The Master’s Newsletter, November 2015
I can hardly believe that this is my final Newsletter as Master!
Everyone said the year would whizz by and so it has.
Congratulations to Andrew Morris, Master-Elect, Sir Roger Gifford, Senior Warden-Elect and Lady Brewer (Tessa), Junior Warden-Elect. I am particularly grateful for the support which they and the Immediate Pastmaster, Sir Anthony Cleaver, the Honorary Treasurer, Pastmaster Gavin Barrett and the Honorary Solicitor, Pastmaster John Rubinstein have given me throughout the year.
Congratulations also to Pastmaster, Alderman and Sheriff Andrew Parmley and his wife, Wendy on an outstanding Shrieval Year together with the Lay Sheriff Fiona Adler and her husband, David. They have been a wonderful team and as Master of Andrew’s Mother Company, it was an honour to propose the ‘Vote of Thanks’ to the Sheriffs on behalf of “The Liverymen of the City of London in Common Hall assembled” on September 29th.
The John Christie Award 50th Anniversary Celebration
Monday 12th October at the Royal College of Music
We were thrilled that both Lady Christie (Mary) and Gus Christie were able to join us. Thanks to the tremendous work which the Immediate Pastmaster and the Clerk put into the detailed arrangements for the concert and fundraising dinner which followed, the magnificent target of £100,000 has been raised to help endow the John Christie Award for the future. A copy of the programme for the evening is included in this item on the Company website.
Court Meeting on Tuesday 20th October 2015
The Court Meeting and the Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner which followed were held in the magnificent surroundings of the Mercers’ Hall – the first time many of the Court and our dinner guests had been inside the Hall.
Deputy Catherine McGuinness was installed as a Court Assistant. She became a Liveryman in 2007 and has been a Steward for the past two years. A lawyer specialising in financial services, Catherine also brings valuable experience as an elected Common Councilman of the City of London Corporation and is currently deputy chairman of the City’s Policy Committee. She is particularly involved in the fields of education and the arts and was Chairman of the Barbican Centre Board.
Liverymen Michael Hockney and Richard Lyne were installed as Stewards; James Day admitted as a Freeman and James Crabbe, Anne Marsden Thomas and Neil Price clothed with the Livery. Congratulations to them all.
The Court recorded its gratitude to Pastmaster Gavin Barrett who has handed over the role of Chairman of the Finance Committee to Assistant David Creswell but will continue as Honorary Treasurer. Gavin joined the Finance Committee 13 years ago taking over as Chairman from Past Master Francis Carnwath CBE eight years ago and in 2010 combined this with the role of Honorary Treasurer on the retirement of Maurice Hart. Thank you Gavin for the invaluable work you have done for the Company over so many years and for offering to continue as Honorary Treasurer.
The Court also recorded a vote of thanks to The Reverend Alan Boddy for his long service as Honorary Chaplain to the Company since 2003. Alan has guided us at our annual St Paul’s Cathedral Evensong, Carol Services and said Grace at Company Dinners and in his own quiet way has helped members of the Company when needed. On behalf of the Company, I presented Alan with a crystal decanter at the Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner which followed (see below). I was amused to find that the Court Minutes in 2003 record that when Alan was proposed as Honorary Chaplain, it was remarked that he appeared well qualified having been Chaplain at Wormwood Scrubs!
Following the practice of many livery Companies, the post of Master’s Chaplain is being introduced and The Reverend Canon Mark Williams, Vicar of St John the Divine, Kennington has been invited by the Master-Elect to be his Chaplain for the year. (See the autumn edition of Preserve Harmony for further details).
The Company’s Beadle, Ken Tappenden, is retiring at the end of the year after six years of service to the Company. We will miss his calm manner and sense of humour at all our Court ceremonies as well as the Company dinners where Ken has presided as our Toastmaster. A notice has been sent out to the Livery, asking for contributions to mark a suitable retirement gift to Ken.
Pastmaster Andy Prindl presented The Patricia Prindl Prize for Outreach to Yeoman James Turnbull for his outstanding commitment over the past five years. James has given 19 sessions alongside his busy professional career and the demands of his growing family. We are very pleased that he wishes to become a Freeman.
Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner
Thirty-four Masters and twenty-seven Clerks joined members of the Court at the dinner which followed. This Dinner provides an opportunity each year, for the Court to return the hospitality enjoyed by the Master and Clerk from other Livery Companies. Colin Thubron, the travel writer and President of the Royal Society of Literature, gave a delightful speech about some of his experiences as a passionate music lover and the music provided by our Yeomen, the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet, was a great hit.
Instead of the usual hand written ‘Thank You’ letter, John Allen, the Clerk to the Gunmakers’ Company, has composed an Ode on a Musicians’ Company Dinner which you can read here.
The Yeoman Programme goes from strength to strength.
By mid-October, 121 Outreach visits have been made to schools this year reaching 5,700 children. Over 35 Yeomen have given these sessions organised by 17 volunteers.
Assistant John Nichols, Chairman of the Yeomen Co-ordination Committee, surpassed himself by arranging a remarkable 89 Performance Opportunities for the Yeomen at Festivals and concert venues around the country. Stephen Barlow, Artistic Director of the Buxton Festival was so impressed “by playing of the highest standard” that he has booked 11 Yeomen for the 2016 Festival.
Christopher Glynn, Artistic Director, the Ryedale Festival wrote “Your Yeomen were great – really excellent performances and I must congratulate you on your choices of musicians to support” and has also asked for more Yeomen next year. The programmes for all these performances carry the logo of the Company which is great publicity.
Thank you to all the volunteers for your tremendous enthusiasm and support for the Yeomen programme which is building a wonderful reputation for the Company’s support for outstanding young musicians.
The Young Jazz Musician of the Year Competition took place at Soho Jazz Club on 27th September and was a great evening. Five finalists played to a packed house and the winner, chosen by audience vote was Adam King (bass) who as part of his prize will have a gig of his own at Soho Jazz Club in May and becomes a Yeoman.
British Open Brass Band Championships in Birmingham
National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall
I had great fun attending the Open Championships on September 5th and the National Championships on 10th October. On both occasions I followed a copy of the test piece score and marvelled at the virtuoso playing. Congratulations to Grimethorpe Colliery Band conducted by Liveryman Dr Nicholas Childs who won the Open Championships and to Cory Band from Wales conducted by Philip Harper who won the National Championships. I presented the Iles and Mortimer Medals at Birmingham and look forward to meeting the winners again at the Installation Dinner.
The Livery Club
Sadly the popular Bach Cantata on 25th September had to be cancelled. Two days earlier, part of the ceiling had collapsed at the Bishopsgate Hall and the Hall closed indefinitely. This also means that The City Music Society autumn series of lunchtime concerts held at the Hall, arranged by Pastmaster Leslie East have had to be cancelled as no other suitable venue is available at an affordable cost and with a suitable piano. We commiserated with Leslie over the excellent lunch which this year was held at a new venue, the Andaz Hotel.
The next Livery Club visit planned by Keith Maries, President of the Livery Club will be to King’s College, Cambridge on Saturday 25th June 2016 to include a choir rehearsal with Liveryman Stephen Cleobury and Evensong.
As usual, a list of the various events which I have attended from August–November was given to the Court and is attached. You will see that I have enjoyed the company of the Learned Clerk at many of these occasions and I thank Hugh, Amanda and Trish most warmly for their guidance, tremendous hard work, and friendship – it has been a joy to work together.
In addition to the events I have already mentioned, here are a few more that I have particularly enjoyed over the last three months.
Liveryman Ursula Jones invited me to join her at the opening weekend of the Lucerne International Festival including concerts conducted by Bernard Haitink and Daniel Barenboim. Ursula grew up in Lucerne and her father was involved in starting the Festival in 1938.
Hearing the quintet Paradise Regained by Yeoman Adam Kornas played at the University of Music in Vienna, attended by the British Ambassador. Adam was the first winner of the Lord Mayor’s Composition Prize in 2012 and this and the performance last year in Salzburg were arranged by Liveryman Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies.
The Company’s first piano recital using the Steinway Hall given by Daniel Lebhardt. Daniel was the Company’s 2014 Doris Stark Prize winner and will be presented with the Company’s Silver Medal for a student at The Royal Academy of Music, at the forthcoming Installation Court.
Our annual St Paul’s Cathedral Evensong Service which was very well attended by both the Company and other Livery Companies. It was a lovely idea of the Dean to invite our Musicians’ Company Chorister, Hector Revill to read some of the prayers, as his voice had broken!
The Agincourt 600 Anniversary Service at Westminster Abbey – all the Livery Masters and Clerks processed in and not to be left out, the Master Elect arranged to be the Crucifer and carried the Cross magnificently.
Last Saturday’s visit to hear the John Wilson Orchestra’s fascinating rehearsal before their tour of Gershwin in Hollywood. We are very grateful to Liveryman Gillian Humphreys for all her help introducing us to John who is the Company’s 2015 Honorary Fellow and won the Company’s Silver Medal when he was at the Royal College of Music
Finally, a list of Company events to come is attached to help with your forward planning.
It has been a fantastic privilege and delight to be Master of the Musicians’ Company – thank you all so much for your friendship and support.
With my warmest greetings