After months of rehearsals, planning and organisation the long awaited day of Wednesday 15th December 2010 finally arrived with the LTFUC’s Gala Christmas Concert at St. John’s, Smith Square finally taking place. This is the first time the charity has undertaken such an event, so we were all thrilled and delighted that it was such a tremendous success.
Nearly 400 people took their seats in St. John’s, Smith Square Church, which was built in 1728 and a few metres from the Palace of Westminster. The venue is now used primarily for classical concerts and was a marvellous setting for what proved to be a wonderful evening of music and song.
Sixty-five members of the London Charity Orchestra took their places on stage and then William Carslake, Conductor, stepped on to the rostrum. William picked up his baton, turned to the musicians, and the first piece of the music programme started, Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky. The next performer who walked on to the stage was Guest Soloist Emma Halnan, BBC Young Musician of the Year 2010 Concerto Finalist, who played the flute and performed Concertino, composed by Cecile Chaminade and this was simply beautiful.
After other performances, it was the turn of the Finchley Children’s Music Group and Grace Rossiter, together with sixty children and accompanied by Harpist, Hannah Butler, sang some of the world’s most wonderful carols. Their first rendition was a Ceremony of Carol’s by Benjamin Britten. The audience were treated to so many more awe inspiring songs and much more music and it was simply a pleasure to listen to.
During the first interval Hon. Chair of the LTFUC, Susan Angel, welcomed the audience and spoke a little about the activities of the charity. Just before the finale, Susan thanked Michael Son for organising such a magnificent event and also Malcolm Shaffron and other members of the committee for their roles as Stage Managers and my input as PR. Michael responded by saying that it was one of the most exciting projects he had undertaken and was thankful to so many people for coming along to support the Concert. He also stated on behalf of the LTFUC Committee how grateful he was for the support of Dial-a-Cab in helping to sponsor the fund’s first Concert.
Michael offered his sincere gratitude to the brilliant and gifted Conductors and Musical Directors; Grace Rossiter of the FCMG and William Carslake of the LCO and the extremely outstanding musicians from the orchestra and the fantastic talented girls and boys from the FCMG. He also thanked Hannah Butler for playing the harp so magnificently. Hannah had achieved her long-held ambition and that is to own a Salvi Diana Harp and the concert was their first outing together.
Michael thanked the incomparable Violin Soloist, Simon Kodurand, Leader of the LCO. The solo he performed was just a joy to listen to. He also gave special thanks to guest Soloist, Emma Halnan and said she was absolutely amazing. In closing, Michael said that “quite frankly there is nothing like listening to live music performed by such gifted and talented individuals.” After a thunderous applause he thanked everyone again and said “May be we should do this again”. The response from the audience, the musicians and the children were shouts of yes, yes and they indicated their approval by stamping their feet and cheering. On behalf of the Hon. Life President, Hon. Chair and Hon. Committee and the children, he wished everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year. The audience were then treated to one of the best loved songs ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ and everyone joined in making it such a brilliant moment to remember!
This concert has helped the LTFUC to raise much-needed revenue and with the help and support of our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, London’s taxi drivers, carers and our benefactors, we will continue to help the thousands of disadvantaged children of London.
Finally we would like to give grateful thanks to the Management of St. John’s, Smith Square, for all their guidance, help and support for this our first concert and we also thank the Editors of our taxi trade press, Steve Allen at LBC for giving us such brilliant coverage which greatly helped promote the Concert, Print4London.Com for the production of the Souvenir Programme, the advertisers and all those who supported the event.
Raymond Levy (Press Officer)
(main contributor Michael Son)