St Mary's University, Twickenham

St Mary's University Chapel Organ Fund: Fr Vlad Steps Up

In the lead up to our 175th anniversary in 2025, St Mary's is aiming to boost the role of music in the life and mission of the University. The Chapel organ is vital to our ambitions.
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At St Mary's, we have begun looking forward to celebrating our 175th anniversary in 2025: to welcoming old friends and new visitors to our beautiful campus at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, and to extending our impact as a force for good in the local community and the wider world. One of our ambitions for 2025 is to transform the role of music in the life of the University.

Overlooking the main Piazza, the Chapel is at the heart of the University. With its wonderful acoustics, it is our principal setting for beautiful liturgy, with Mass said there daily; and it is also a venue for concerts and important occasions such as the Spring graduation. We want to expand and enhance these current uses, while also breaking new ground: for example, in pursuing linkages between music and disciplines such as theology and drama; and in extending our outreach to local schools, unlocking the Chapel's full potential as a resource for music, art and religious education.

Critical to achieving these ambitions is the replacement of our Chapel organ, originally built in 1964 in a rather improvised way and currently out of use. The costs of replacing the organ are expected to be in the region of £500,000.

Our Visiting Professor, Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, is stepping up to the challenge of raising these funds - literally! Precise times, dates and details will follow, but, in May of this year, Fr Vlad will commence an epic series of fast-walk circuits of The Sir Mo Farah Athletics Track at St Marys. In his 83rd year, and in recognition of his 52 years of priesthood, it is currently proposed that he will complete 52 circuits across 83 separate dates. If Fr Vlad can secure total sponsorship for each lap at £120 per lap, he will reach his target! However much you are able to give, this is your chance to sponsor Father Vlad in his formidable efforts to help bring the stirring voice of organ music back to our Chapel.

Your support for Fr Vlad and St Marys is hugely appreciated.

To design, build and install a new organ is an important cultural statement and a hugely significant investment in the future - for music, for worship, and for the formation and development of tomorrow's musicians. I am delighted that St Mary's is committing to this vision and to an exciting renewal of its musical and liturgical life. I wish the appeal every success.

- James O'Donnell, Organist & Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey

There is something wonderful and life-enhancing when a commitment to musical excellence, a concern for beauty in the liturgy and a deep knowledge of and education in the arts all come together. These aspirations have always been dear to me. Therefore I am delighted that St Marys University is demonstrating ambition in all these fields as it approaches the celebration of its 175th anniversary. Central to this determination is the desire to give new life to the place of the organ and the profound music it can make in the University Chapel, both in liturgical and concert contexts. The renewal of this instrument would be a significant step forward and I am delighted to lend my support to this appeal.

- Sir James MacMillan CBE, Composer and Conductor

Note: If this appeal does not raise sufficient funds to replace the organ at St Marys, we will use the funds to refurbish the existing organ to the highest standards possible. Any excess funds raised will be used to further the musical life of the University. If Fr Vlad's plans are disrupted or amended in any way, we will retain the funds raised for the purposes described here.

Father Vlad in the Media

Radio 5 Live Interview with Adrian Chiles

Independent Catholic News

Richmond and Twickenham Times

Twickenham Nub News

Your Local Guardian

This is Local London

Whats looking

Premier Christian Radio

Radio Jackie

BBC Songs of Praise

GB News

About the charity

St Mary's University, Twickenham

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