The Reverend Richard Coles confirmed for Help Musicians UK’s flagship event – the 72nd annual Festival of St Cecilia

Help Musicians UK (HMUK) is excited to announce that hitmaker-turned-vicar and former Strictly contestant The Reverend Richard Coles is to deliver the sermon at this year’s Festival of St Cecilia, HMUK’s flagship event and annual festive fixture that will take place at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral on November 21.

Classically trained musician Richard Coles first came to public attention as part of ‘80s synthpop sensation The Communards – releasing the UK’s biggest selling single of 1986, Don't Leave Me This Way. He has gone on to become a recognised voice across the media, taking part in last year’s Strictly Come Dancing and hosting Saturday Live on Radio 4 since 2011.

The Reverend Richard Coles joins the previously confirmed line-up, featuring an extra special reading from one of Britain’s most loved faces, Jane Asher, and an exclusive performance from internationally renowned classical guitarist, Miloš Karadaglić.

Under the direction of Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Cathedral will reunite to perform once more this year. The morning’s proceedings will also premiere a specially created anthem by the Queens Music Award winner, Thea Musgrave CBE. The anthem has been generously commissioned by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, and will reflect on HMUK’s 97-year history as it approaches its centenary in 2021.

The Reverend Richard Coles said:I’m greatly honoured to be invited to preach the sermon at the Festival of St Cecilia for HMUK. I understand it’s the first time a preacher has been let loose at the Festival for some years, and I shall endeavour not to disgrace the honour done to her by the musicians and choristers in her saintly care.

With the latest exciting news for the 72nd edition of the annual event, ticket booking availability has been specially extended to Wednesday November 14. The free tickets are available via the HMUK website or via phone on 0207 239 9114.

Every year, a month before Christmas, The Festival of St Cecilia pays homage to the Patron Saint of Music, St Cecilia, and the musicians whose legacies continue to enrich our lives through their music, such as Henry Purcell, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Maria Callas. 

The awe-inspiring annual event has a rich history and has been run in partnership with HMUK for a staggering 72 years. The Festival of St Cecilia sees the yearly gathering of three institutions - St Pauls Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral - and their choirs, for a truly inspirational and festive celebration with an audience of over 2,000.

The Festival Service is a free ticketed event, so guests are kindly encouraged to make a donation when booking. 100% of every donation will go directly towards the thousands of musicians across the UK who need HMUK’s help and support each year.

Once again, HMUK will host a special reception following the service. The reception will be a ticketed event that allows the charity’s many supporters to gather and meet with fellow supporters, senior representatives and beneficiaries, whilst raising vital funds for the charity and hearing about the difference their contribution makes. A limited number of tickets priced at £40 will be on sale.

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