St Mary’s Calne was hugely proud to host a memorial concert to celebrate the life and music of Sir David Willcocks CBE, MC at Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 20th November 2016. Along with visiting choirs from St Margaret’s Preparatory, Farleigh, Sandroyd and Salisbury Cathedral Schools and musicians from the West of England Youth Orchestra, St Mary’s girls sang and performed many pieces of choral music with particular links to Sir David.
Our special performers included composers and musicians Bob Chilcott, David Bednall and James Lancelot and Sir David’s son Jonathan who had written a new piece Sing unto the Lord in memory of his father. Old Girls, Emily Armour and Alexandra Coghlan, also performed as well as many other Calne Girls, parents and staff who joined the community choir for Parry’s I was Glad.
The concert opened and closed with Britten’s procession and recession from A Ceremony of Carols and included many other beautiful pieces: Bob Chilcott’s Mid Winter, movements from David Bednall’s Requiem and Jonathan Willcock’s Sing unto the Lord. The audience also joined in with Hark! The herald-angels sing and O come, all ye faithful with Sir David’s world-famous descants lifting the wonderful singing to the rafters of Salisbury Cathedral.
The evening was attended by over 600 guests including Lady Willcocks and her family and the event costs were generously sponsored by the Calne Girls’ Association. The concert raised nearly £30,000 for bursaries and scholarships at St Mary’s Calne.
Jonathan Willcocks said:
“What a completely marvellous event last night was! My family were all so moved to be present at such a wonderful tribute to my late father - who would have been so proud and honoured that so much time, effort and musical energy and skill had been harnessed in his memory.
I thought that all the performers rose to the occasion magnificently, and the organisation of such a complex event was simply brilliant. The structure and balance of the programme fitted the occasion so well, and to have it staged in a building of such beauty and grandeur that played so important a part in my father's early career was perfect.”