Festival of St Cecilia - Help Musicians UK

Wednesday 21st November 2018

According to legend, St Cecilia was a Roman woman of noble birth who was martyred for her Christian faith around the year 230 AD. Having resolved to live a chaste existence, her father betrothed her to a Roman man against her wishes and it is said that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". St Cecilia converted her husband to Christianity and together they preached the gospel until they were captured and executed. She has since become the Patron Saint of Musicians and her saints day is November 22.

For 72 of its 97 years in existence, the Festival of St Cecilia has been the flagship event and highlight in the calendar of Help Musicians UK. It is one of the leading charities for musicians, providing support and opportunities to artists from all backgrounds across the country. The charity addresses not simply professional development but also a musician's well-being and in 2017 it did so for around 14,000 people in the music sector.

The event organised by Help Musicians UK brings together the choirs of Westminster Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and is held alternatively at Westminster Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral. This year it was the latter and the event was supported by many patrons and organisations including 40 Livery Companies including the Tobacco Pipe Makers.

The Service was excellent, containing choral work and music that can only be described as sublime. We heard excellent readings from the Chairman of Help Musicians UK, Graham Sheffield CBE, and the actress, Jane Asher. A standout musical solo performance was given by Milos Karadaglic, a guitar player of international acclaim. The Preacher that day was the Reverend Richard Coles, the former instrumentalist half of 1980s pop band The Communards, together with Jimmy Somerville! This event is truly a wonder in every way.