A relaxing drink, an hour of live jazz, lunch at one of Highgate’s many excellent hostelries followed by a walk across the Heath? What better way to spend a Sunday?

That, and the desire to see the society’s hall at 10a South Grove better used after its pandemic refurbishment, was the thinking behind the launch of the Highgate Society’s Sunday lunchtime concerts two years ago – and it seems like a winning formula.

The last concert, the Lior Solomons Wise trio on January 24, was a sell out!

Given that there is so much quality serious music in Highgate, including the society’s music in Highgate homes events, we decided that Sunday lunchtime was the time for something a bit lighter – a little jazz, for example, some show songs?

We also wanted to open up the concerts as an opportunity for students or recently qualified young musicians to showcase their talents.

The Guildhall School of Music’s Jazz department has provided several groups – Lior, Ed and Jonah in January, Sol Grimshaw and his group last year, the lovely Nel Begley and Paul, her pianist accompanist.

We have other jazzers too – the home-grown talent of Rob Pfieffer and Dave Barrows – or Shirley Smart on her jazz cello with multi-instrumentalist Peter Michaels.

And then some break the mould – like Patricia Hammond who treated us to a wonderful selection of parlour songs from the 1830s to the 1930s – and had the audience singing along with her by the end of the concert!

Future performers? Encouragingly, the word has got around and we now have musicians coming to us – but I continue to scout around for new talent.

Next up on Sunday, March 17, guitarist Declan Hickey and saxophonist Sophia.

See the Events part of the Highgate Society website for details of this and future events at: highgatesociety.com/people/events.

As icing on the cake, a guest at many of our concerts is sketcher extraordinaire, Alison Gardiner, who loves sketching musicians and is often to be seen sitting in a corner of the front row, pencil and watercolours at the ready.

Concerts generally happen on the third Sunday of every second month. Buy your tickets via the website or on the door. We start at midday and finish just after one – depending on how many encores can be squeezed out of the players!

  • Michelle Berriedale Johnson is a member of the Highgate Society.