AFP Photo / Ben Stansall
Come April 29, Westmister Abbey will be filled with music.
Elspeth Lodge Mar 16, 2011 – 4:34 PM ET | Last Updated: Mar 16, 2011 4:35 PM ET
James Blunt decided to play an early April Fool’s joke on Monday, saying in an interview he would be playing the church organ at the royal wedding. The singer later admitted he was just kidding, but not before the world’s media had a field day.
So who’s actually playing at the wedding?
The Prince and Kate Middleton released the list of performers on Wednesday, and, like the couple, the choices are low key and traditional, rooted in the heritage of the church of England.
A palace insider said to the Telegraph: “You won’t see any individual performers at the service.”
A spokesman said: “Both Prince William and Miss Middleton have taken a great deal of interest and care in choosing the music for their service, which will include a number of well-known hymns and choral works as well as some specially commissioned pieces.”
Fanfare teams from the Royal Air Force and the Household Cavalry will be among the musicians performing at the wedding, said Buckingham Palace.
The trumpet players will be among those filling Westminster Abbey with music, alongside the abbey’s official choir, the Chapel Royal Choir and the London Chamber Orchestra. They will be performing well-known hymns and choral works as well as some specially commissioned pieces, the palace said.
Twenty boys and 12 professional adult singers make up the Choir of Westminster Abbey, while 10 boy choristers and six professional singers make up the Chapel Royal Choir.
The choir boys will don their “distinctive post-Civil War uniforms, similar those worn by the Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters, at the Tower of London” writes the Telegraph.
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
Eight year old boys walk to the Westminster Abbey Choir School. They will eventually sing in the Abbey every day. The choristers, who board at the school in the Abbey grounds, will also take part in major services up to the age of 14.
“The choir itself dates back at least to the era of the Norman Conquest,” officials told the newspaper. “Its primary roles are to sing the weekly service in the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace and to perform for the royal family on special occasions.”
Two fanfare teams have been asked to play, including seven members of the central band of the RAF and eight members of the Household Cavalry. One of the teams is likely to herald the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II in the abbey.
Christopher Warren-Green will conduct the London Chamber Orchestra, which will comprise 39 musicians on the day, located in the organ loft of the abbey.
The Buckingham Palace, opera house and FA Cup final veterans will perform a series of classic anthems as Prince William and Kate Middleton are driven in an open carriage along The Mall after the Westminster Abbey ceremony, reports the London Evening Standard.
Following the ceremony, Prince Charles’ official harpist, Claire Jones, will perform at a reception for 600 guests at Buckingham Palace hosted by the queen.
“This is an historic occasion and one that I know I will never forget. It truly is a dream come true,” Ms. Jones said.
She added: “I’m now looking forward to discussing a repertoire for the reception, which I expect will include some Welsh music to celebrate the couple’s current connection with north Wales.”
What if you just can’t wait till the wedding to get a taste of the music?
Well, lucky you: On April 4 a special pre-wedding album will be released.”The Band of the Welsh Guards has signed a £1m record contract to release the songs it will perform at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton,” reports the BBC.
Major Stephen Barnwell, the band’s director of music, told the BBC: “Guards bands are the backbone of royal ceremonies and are recognised the world over. “Prince Charles is very close to the regiment and we are very proud to have his royal highness as our regimental colonel.”
The BBC reports:
“Album tracks include God Save The Queen, Land Of Hope And Glory and Land Of My Fathers, and combines the themes of royalty and Welsh heritage. God Bless The Prince of Wales features a blaze of trumpets, choir and timpani, while Men Of Harlech was described by Maj. Barnwell as “the best version I’ve ever heard played by a band”.
The band’s director of music, Major Steve Barnwell, told the Standard: “There is only one country in the world that can do pomp and ceremony the way we do.”
With Files From AFP