FWA-UK, Friendship Matinee 13 Dec – Royal Albert Hall

BY DINA TRINIDAD, FWA-UK MEMBER OF PUBLICITY COMMITEE

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”

– ELF (my favourite christmas film)

So, we did, and at the Royal Albert Hall, no less! The members of FWA-UK with their senior citizen guests met up outside Gates 6 and 9 and were ushered into our seats by the wonderful staff of the Royal Albert Hall, who were all very accommodating, it almost felt as if you were being welcomed into their home.

Our seats had a spectacular view of the stage and the architectural detail of the building left me in awe. On my way to the ladies, the hallway was lined with photos of famous artists who performed at the venue, from those who have long gone to the more current ones, 150 years of history!

There are very few iconic buildings in the world today that can move you in the same way. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, had the vision of creating a venue that would promote understanding and appreciation of the Arts and Sciences. Fast forward to a century and a half later, it has managed to do just that, and more, and not only for the elite, but for every member of society.

The Friendship Matinee is an annual event that welcomes people of all ages who engage with a charity or community group. FWA-UK has been fortunate enough to secure tickets yearly for this event.

Performing that day was no other than the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, whose rendition of Tchaikovsky’s familiar Nutcracker piece was enough to remind anyone of past Christmases spent in an entirely different world void of masks and social distancing. The succeeding numbers, alongside the Royal Choral Society, combined with Christmas carols for the audience to join in, were melodic, the special appearance of the 4 soldiers from the Coldstream Guards resplendent in red uniform blowing their trumpets made the whole event even more special. We gave our best performance singing along to the carols.

Hosted by no other than the enigmatic and ageless Baroness Floella Benjamin, who enthralled the audience with her wit and humour, the acoustics of the hall reverberated with laughter and song that afternoon. If there was ever a time to feel the spirit of Christmas, it was definitely that very moment. It was my first time to join the ladies that day, and it certainly won’t be my last!

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