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On December 3rd, Jean Martyn was invited to play for the Not Forgotten Association at St. James Palace in front of the Princess Royal.
Many have asked her what happened that day and so she now shares a run down of events as they happened. Really interesting reading. OrganFax also have an article along with photos available here.
Arrived at the Palace door where 2 police officers checked our identity – then Bob and I were taken up a magnificent staircase into the concert room. There was a Christmas tree which had to be 11 feet high. The décor was deep red and gold, and we were taken on a tour of the state rooms which were being prepared – tables being laid etc. The throne room was magnificent with beautiful chandeliers. The Musket room was a deep green colour with tapestries adorning the walls, and above the black fireplace hung a huge display of muskets and swords. The artists arrived and rehearsals began with me playing a yamaha black grand piano. A dressing room was provided and refreshments were laid out. There was a beautiful array of drinks and food, water, coffee, tea, fruit juices even wine, mulled wine and lager.
There were salmon and cucumber sandwiches, cheese and tomato, beef, ham, mince pies, scones with fresh cream and a strawberry on the top, and a beautiful sponge cake with a sprig of fresh redcurrants on the top.
As the guests arrived there was music being played by four coldstream guards bandsmen, welcoming the guests with carols. Dame Vera Lynn arrived, and was taken to a room to give a radio interview with her daughter Virginia. She came over to me after the interview to have a photograph taken. I also had my photograph taken with Tony Blackburn, the Soldiers, and Rolf Harris. Also there as celebrity guests were Esther Rantzen, Kate Adie, Hannah Gordon and Moira Stuart, as well as the Chelsea pensioners and war veterans from world wars. The celebrities and Artists mingled with the Guests, and then the Band played a fanfare to announce the arrival of HRH The Princess Royal.
Formally introduced to HRH Princess Ann by her aide Sir Michael Parker. She said “Hello Jean, you're on trial today aren't you?" I said “It looks like it” smiling to myself. “Do you like the piano” she asked. “Yes” I replied “Its a Yamaha Grand and I used to work for them years ago”. The Princess then said ”I won't be at the concert as I have an engagement this evening but I will listen in my flat upstairs so I will hear you there”. I said “I hope I don't make any mistakes then” She replied “I am sure you won't make any! You've come here highly recommended! Enjoy the rest of your day!” The Princess then continued to meet the other guests. Rolf Harris stood beside me – he was great fun.
The concert began. First I accompanied the two girls from Mama Mia, and sang with them, then I played the Warsaw Concerto – this ended with what seemed like an applause which was never ending! The Soldiers sang their hit song 'Coming Home'. Kate Adie gave a speech. Rolf Harris sang his new Christmas release 'Christmas in the Sun' and then I accompanied the Swingtime Sweethearts and then we were all singing and were joined by Dame Vera Lynn. What a wonderful occasion especially when Dame Vera Lynn and the Swingtime Sweethearts asked me to join them for the finale of that wonderful song Land of Hope and Glory, where I was able to sing that song with such a wonderful lady... Dame Vera Lynn. After the concert had ended I had a kiss on the cheek and congratulations from Esther Rantzen, the same from Hannah Gordon and Rolf Harris kept counting my fingers to see how many I had and Dame Vera Lynn signed my music with the words “YOURS” Vera Lynn.
Dame Vera and Hannah Gordon both said “Brilliant Performance” and Dougie Squires who made it all happen said “You moved them – they just loved YOU – your performance of the 'The Warsaw Concerto' was a triumph".
I have never felt so proud and happy and of course... I was wearing my ROTARY IFRM BADGE!!!
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