On Saturday 1 February the London Mozart Players will be back for the third of their wonderful Upper Norwood Community Concerts held at the church of St John the Evangelist. This year piano virtuoso Howard Shelley will entrance the audience with Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1.

But what exactly is a community concert? How does it differ from a regular concert?

‘The idea behind the LMP Community Concerts was to bring the best classical music has to offer to people who – for a variety of reasons – would not normally attend a classical concert’, Julia Desbruslais, Executive Director of the LMP, commented.

These concerts are all about spreading the love for classical music and ensuring that no one misses out. Up to 200 free tickets are allocated to people who either due to cost or accessibility reasons, are not able to attend concerts in the usual London venues. We also have tickets for young music students, or schools, or charities such as Crisis, and they are allocated via local community and charitable organisations.

While you can always rely on top quality music at LMP events, for the community concerts the calibre of the soloists gets dialled up to eleven. In the past we have been lucky to have some real superstars performing in SE19: violinist Nicola Benedetti and clarinettist Michael Collins both played to a packed church, and this year will be no different, with acclaimed pianist Howard Shelley bringing some musical magic to Upper Norwood.

These delightful concerts are no more than an hour and they are relaxed affairs with the soloists giving a brief introduction to the piece, highlighting what to look out for. There are refreshments and a chance to chat to the orchestra. We hope that, if this is a first concert, that it just the first of many!

Putting on a concert is, of course, not a cheap thing to do. Our LMP Community Concerts would not be possible without generous support. The soloists give their services free, and our lovely friends at St John’s waive the cost of the church hire. We are thrilled that the concerts have impressed the Croydon Ward Councillors, who also generously support the concerts. And we are very grateful to our wonderful LMP Friends and local supporters who buy the 100 specially priced tickets which include a champagne reception with Howard. They pay slightly more than usual as they know that a portion of the entrance fee will enable someone less fortunate than themselves to come along; so not only do they have a wonderful concert, they have a warm feeling of sharing the joy of classical music.

A few tickets for our next community concert on Saturday 1 February are still available; do come along and join the fun!