By Bill Marx.
Routine obeisances are made to the health of the classical music scene in Boston, but not all is well. Boston’s Church of St. John the Evangelist has pulled funding, with little notice to the musicians and the public, from its Wednesday Concert Series (WCS). Begun in June 2006 by former Church of St. John the Evangelist music director Jeffrey Mills (he left the parish last October), the series presented first-rate talent performing the work of a variety of composers for free on Wednesday afternoons.
According to WCS series manager Kim Clark, “musicians loved the acoustics at STJEV, as well as the aesthetics of the sanctuary. Slowly, we built an audience that eventually grew to an average of 20-30 each week.” I first learned about the series from the late Caldwell Titcomb, classical critic for The Arts Fuse, who was a devoted fan.
The decision to de-fund the concerts came in late February, though musicians had been scheduled through June. The church’s governing body also voted, last December, to de-fund STJEV’s paid choir.
Asked about the future of the WCS, Clark responded, “I have approached two venues and I’ve been invited to schedule appointments with decision-makers to discuss the future of the concerts. I am cautiously optimistic, but an agreement is not yet in hand. My goal is to resume performances on May 1.”