City of London concert raises the roof for Wren

Hundreds of children and young people from the City of London Corporation’s Family of Schools are being invited to a concert at Guildhall, in the heart of the Square Mile, featuring music inspired by their work about Sir Christopher Wren, and composed by one of their music teachers.

The City Corporation sponsors 10 academies across Hackney, Islington, Newham, and Southwark through the City of London Academies Trust.  It is also the local education authority for one maintained primary school in the City of London, and the proprietor of three independent schools. Together, these institutions are referred to as the City Corporation’s ‘Family of Schools’.

The ‘Raising the Roof’ concert on 21 September in the Great Hall is the culmination of a year-long project to enable pupils across the Family of Schools to learn more about Wren’s work as a mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and England’s best-known architect during the tercentenary year of his death.

The children have visited three beautiful Wren buildings, and taken part in creative writing and drawing workshops, architecture tours, and singing lessons. This generated material for a libretto that has been set to music by Director of Music at City of London School, Richard Quesnel, to be performed by the Family of Schools’ choirs.

This is the first time since the pandemic that hundreds of children from the City Corporation’s schools will gather once again for a choral celebration.

Three days before the concert, pupils will rehearse the music at the City of London School for the last time before the one-off performance at Guildhall, which will be attended by the singers’ classmates, teachers, parents, representatives from the City Corporation and Square Mile Livery. The Lady Mayoress will also be in attendance for the concert.

The project is a collaboration between the City of London Corporation, City of London School, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Diocese of London.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Education Board, Caroline Haines, said:

“The 15th-century Great Hall is a majestic space and an entirely fitting venue in which to celebrate the life and enduring legacy of Sir Christopher Wren, the genius behind so many majestic buildings.

“The choirs’ soaring voices performing Richard Quesnel’s unique composition, coupled with the audience’s evident pride in their achievements, will make this an unforgettable experience.”

Director of Music at City of London School and composer of the ‘Raising the Roof’ concert libretto, Richard Quesnel, said:

“It has been such a joy to craft new music for performance in historic and inspiring spaces, and to see the children develop their musical skills and understanding of architecture through this project.

“One of the songs, ‘From floor to ceiling’, lists all the names of the features that can be seen as you look up under the dome in St Paul’s, and another sets to music the street names in the City where Wren built his masterpieces. The children have seen their City come to life in art, words and music, and I’m so excited to gather them all together on stage for this full performance.”

The City of London Corporation is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

The City Corporation has twice been named by social mobility charity, Sutton Trust, as the UK’s best academy sponsor for empowering pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform above the national average.

The organisation manages a range of world-class cultural and heritage institutions, including the Barbican Centre, Tower Bridge, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Guildhall Art Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives, and Keats House. It also supports the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London.


Notes for Editors:

For media enquiries, including interviews and requests to attend the final rehearsal at City of London School, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, and Heritage), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 /

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK.

The City of London Family of Schools participating are both primary and secondary: City Junior School, City of London Freemen’s School, City of London School, City of London School for Girls, City of London Academy Highgate Hill, City of London Academy Southwark, City of London Academy Islington, City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, and City of London Academy Galleywall.