Robert Rathbone has been Director of Music at the Sacred Heart since 1996, succeeding Martyn Parry. After joining the choir at St Mary’s Parish Church in Merton Park at the age of 17, he took up the organ and went on to read music at Royal Holloway College, University of London. After graduating, he held posts as organist and choirmaster at three London churches, including St Matthew’s in West Wimbledon, before crossing the divide to the Sacred Heart. In addition to his duties at the church (including directing the choir at the 12.00 Mass every week), he has conducted many performances of major choral works with the Sacred Heart Chorus and Orchestra. 2018 saw a moving and powerful performance of Elgar’s masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius, and in June 2019, a performance of (probably) the greatest choral work ever written; JS Bach’s B minor Mass. After two years of Covid-19, Felix Mendelssohn’s settings of Lauda Sion and Psalm 42 break the choral silence along with the Hebrides Overture.
He spent his entire teaching career at next-door Wimbledon College (1980-2017) and was the Director of Music there from 1984-2013. He is now a freelance musician, including, of course, working in this marvellous building. He is also Musical Director for our parish Amateur Dramatics group, Edge Hill Players, with five very successful pantomimes and spectacular productions of Oklahoma!, Anything Goes and Singin‘ in the Rain (all with full orchestra) under his belt. The Sound of Music will bring Edge Hill alive in September.