Central Hall Westminster hosted a charity gala music evening on Thursday 6th September to mark the centenary of the end of First World War hostilities, attended by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The Royal Armouries’ 100 Days to Peace was a one-off gala evening of music and reflection, held in the central London venue’s Great Hall and featuring Sir Karl Jenkins and hosted by Lesley Garrett CBE.
Proceeds from the evening, attended by over 1,500, benefited three charities – Help for Heroes; Combat Stress and Heads Together - The Royal Foundation’s campaign and mental health initiative – all of whose work supports military veterans suffering from mental health conditions.
On arrival at the iconic early-20th Century venue situated opposite Westminster Abbey, The Duke and Duchess were greeted by the Royal Armouries Chair of Trustees, General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL and the Reverend Tony Miles, Deputy Superintendent of the church, Methodist Central Hall.
The highlight of the evening saw Sir Karl Jenkins, one of the most performed living composers in the world, conduct his internationally-acclaimed The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. Performed by the Royal Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra with a solo by Kathryn Rudge, this was the only performance in England this year of one of the award-winning composer’s best-loved works that was conducted by Sir Karl himself. The stirring music was performed against a backdrop of Hefin Owen’s film of The Armed Man.
Sir Karl Jenkins composed The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace in 1999 when he was commissioned by the Royal Armouries to write a piece of music that marked the start of the new millennium and reflected the renewed hope for the future.
In addition to hosting the evening, Lesley Garrett performed two songs, poignant reminders of the First World War including a poem by WB Yeats, set to music by Sir Karl Jenkins.
Samuel Bordoli’s The Great Silence, was also performed by the Royal Choral Society, whilst the 2018 Armistice installation, There But Not There, for the charity Remembered, honoured the memory of those killed in the First World War.
Lord Dannatt commented: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the Central Hall Westminster for this commemorative event. We have been overwhelmed by the support shown by our sponsors, ambassadors and all three beneficiary charities.”
“The Royal Armouries is committed to making a difference to the thousands of ex-service men and women living with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related mental health conditions.”
Paul Southern, Managing Director of Central Hall Westminster, added: “We were truly honoured to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex through our doors for this superb charity event which reflects our own values. As a charity ourselves existing to help others, we felt extremely proud to provide such a fitting venue for this event.”