May 26, 3 pm. (more)
Musical Mentors every Friday 1.10- 1.50 begins Feb 22 (more)
Afternoon Delights last Thursday of every month 1.45-2.30 begins Feb 28
Contact: Bronwyn Bijl, Ph 3557170 or email email@example.com
Who are we?
The Music Centre of Christchurch was founded in 1993 as a charitable trust “to foster, promote, facilitate and encourage the interest of music, art, culture, education and other charitable services for the benefit of the public”.
It was established by a group of skilled enthusiasts to assist in the preservation of heritage buildings adjacent to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament – initially the chapel, convent and portery of the sisters of Our Lady of the Missions at 140 Barbadoes St, latterly the Sacred Heart Girls’ College hostel. With funding from the Christchurch City Council, the Trust Bank Community Trust and New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board, and along with assistance from a range of benefactors and private companies, the buildings were purchased, restored and converted to musical use.
By 2010, the vision of the founding trustees was a reality. The Centre was operating on a firm financial footing, accommodating 40 tenants and hosting over 100,000 users in 1,900 events annually. As a community-led facility it was without parallel in New Zealand, and cherished for its inspiring and accommodating spaces. The chapel, re-named the Maurice Till Auditorium in 2009, had become a premiere performance venue, and the centre itself was flourishing as an affordable home for music in the city.
This changed abruptly on 22 February 2011. Following extensive damage to the buildings the music centre’s lease on the land was cancelled. Shortly afterwards, all four buildings were demolished and day-to-day operations suspended.
The mounting of concerts organised by the music centre staff continues, in alternative locations such as St Augustine’s Church, Cashmere, and the Salvation Army Citadel, Beckenham.
Where to from here?
Fortunately, the heritage buildings that comprised the Music Centre of Christchurch were insured with the centre as policyholder and principal beneficiary. Plans are now well underway to replace the lost facilities like-for-like: an auditorium for the chapel, a teaching, rehearsal and administration block for the convent and hostel, and equivalent space for the portery.
The Music Centre trustees are seeking suitable land on which to rebuild, concentrating on sites within the Central City and in close proximity to existing arts and music facilities.
Alun Wilkie, an architect with proven flair in design (including the Jazz School building of the CPIT) has been engaged to devise concept plans. His brief is for a centre for music with a striking exterior and a purpose designed interior. It is hoped that construction will be underway before the end of 2013 and that a new Music Centre of Christchurch, with the same core values of the old, will be fully operational before the end of 2014.
Read of our concept plans (more)