Sixty years on, The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace is trying to locate the choristers who were chosen to sing at the 1953 Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Four choristers from The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace sang with the choir of over 400 men and boys at this historical event. Together with a full orchestra, the total number of musicians was 480.
The Choral Foundation has managed to track down two of the four choristers, Mr Alan Sanders and Mr Nigel Palk; but has yet to find Mr John C Pickles and Mr Howard Watson. Can anyone out there help?
Mr Alan Sanders, who was aged twelve at the time, was a member of The Chapel Royal Choir and has been a member of the congregation and sidesman at The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court for many years. We were able to trace Mr Nigel Palk through Bromley Council from which he had retired as Chief Executive. Mr Louis Halsey, a member of the Chapel Royal congregation who sang alto as at the Coronation representing Trinity College Cambridge, will also be attending the celebrations, as will Kingston resident, Christopher Herrick, who was a St Paul’s chorister. This will be the first time that they will have met up since that historic day 60 years ago.
On Sunday 2 June 2013, there will be a special Evensong service at 3:30 PM at The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace commemorating the Coronation to which members of the Coronation Choir have been invited. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.
A private celebration tea hosted by The Choral Foundation with support from Historic Royal Palaces Memories Team will take place at the palace after Evensong. Memorabilia from the Coronation Choir will be on display and the Coronation Choristers will be talking to current choristers about what life was like as a chorister sixty years ago.
Michele Price, Manager of The Choral Foundation commented “A special cake has been ordered. It really would be the ‘icing on the cake’ if we could locate Mr Pickles and Mr Watson in time to invite them to our celebration on 2 June or to make a return visit to the Chapel Royal on another occasion. Hampton Court choristers were very proud to play such an important role on a day of national celebration and our choristers continue to serve Her Majesty today.”
The Choral Foundation is a registered charity which is raising £1.5m to ensure that the 500 year old musical heritage of The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace will continue for future generations.