Yesterday saw our final Festival of Saint Cecilia as the Musicians Benevolent Fund before we change our name to Help Musicians UK in January, and what a year it has turned out to be. You turned out in your thousands to pay tribute to the Patron Saint of Music, celebrate the centenary of Benjamin Britten and most importantly, to give generously to musicians in need of your support.
We have had a record breaking number of donations from our collection at Westminster Abbey, collecting just under £10,000. To add to this, everyone that attended the lunch at Banqueting House gave generously and placed their bids in our silent auction, bringing our total amount to just under £17,000.
The rain couldn’t dampen our spirits yesterday morning, with the three choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral dazzling everyone with their beautiful voices. Amongst the music performed was Robin Holloway’s premier of his specially commissioned anthem, On a Drop of Dew, and we had readings from James Bowman CBE, James Bowman CBE and Dame Janet Baker, before Dame Janet headed to the Britten memorial stone with representatives from the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, Trinity Laban and Guidlhall School of Music and Drama to lay a wreath in honour of Britten’s Centenary (pictured).
The Reverend Lucy Winkett gave the address which you can read here.
380 guests then headed to Banqueting House for our sold out Festival Lunch, which featured a speech from National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner and fantastic musical performance by trumpeters Cai Infryn and Victoria Rule and Emerging Excellence Saxophone Quartet, Syzygy.
Thank you to everyone that joined us for this very special event, and we hope to see you all again in 2014 for our first Help Musicians UK Festival of Saint Cecilia.