St. Paul's Cathedral Concert June 2011
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St. Paul's Concert
Speech time at the reception   Speech time at the reception   Speech time at the reception
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester   HRH with Alex and Tom   HRH with the Drapers' Master and Clerk and Alex and Tom
St. Paul's Cathedral Concert   First performance of 'Went the Day Well?' anthem   First performance of 'Went the Day Well?' anthem
There's Harry, second from the right!   The Duchess speaks to the choristers   The Duchess speaks to the choristers
The Duchess   Ben Parry and Tom   Ben Parry meets the Duchess

June 30th 2011


The Concert!

Those of you who were there last night will know that the concert at St. Paul's Cathedral was a glorious success. Thank you to you all.

For those of you who were unable to make it, this is what happened:

We started with a pre-concert reception in the Crypt beginning at 6.15pm where wine and canapes were served. It was so great to see so many of our friends from school who, having paid for the reception, negotiated half of London to get to the Cathedral and risked the wrath of their teachers by not doing their homework, were greeted by waiters at the reception who would not allow them any wine unless they showed some form of ID to prove their age! I have a feeling that this is not the last I have heard of this. Alex and I gave short speeches to welcome everyone to the reception which were well received (I think!)

The Duchess of Gloucester arrived just after 7pm. She was absolutely delightful and spent a great deal of time speaking to Alex and me about our fund-raising efforts. There was little time to speak to our sponsors (James Salter and AGA medical represented by Shane Brown and Ian Wren deserve especial mention for the help and support that they have given us) before we all trooped upstairs for the concert itself.

As you can see from the pictures the Dome was wonderfully full. We took our seats and the Choristers then walked in with Andrew Carwood, the musical director. We were then treated to the most wonderful music.

The choristers started with 'Te lucis ante terminum', a 7th century plainsong. This was followed by Benjamin Britten's 'Gloria' from Missa Brevis in D (Op. 36) and then John Ireland's 'Ex ore innocentium'.

The choristers continued with 'How beautiful are the feet' from Messiah by George Frederic Handel, which was quite wonderful, to be followed by the equally beautifully sung Sanctus and Benedictus from the Missa brevis by Britten.

Then was the time for 'Went the Day Well?' My heart was in my mouth as I walked up to the lecturn to give a short speech in which I told everyone how much I appreciated Ben Parry composing this wonderful anthem for us. My thanks were rudely interupted by someone who had managed to sneak into the back of the cathedral, shouting something inaudible but loud before being bundled outside again by the Cathedral staff! And then 'Went the Day Well?' was played for the very first time at a public performance; I have a feeling that it will not be the last. It is a beautiful choral work based upon two wonderful epitaphs.

What is more, I managed not to split too many notes on the French Horn and Jonathan just about got his timing right on percussion! (Sorry Jono, you were of course spot on as always.)

The applause following this was spontaneous and prolonged as Ben Parry was invited up to take a bow.

We were then treated to Herbert Brewer's Organ Solo: Marche Heronique, played quite superbly by Simon Johnson.The very dark 'Agnus Dei' from Britten's Missa Brevis was countered by the much more hopeful 'The Lord bless you and keep you' by John Rutter and this brought the concert to a wonderful conclusion.

Now, those of you who were unable to make it to the concert and, therefore, missed out on the opportunity to buy the wonderful CD of the anthem, do not despair. Firstly, it should be available for download on iTunes by tomorrow! If, however, you are anything like my Dad who prefers the real thing - a CD that one can hold in ones hands and caress whilst marvelling at the artwork of the inlay and 4 page booklet - then e-mail us via our contact page with your details and we will get back to you about how to obtain one.

Judy Totton, our most fantastic PR agent, took the absolutely wonderful photos of the evening that are shown here. She has been a star throughout and I cannot thank her enough. Talking about Judy, she managed to get LWT to film us and the choristers earlier in the day at St. Paul's Cathedral School, and we were on London Tonight on ITV at 6pm (i.e. immediately before the reception began). What with that, and the article in the Evening Standard the day before, Judy has done wonders! Click here to have a look at the ES piece.

Remember everbody, we are due to set off in our yellow van tomorrow morning forJohn O'Groats. Wish us luck and make sure you follow us on our blog along the way (if we can get reception on our laptop and manage to sychronise to our site!)


Outside BBC Broadcasting House
On air!   Jumoke Fashola   Judy Totton publicity shot

June 26th 2011


BBC London Radio interview with Jumoke Fashola

I have just returned from BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place having had an interview by the wonderful Jumoke Fashola! I would like to thank her very much for being so welcoming and professional and putting me at my ease. Let us hope that lots of BBC London listeners decide to come to the concert on Wednesday.

I really need to thank our PR agent (doesn't that sound grand!), Judy Totton, who approached me just a few weeks ago when she heard of our projects, and has been absolutely fantastic in arranging newspaper, radio and television interviews. She has been extraordinarily generous with her time - I really do not know how she does it given her many other much more famous and important clients. Please go and have a look at her website.





June 24th 2011



His tweet says: 'Great charity initiative from two 17 yr old concert at St Pauls AND cycling the UK. Phew! Deserve all our support'.

What a fantastic thing to have done for us. He is even more my hero than he was before, if that is possible.

To all you fellow followers of Stephen who have come to this site at his suggestion, I trust that you are not disappointed. Please come to the 'Went the Day Well?' concert at St. Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday if you possibly can. It really does promise to be a fantastic evening particularly as the tube strike has been called off and the weathermen say that summer is returning! Tickets can still be bought from TicketWeb by clicking on the banner above. Or you can buy them on the night at the door.

If you cannot make the concert please help us achieve our fund-raising goal by donating on-line via our JustGiving site.




Training hard

June 16th 2011


2 months have now passed since my last blog. Although Tom has been keeping you up to date with his rigorous training schedule and strange diet plan (yesterday evening he sat at the table with us and ate a whole packet of Sainsbury’s pre-grilled chicken slices), I know that the majority of you really couldn’t care less, and are in fact aching to hear how my own training is going. What have I done to prepare for this magnificent event? What sacrifices have I had to make? How many hours of training do I put in per day? Do I know how to change a tyre? What exactly is a “sprocket”? Can I do a handstand? How many fingers am I holding up? Why DID the chicken cross the road? These are just some of the questions I am sure you are all burning to ask of me, and I shall do my best to answer at least some of them now.

Well, one nugget of information I feel I am allowed to divulge with you loyal blog-readers is that the training required for driving a vehicle quite far every day is, as I fairly recently discovered, minimal. In fact, only yesterday I was able to drive a car laden with my belongings some 130 miles back from university in under 3 hours. Apart from being able to push the right pedal at the right time with my feet, turn the wheel with my hands so I travelled in the same direction as the road, while at all times managing to stay in a vaguely sedentary position, there didn’t seem to be much else to do. From what I’ve heard there’s no need for me to get into shape or eat a dozen egg whites a day either, which suits me just fine thank you.

So, without anything particularly important to do and with my academic year over, I expect I’ll be twiddling my thumbs quite a bit over the next week or so. This could of course mean that sheer boredom inevitably forces me to burden you with at least one more of these barely necessary updates – lucky old you, eh?

Just before I stop typing, I’d like to point out that the concert is now LESS THAN 2 WEEKS AWAY!!! So if you have yet to invest in a ticket, I urge you to consider doing so as it is likely to be an unforgettable experience.

Until next time!

Olympic site June 2011
Olympic Stadium June 2011   OLympic site June 2011   Olympic site June 2011

June 12th 2011


Another trip to the Olympic site today to see how things are getting on. Started out as a lovely morning with a clear sky but not too warm, in fact perfect for cycling, which lasted until we arrived in Stratford. It then started drizzling and by the time we were half way home it was tipping it down. Nothing was going to dampen my spirits though; I have been treated to a new Giant TCR Advanced, carbon fibre, bike by my parents (thanks Mum and Dad!) and this was its first proper outing. The difference between it and my previous Specialized Allez is amazing and I am beginning to think that I might actually enjoy cycling 110 miles a day for nine days on the trot!

I don't think that I have mentioned that the photographs on my blogs of the Olympic site have all been taken from the Olympic view tube. Today, when we turned up at just after 9am the Viewing Tube was just opening but the keys to the viewing tower had been lost. The photos have, therefore, been taken from ground level and this might explain why they do not look as nice as the previous images from March and April.

The red monstrosity (I mean the ArcelorMittal Orbit) has become a little more convoluted at its base since the last photos from the April 28th Blog but is, I think, about the same height. The main stadium is looking very impressive.


Posters up at SPC
North transept door poster   Spot the poster!   There it is!

June 10th 2011


The posters advertising the 'Went the Day Well?' Concert are up around St. Paul's Cathedral. Advertising space is very limited given all the events that are going on over the next few weeks, in particular the City of London Festival, and I am extremely grateful that St. Paul's Cathedral have given us space for two of our posters. One of these is in a fantastic postion on the fencing outside the North transept door and I hope that it will attract a large number of people. The second, on the South side of the Cathedral is less obvious as it is almost covered by a large amount of green shrubbery and I am tempted to go along there one night soon with a pair of shears (although it is probably not a very good idea to publicise this on this site as I am likely to be high up on the list of suspects when the powers that be go looking for the culprit resonsible for a bit of hedge trimming!)

Talking about the City of London Festival we are very honoured that the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer, and his wife, Lady Tessa Brewer are both attending the reception. Lady Brewer is the President of the City of London Festival and we are delighted that she has taken time out of her busy schedule to support our event.

The other big bit of news today is that the master recording of the anthem is complete and the CD is, as I write this, being pressed! With any luck it will be available within the next ten days or so. A big thank you to both Martin and Iestyn for all their hard work recording and editing the anthem.



CD cover design        

June 5th 2011


You now have a chance to listen to a part of the anthem and tell me what you think! Mr. Clive Marriott from St. Paul's Cathedral School had his video camera at the recording session on the 25th May and has taken some wonderful footage of the boys practising shortly before the actual recording began and he has very kindly sent this through to us. It is taken from the gallery next to the organ and gives you a view of the inside of the lovely St. Alban's Church in Holborn.

I hope you love the anthem as much as I do. The first edit of the recording has just been completed and requires a bit of final 'tweaking'. As soon as that has been done and everyone is happy it will be put onto CD. The CD casing artwork has been completed and is in press - once again an enormous thank you to Uncle Neville who has produced a fantastic design and I have included a picture of the front cover. We should have the finished product in the next couple of weeks!

Please come to the concert on the 29th June with as many friends as you can - it is going to be a fantastic evening I assure you. Buy your tickets by clicking on the banner at the top of this page.


  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010