A special choral music event to celebrate World Leprosy Day has raised over £2,000 for leprosy charity Lepra. Voices for Change took place recently and saw Cantata Dramatica perform “Treasures of Byzantine” at the iconic St Stephen Walbrook church in London.

A sold-out crowd witnessed the performance, which featured ‘Between Sea and Sky’ comprising three poems set to music by Irish composer Solfa Carlile and the World premiere of Nick Bicat’s ‘Akathistos’, a dramatic retelling of the famous Orthodox Hymn that saved Byzantium from the Persian Siege in 626AD.  

Geoff (far left) Charles (centre) Roger (far right)

Cantata Dramatica’s Director of Music, James Potter, led the Cantata Dramatica chorus, soloists and instrumentalists while Frances M. Lynch played the lead role of Pulcheria in ‘Akathistos’, with the Community Choir of St Stephen joining for the finale. Dancers from the University of Middlesex, choreographed by Sian Hopkins added an exciting visual element, while the iconic venue itself, just metres away from where Lepra was founded 95 years prior was an important part of the performance.

In attendance was guest speaker Roger Wright, CEO of Snape Maltings and the Aldeburgh Music Festival who spoke about his experience with leprosy while Lepra Chairman, Charles Bland, and CEO, Geoff Prescott, were on hand speaking about Lepra’s work to help find, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate the 7 million people affected by leprosy.

Roger Wright

Guests were encouraged to sign Lepra’s petition, to end use of the word ‘leper’ and leprosy as a way of describing bad outcomes or situations. The petition currently has over 700 signatures and can be found at www.bit.ly/BeatLeprosyWLD.

Guests were also encouraged to take part in “Your Present, Their Future” and donate their birthday or special event to Lepra in 2019, more details can be found at https://www.lepra.org.uk/your-present-their-future

 

Charles speech

Charles Bland, Chairman of Lepra said of the event:

“The event has been a tremendous success thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of all involved. We thank everyone for giving their time and endeavours to making this such a special night. This event has helped to bring this curable disease back to the forefront and was a wonderful way to begin our 95th year. We will beat leprosy together.”