An honourable baritone amongst us!

Rachel Starling MBE
Rachel receives her MBE

If you’re about to receive an award from a member of the Royal Family, you know you’ve got to get the choreography of curtseying precisely right. And that’s where being a member of Surrey Harmony was the perfect practise for our Performance Coordinator Rachel Starling.

By day Rachel is Environment Manager for HS1, the high speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel which links the U.K. with France. For the past 20 years it’s been Rachel’s job to implement strategies to minimise the environmental impact of the huge project.

In June it was announced by Buckingham Palace that Rachel was being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or M.B.E. for her services to the rail industry.

Rachel received the award from H.R.H the Duke of Cambridge in a ceremony at Windsor Castle. She admits to being excited, but nervous. Rachel says,” I was given instructions on the procedure for meeting Prince William. It was quite a performance, including not one but two curtseys.” She adds, “ The advice was it doesn’t matter which foot, and don’t go too low!”

Rachel says being a Sweet Adeline was the perfect practise for her meeting with Royalty. Now she has finished organising her own performance, it’s back to our regular choreography sessions. But if a new song ever calls for a curtsey, Rachel is the perfect Chorus member to demonstrate how to make it fit for a Prince.


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