Our Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, which took place on Wednesday 15th March, was a splendid finale to our 350th anniversary celebrations.
A highlight of the service was the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, sung by the Hoare’s Bank Choir with the kind support of David Hill MBE and the Bach Choir. This was especially fitting given Handel’s close link with Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital where Henry Hoare (‘the Magnificent’) was a governor. In 1749 the composer offered to conduct a benefit concert for the Foundling Hospital, ending with the Hallelujah Chorus. The concert was a huge success, and Messiah was subsequently performed annually in the Foundling Hospital Chapel until well after Handel’s death. The Hoare family and the bank have kept their own close association with Coram – the charity received one of our special ‘350’ grants – so it was profoundly meaningful for us to hear the Hallelujah Chorus ring out in the cathedral. Very many thanks to David Hill and the Bach Choir for affording our singers this wonderful opportunity.
There is another story, admittedly of dubious provenance, that the ‘green and pleasant land’ referenced in William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ was inspired by the countryside around Glastonbury. As Glastonbury Tor was owned by Richard Colt Hoare in the later part of the 18th century, we feel a certain affinity, and it was a joy to join in that great hymn with so many families who share the bank’s history.
We were deeply moved, too, by Revd. William Gulliford’s beautiful sermon on enduring faith and service. (You can find a copy of the sermon linked below.) We would also like to thank our readers, Alexander Armstrong, Sophie Alexander, and Robin Griffith-Jones.
Finally, sincere thanks are due to the Dean of St Paul’s for allowing us to hold our celebratory service in Lent. It was an unforgettable experience – from the first swell of the organ to the moment we poured out of the cathedral to the sound of bells in the rainy night.
We will treasure the memory for many years to come and are pleased to share some highlights of the service below: