at St Anne and St Agnes Church
Home of VCM Foundation
AN INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR VOCAL MUSIC PERFORMANCE, OUTREACH AND EDUCATION IN THE HEART OF LONDON
is an international centre for vocal excellence and outreach at St Anne & St Agnes Church in the heart of the City of London. Situated 200 metres from St Paul's Cathedral, this beautiful Wren Church is the home of VCM Foundation, a music education foundation which works to inspire people through music. The Foundation is one of the leading choral music education charities in the world and is responsible for innovative and wide reaching education programmes. VCM boasts two internationally acclaimed vocal ensembles, VOCES8 and Apollo5, who perform all over the world each year, mixing classical music with jazz, pop and contemporary composition and who also deliver our unique approach to education, the VOCES8 Method, created by our CEO, Paul Smith. Click Here to see our 2015/16 Annual Review.
The Gresham Centre is available to hire for rehearsals, concerts, Recording/filmlocation/crewholding, CPD, conferences and all events in between. Just contact our Centre Director, Jan Keliris to discuss further or arrange a visit.
At 7pm on Tuesday 12th June VOCES8 welcomes the Eastern Mennonite High School (EMHS) Touring Choir and the City of London Academy Shoreditch Choir for a concert celebrating our education partnerships around the world.
VCM’s partnership with Hackney Music Service and the City of London Academies in Hackney sees members of Apollo5 and VOCES8 working with the vocal ensembles both in these schools and at the Gresham Centre. We are delighted that the choir from Shoreditch Park, a new City of London Academy will be able to meet and sing with students from EMHS and VOCES8.
The concert programme will feature performances by each ensemble as well as massed pieces when all the young singers will join with VOCES8. Tickets for the concert are £10 and can be purchased HERE.
Engaging students of all ages to explore, develop and learn through music, we encourage people to develop academically, to grow as musicians, and to learn about leadership, self confidence and teamwork, but most of all we have a huge amount of fun! A programme of education work overseen by VCM sees VOCES8 and Apollo5 work with more than 40,000 young people each year in partnership with Music Hubs, schools and other educational organisations. The education programme provides teacher training, a unique Young Leaders’ programme, residencies within schools and communities in the UK, France, Germany and the USA, as well as regular training and singing celebration events at the Gresham Centre. Click here to see an example of a typical successful project!
VCM’s Young Leader Programme supports secondary school pupils aged 11 to 19 in learning how to lead a workshop that includes warm-ups, the VOCES8 Method and teaching songs to primary school children. Professor Susan Hallam MBE is Professor and Dean of Faculty of Policy and Society at the Institute of Education and Professor of Education and Music Psychology at the Institute of Education, UCL. She is the author of many professional research papers including The Power of Music.
The VCM team helps the participants develop their leadership and teamwork skills as well as their confidence and musical skills. Download the entire report here: VCM Young Leader Evaluation by Professor Susan Hallam
The results of the evaluation were overwhelming positive. Highlights include:
The Young Leaders reported that the programme had:
Dr Susan Hallam is Emerita Professor of Education and Music Psychology at the UCL Institute of Education. She was awarded an MBE in the 2015 new year’s honours list.
She is the author of numerous books on education and has also published several books in relation to music education and music psychology including The Power of Music; Music Psychology in Education; and The impact of actively making music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people: A research synthesis.
As co-founder of VOCES8, author of The VOCES8 Method and CEO of the VCM Foundation, Paul Smith has enjoyed more than a decade of work including global travel to prestigious concert venues, schools and universities.
Paul is passionate about the impact singing and the arts can have in the widest possible context - from academic improvement to social skills and building more cohesive communities. He uses that passion to design and deliver unique, inclusive and uplifting performance projects. As an educator and public speaker, Paul has given speeches and created sessions on music and leadership, teamwork, music and creativity, health and wellbeing, and The VOCES8 Method.
Paul is delighted to be an ambassador for Edition Peters, as well as a board member of the 21st Century Musician programme at DePauw University, Indiana, and a trustee for the National Children's Choir of Great Britain. Click here for more information and follow Paul on Twitter @hatchmyideas.
VCM has created and published ‘The VOCES8 Method’, an innovative resource for teachers which encourages whole school music making in a way that links music with literacy, linguistics and numeracy. Based on a research paper from the Institute of Education, The VOCES8 Method exists to have a positive impact on how students learn through music and will better prepare students for their school day and develop key learning skills which will have a conscious and sub-conscious effect on their academic learning process.
There are additional benefits to be gained in the areas of physical and mental health; self-awareness; confidence; teamwork; problem solving, and creative thinking.
The VOCES8 Method has been translated into French and German, has been featured in a number of industry magazines and the national press in the UK and the USA. It has also been the topic of a TEDx talk. The Method is now being used in thousands of schools in nine different countries around the world. Published by Edition Peters, click here to purchase a copy of the VOCES8 Method book, and for informative videos on how it works, click here.
Led by members of VOCES8, Apollo5 and the VCM team of workshop leaders, either here at the Gresham Centre or at your school. Contact us for further information.
The Gresham hosts numerous outreach programmes, teacher training events, rehearsal days, recordings and concerts. In 2015 more than 5,000 young people from local schools in Tower Hamlets. Hackney, Newham and beyond enjoyed musical adventures and Young Leader's workshops here and 8,000 people visited here for community workshops, rehearsals, masterclasses or to listen to music. The space is becoming known as a centre for education and performance welcoming both global leaders in classical music and children hearing their first live music in equal measure; excellence and inclusivity stand side by side.
Get in touch with Ann Wright our Education Projects Manager, [email protected] to find out more about our Musical Adventures Programme, Young Leaders Programme, teacher training courses and how to book VOCES8, Apollo5 & Paul Smith to come and sing with your School or Community.
We are hugely grateful to the many who support our educational outreach, click here to find out all about them.
The Gresham Centre has its home in the stunning church of St Anne & St Agnes, situated at the St Martin's-le-Grand end of Gresham Street EC2V 7BX. Although we have a very active outreach programme with local schools, we are available to hire and currently have all sorts of events held here: from Concerts to Rehearsals; Film Crews and SA/Crowd Holding (Click here for more information) to Professional Recordings; Workshops to Corporate Professional Development and all points in between.
THE NAVE approx 11 x 11m square with a soaring vaulted ceiling 15m high. A rare Wren Greek Cross formation, it is basically a square within a square. The space offers an incredible acoustic for vocal music and is very adaptable, mostly kept clear for optimum set ups, depending on your requirements. Maximum capacity is 220 standing, at the moment we can accommodate 160 seated on a mixture of chairs (100) and pews; we hope to have new chairs installed very soon so watch this space! We offer a Grand Piano, mics, speakers, candelabra and other props for hire, just tell us what you need. We also have an Italian Harpsichord and Positive Chamber Organ on site available for hire either at the Gresham or at aother venues - click here for more details; as well as a great organ - click here for full specification.
A BREAKOUT SPACE/GREEN ROOM comfortably seating 15 for meetings, sectionals or instrument lessons, it has a full sized keyboard and is regularly used as a green room for larger groups.
A smaller OFFICE seating 6 for meetings or sectionals/instrument lessons and green room.
Facilities: We have 3 W.C.s, ramp access to the front door, but sadly no access WC at the moment, (although a wheelchair can get to the door of the closet but not inside), full central heating and fast wifi throughout.
We have an Urn and kettles for making drinks in the nave, you will only need to bring your own cups and supplies. For schools and other groups contact Jan for a current Risk Assessment should you require it.
Parking: On Gresham St and surrounding streets is pay and display weekdays until 7pm and Saturdays until 11am, then free on single yellow lines and all day Sundays; NCP car parks nearby at Barbican. Click here for parking info. There are Disabled Parking Bays directly outside the Gresham next to the taxi halt and a few further along.
Contact Jan Keliris, Centre Director - [email protected]
This stunning Anglican Church is now the home of the musical charity, VCM Foundation. The Gresham Centre at the church of St Anne & St Agnes is designated a Chapel of Ease to St Vedast alias Foster in nearby Foster Lane. Although there are no regular Sunday services, the church is often open to visitors. In addition we hold some 6 - 8 services a year, often taking the form of sung Evensong by our outreach choirs, as well as on feast days and festivals.
The Church will be open to the public on 1st Wednesday of every month from 11:45 until 14:45 with grateful thanks to the volunteers of
The church of St Anne and St Agnes has suffered a long, turbulent history of plague, fire and near destruction but has always managed to be renewed and rebuilt. Its first mention in parish records was as early as 1137; its first known priest named Alured. It lays close to Aldersgate and the city wall, the remains of which can still be seen outside the church today; as can 14th Century stonework to the steeple, which remarkably still remains in tact, (currently undergoing restoration) despite a major fire in 1548 which burned the church mostly to the ground, then again in the Great Fire of 1666 and bomb damage in World War II.
Its double dedication remains unique among city churches and dates from 1460. The church we see today follows the form of Wren’s post Great Fire design for a Greek Cross, a square within a square and boasts a superb acoustic.
Notable connections to the church include the Percys, Earls (and now Dukes) of Northumberland, the most prominent family in the parish during the medieval period and Sir James Drax (1662) whose bust sits within the church and the Drax family. Famous past parishioners have included the poet John Milton, John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress and John Wesley, founder of Methodism, who preached twice at the church in 1738.
The blitz of 1940 left the church with only the shell and tower remaining and extensive restoration followed using fittings from other city churches.
Following the war, the parish was amalgamated with St Vedast alias Foster and the church was designated a Grade I listed building in 1950. From 1966 St Anne and St Agnes was rededicated and leased for use by the Lutheran congregations where a strong musical tradition developed, notably its Bach Vespers. The VCM Foundation took over the building in June 2013 when it was brought back into the Anglican Foundation.
The Church is so busy now with its outreach programme serving the local community, we don't have regular opening times, see Events for the next likely open days.
Photographs of Ceiling and Father Time courtesy of Angelo Hornak Photo Library