Surrey Harmony members are used to singing in all sorts of places, but never have we performed in such a regal setting before. Director Jenny Lawson and 24 members were thrilled to be able to sing at St James’ Palace, even getting the chance to perform for Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal.
We were invited to sing at the annual Christmas party for The “Not Forgotten” Association, a charity which helps disabled former members of the Armed Forces. We were in illustrious company. Also taking part were TV personality Cilla Black; the former Young Musician of the Year Nicola Benedetti; the singer Robert Meadmore; Jemima Phillips, Harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales and the Drifters. The Master of Ceremonies was our old friend, Richard Stilgoe.
Princess Anne is the Patron of The “Not Forgotten” Association and we were able to sing to her as she left St James’ Palace after having afternoon tea with the Association members.
We sang “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” on a grand staircase next to the Palace Christmas Tree. The Princess stopped to listen and then spoke to Jenny asking questions about the Chorus before thanking us for coming along to perform.
Then it was time for the show. We were first to perform. We opened with “Razzle Dazzle” and our bowler hat routine was well received. We followed this with “Bandstand in Central Park” and finished with our Glenn Miller medley which was much appreciated by the audience.
We were then able to watch the rest of the show and soak up the atmosphere of the stunning public rooms of St James’ Palace. It was a special day for one of our Baris – Sue Chilvers. She celebrated a milestone birthday (she’s 21 again!) by having her photograph taken with Patrick, Rohan, Victor and Peter – otherwise known as the Drifters.
Unfortunately it was not possible to accommodate all of our members at St James’ Palace. But those of us who were there hope we were worthy ambassadors for Surrey Harmony as a whole. It was a day to remember.