SHIRLEY J. THOMPSON COMPOSES MUSIC FOR SPECIAL SERVICE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY TO MARK 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST OF THE WINDRUSH GENERATION

22nd June 2018; noon; Westminster Abbey

A special service is being held at noon on 22 June 2018 at Westminster Abbey to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948 at Tilbury Docks.

The thanksgiving service 'Spirit of Windrush -Contributions to Multicultural Britain' will feature a brand-new work ‘Psalm to Windrush: for the Brave and Ingenious’ for Solo Voices and Organ, written by British/Jamaican composer, Shirley J. Thompson and commissioned by the Windrush Commemoration Committee. The new composition, based on Psalm 84 (‘How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!’), will feature the soprano voices of Nadine Benjamin and Gweneth-Ann Rand, tenor Ronald Samm, baritone Bryon Jackson and organist Peter Holder and directed by Thompson herself. This new psalm reflects on the anticipation of the journey and highlights the significant contribution of the Windrush Generation to the rebuilding of Britain after the war and to the very fabric of its life thereafter. It ends with the hope that generations to follow will be afforded the opportunity to build on those strong legacies.

Noted Thompson: “I am thrilled that people from the Windrush Generation are at last being recognised for their phenomenal achievements. They helped to build the UK and changed the face of Britain so that it is now the culturally dynamic centre of the world. ‘Psalm to Windrush’ is my tribute to the bravery and ingenuity that I witnessed first hand and not least to my own family, who taught me everything I know about life”.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, will officiate at the service in the Windrush Cope, a liturgical vestment that has been specifically created to mark the 70th anniversary year. The sermon will be delivered by The Revd Canon Joel Edwards, the first African-Caribbean person to be appointed as General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, a representative body for over 1 million Christians. Other participants will include a 70th Anniversary Windrush Choir, directed by Karen Gibson, Gospel soloist Carla Jane and the Shernall Street Methodist Steel Band.

Dr Joe Aldred, a child of the Windrush Generation and Chair of the ecumenical Windrush Service Planning Committee said: "This special service gives the nation an opportunity to learn about a major era in Britain's migration history”.

 

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