Organisers of the highly anticipated ‘A Macmillan Christmas’ carol concert at St John’s, Smith Square and ‘Carols by Candlelight’ at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge, are asking their fans to get their festive fix of singing through an online concert this year, as their usual event has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The virtual concert, to be hosted by a raft of A-list celebrities and aptly named ‘Follow the Stars’, will feature world-class musicians and will aim to recreate the yuletide magic of the London concerts.
Judy Spence, chair of the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ committee who was due to organise the much-loved event in its 30th year, said: “We were crushed when we found out we couldn’t put on the carol concert this year. Every year it gets hundreds of people into the festive spirit and we aim to raise around £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support to help fund services like our Macmillan cancer nurse specialists, support workers and cancer information specialists based at all the major London hospitals.”
“It’s not just about missing out on the performances, we are mainly concerned about the lost fundraising which means there will an impact on Macmillan’s services in London and people living with cancer who need our support now more than ever. So, we really hope that our supporters will enjoy our virtual event this year and help us raise funds for Macmillan.”
Set to take part in the virtual concert include Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Greg Wise, Alexander Armstrong and Benjamin Zephaniah, delivering seasonal readings and poetry, many from their own homes.
Musical performances will include world-leading baritones Roderick Williams and Christopher Purves as well as the Oxford Bach Soloists directed by Tom Hammond-Davies.
Alexander Armstrong’s son and chorister, Paddy Armstrong, will also perform during the concert.
Alexandra Schimmel, Macmillan Senior Supporter Events Manager added: “As well as raising vital funds for Macmillan, this year’s virtual concert will also allow households to enjoy some festive cheer and get into the Christmas spirit during this time of social distancing. And we’ll look forward to the return of the spectacular ‘A Macmillan Christmas’ and ‘Carols by Candlelight’ concerts in London next year.”
The online concert will premiere online on Friday 11th December at 8pm and will be available to view until 31st December. It will be free to stream, with viewers invited to make a donation to Macmillan. To find out more and for the link to the live stream, visit macmillan.org.uk/followthestars