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Beaufort Society spring meeting 2021

Posted on Jun 24

2 min read

Beaufort Society Events & News

Once again the Beaufort Society logged in to Zoom to enjoy an online gathering from their homes on Saturday 22 May. The Society’s President, the Lord Browne of Madingley, hosted the occasion and welcomed the group to the spring meeting.

After thanking everyone for their continued commitment to the College and acknowledging the tremendous impact that legacies of all sizes have on every aspect of life at St John’s, Lord Browne spoke about the unprecedented Free Places scheme (the UK’s most generous student support programme) that the College has recently launched. This ground-breaking initiative has widespread media attention and will cover tuition fees, accommodation costs and living expenses for students from lower-income backgrounds. Find out more about Free Places and how you can support this pioneering scheme.

Lord Browne also mentioned the exciting opportunity the College has to obtain a Willis Organ for the Chapel. Henry Willis, commonly known as ‘Father’ Willis, was the greatest organ builder of the Victorian age, the same period in which the Chapel was built, and a Willis organ has become available for sale. St John’s will be the perfect home for the instrument, creating a synergy between the Choirs, the organ and the Chapel architecture. The College has launched a fundraising campaign with an aim to install the instrument at the end of 2024.

With the emotional power and love of music in mind, Beaufort members then enjoyed the pinnacle of the event – a virtual concert.

The concert was filmed in advance in the Old Divinity School, and the resulting video features six extremely talented undergraduate students who are currently reading Music at St John’s: Leo Appel, Aïda Lahlou, Hannah Patterson, Alex Semple, Emily Trubshaw and George Herbert.

After a difficult year with little opportunity for live performance, having a chance to rehearse their exam recital pieces in this way proved to be beneficial for the musicians as well as a special treat for members of the Beaufort Society.

For musicians, performance is not simply a passion, it’s a way of life, it is a raison d’être, it is the basis of their identity, and many of the students… have said how difficult it has been for them not to have that lifeblood of their existence on offer over the last fifteen or so months of the pandemic

Professor John Rink

It is thanks to the brilliance of Professor John Rink, Professor of Musical Performance Studies, Fellow and Director of Studies at St John’s, that this concert was brought to fruition. He recorded a welcome message to introduce the performers, and, following the performances, he joined the live event for a Q&A, during which guests had the opportunity to ask about the recitals and about music more generally at St John’s. Thank you to everyone who attended on the evening, and to the rest of the Beaufort Society for their continued generosity and friendship. We hope to see many of you in person as soon as this is feasible. In the meantime, you can watch the virtual concert on the College’s YouTube channel: