On the evening of Friday 19th January, St Mary’s Calne hosted a spectacular concert with Derek Paravicini and his Quartet, along with members of the school’s Junior Consort, Opera Ensemble, Flute Group, Big Band and the finalists of the Sir Bryn Terfel Song Prize. The evening was raising money for Wiltshire Sight Centenary celebrations and The Calne Foundation Trust and was introduced by Lady Lansdowne – Patron of the Calne Foundation Trust and President of Wiltshire Sight.
Derek is 38 years old – and he has spent the last 36 years of his life making music! There is no doubt that Derek is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musical entertainers of his generation. Yet he is blind, autistic and has severe learning difficulties. Dubbed ‘The Human iPod’ in the USA, Derek has a repertoire of tens of thousands of pieces – all learnt very rapidly, simply by listening to them. He first shot to fame when he was just nine years old, playing jazz with the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London. Numerous national and regional television appearances followed, in the UK and overseas.
Mrs Bethan Dudley Fryar, Director of Vocal Studies at St Mary’s Calne said “This concert reflects our unstinting support for local charities and it is always a pleasure to invite the community into the school and share not only the talents of international artists but also the burgeoning musicianship of our pupils. Our extraordinary special guest, blind pianist Derek Paravicini, amazed pupils and the wider community with astonishing virtuosity, proving how adversity can be overcome using music to connect with the world. It was a powerful message to us all.”
The school has raised approximately £10,000 which will be shared between Wiltshire Sight and The Calne Foundation Trust.