I was thrilled to be invited to perform at the final concert of this year’s Windsor Festival on Sunday 28th September 2014 at Holy Trinity Garrison Church in St Leonards Road. It was great to see the church filled with around 400 people, including HRH The Earl of Wessex, for a special concert called 'In Flanders Fields' which paid tribute to those who fought in the First World War and also marked the Centenary.
I had great fun performing a medley of World War One songs, "Those magnificent Men and their Flying Machines," 'Sleep' by Ivor Gurney and 'The Holy City' by Stephen Adams with The Band of the Household Cavalry. The Band also performed wonderful pieces during the concert under the direction of W01 Band Master Colin Hales and Captain David Hammond. This was the first concert to be performed by The Band of the Household Cavalry who were formed in September 2014 with the union of The Band of The Life of Guards and The Band of the Blues and Royals, the two mounted bands of the British Army.
The concert also included beautiful music from Quire Voices and actress Amanda Root read moving readings and poems. It was an honour to be introduced to Patron of the Windsor Festival HRH the Earl of Wessex, other dignitaries and supporters at the Festival during the interval.
Holy Trinity is the only Parish Church and Garrison Church in the UK and was founded originally with a gift of 200 guineas from Queen Victoria, with other contributions coming from members of the Royal Family, Eton College, St. George's Chapel and generous locals.
Nearly all reigning monarchs since 1844 have visited Holy Trinity along with other members of the Royal family throughout the years. The most frequent royal visitor in recent years was Prince Harry when he was stationed in Combermere Barracks.
The church was designed by Sir Edward Blore (perhaps most well known for his work on Buckingham Palace) in the Germanic Neo Gothic style and built in the middle of the Clewer fields. Prince Albert laid the foundation stone in April 1842 and the church was consecrated in July 1844.
Queen Victoria loved Windsor and she specifically wanted Holy Trinity Church to be built to provide a spiritual home for the soldiers of the Foot Guards based at Victoria Barracks and the Horse Guards at Combermere Barracks. She also specified that the church should serve the poor who lived in the slums by the river (now the site of Alexandra Gardens). The church has permission to wear the White Ensign (the Royal Navy flag flown above ships and shore establishments) and proudly supports HM Armed forces.
There are beautiful memorials to over 20,000 men who lost their lives in conflicts over the last 200 years on display throughout the church. I really enjoyed learning about a very special World War One memorial, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, which lit up the altar and depicts the soldiers praying in trenches of the Somme.
The concert will be broadcast on Classic FM at a later date.