New Organ Work is a Blazing Success

The Bakers' newly-commissioned organ work for this Great Fire year had its World Premiere on 11 February 2016 at All Hallows' by the Tower.

Composed and played by the highly talented young musician, Ben McGettigan, this magnificent new organ work 'London Ablaze' commemorates 850 years of the rhythmical baking of our daily bread interspersed by three calamitous City of London infernos - the Great Fire of 1666, the Thames Street fire of 1715 and the Blitz of 1940 - each costing the Bakers Company its Livery Hall on the site the Company has owned since 1506.

The large and distinguished audience present included Sheriff Dr Christine Rigden, several Livery Masters and their Clerks, the Clerk of the Chamberlains Court, the Chairman of the Livery Committee and many Liverymen and their guests.

Ben, astonishingly for such a mature and rousing work, is just 19 years of age. He drew inspiration for the 10 minute work from the three spectacular John Piper windows in Bakers Hall and the Bakers history '1666 and All That' which is available from the Clerk's office. The performance was the central part of an hour long organ recital led by Jonathan Melling, Director of Music at All Hallows'. The picture above is of Ben playing, with Jonathan observing.

At a Reception afterwards at Bakers Hall the Master, Colin Reese QC, warmly congratulated Ben on this exceptional work and its valuable contribution to the City's commemorations for Great Fire 350.

The Master expressed the appreciation of all Liverymen of the Company for the guidance given to Ben by Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, an eminent organist himself, some of which was during the time Dr Parmley was also the 2014/15 Sheriff of the City of London.

Also the Master gave thanks to Rev Bertrand Olivier, Vicar of All Hallows' and Chaplain to the Company, and to Jonathan Melling, for their considerable assistance to Ben and the Company for this memorable occasion.

It was a great pleasure to see the support given to Ben by his family, with his sister, parents and grandparents travelling from various parts of the country to join us.

Ben started composing 'London Ablaze' for the Company in late 2014, while still at school. From September 2016 Ben will be studying at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich.

The Master closed the Reception by presenting Ben with a signed book on the history of the City of London, wishing Ben every success in what promises to be a fine musical career and echoing the thoughts of us all in hoping to welcome Ben back to Bakers Hall in the future.