THE STORY BEHIND THE ANTHEM
I first came across the epitaph, 'Went the Day Well?', written by John Maxwell Edmonds, during the Remembrance Day Service at St. Paul's Cathedral in 2010 when I was trying to come up with ideas about how to raise money for Help for Heroes. Its full meaning became clear during that service and I decided that it would be wonderful if it could be put to music.
It was obvious to me who I would ask to sing this Anthem: My youngest brother, Harry, is a Chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral and I was hopeful that I would be able to convince the musical director at the Cathedral, Andrew Carwood, that the choristers should sing it. But who should I ask to compose it? I am a keen musician but I do not consider myself able to write music (or at least anything that I would be willing to ask anyone to listen to!). The obvious choice was Ben Parry, currently the Director of the Junior Royal Academy of Music in London. Ben was my Director of Music at St. Paul's School in Barnes before he took over the JRAM position and is a wonderful teacher, composer, conductor, singer.......I could go on but won't; instead go to his website by clicking on his name to see his CV.
In retrospect, it was a massive imposition on my part to assume that he would be happy to help me simply out of the goodness of his heart, but that is exactly what he did! I are hugely grateful to him.
After that I approached Andrew Carwood, the Director of Music at St. Paul's Cathedral and Neil Chippington, the Headmaster at St. Paul's Cathedral School, both of whom were extremely helpful; I have been bowled over by the enthusiastic response from everyone whom I asked to help out. A subsequent letter from me seeking permission from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral to allow the Choristers to perform this 'New work' had a positive response.