The Livery Lunch is a relatively new event in our calendar, and was institutedin 2009, by Past Master Susan Wood. It provides an opportunity for Liverymen, and their spouses and partners, and particularly those who might find it difficult to attend evening events, to enjoy an informal lunch together.
This year’s lunch took place on (a scorching) Wednesday 17th July at the Cavalry and Guards’ Club. With temperatures in the low thirties, and as our Master mentioned in his introductory remarks, a ‘warm’ welcome from the Company to its members and their guests was certainly not lacking! However, our Company was, as ever, undaunted in the face of adversity, and, following grace by our Chaplain (and a welcome invitation to the gentlemen to remove their jackets), forty of us sat down to enjoy some excellent food, wine and conversation. The occasion was further brightened by the delightful display of summer hats, in a variety of styles, worn by the ladies present.
Following the toasts to Her Majesty, and to the Royal Family, Master Anthony Phillips introduced our speaker, Miss Emma Whitaker, Principal of Mercer Investment Consulting, and Chairman of the Trustees of the St. Paul’s Cathedral Chorister Trust. We were very interested to hear from her about the aims and objectives of the Trust, which principally focus on financial support to the parents of talentedboys suffering financial hardship, whose sons would not otherwise be able to accept a place at the School.The Trust awards scholarships and bursaries, thus enabling these youngsters to have the unique experience of membership of the choir.
We were also most interested to learn about the wide range of music and academic subjects undertaken by the boys, and their very hardworking lives. The thirty boy choristers are the only boarders in the 250 strong school, and are chosen for their musical ability and promise. In addition to choral singing, each boy learns two musical instruments, and pursues the usual prep’ school curriculum. Their lives are busy, and they perform to an enormously practised and professional standard throughout the School terms, and also during the Cathedral’s major festivals including Christmas and Easter, as well as at exceptional events such as the recent funeral of Baroness Thatcher. Health, and wider interests, however, are certainly not overlooked. The Livery has the opportunity to see the Choir in action at the Sons of the Clergy, and at the United Guilds’ services, and, of course at the regular services held at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In concluding this very pleasant luncheon, the Master thanked our speaker most warmly for her fascinating talk, commenting that, during his year, he has spent a great deal of time in the Cathedral, and certainly endorsed the truly excellent standard achieved by the Choir.