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West Ilsley musician plays part in Sir Simon Rattle event for life-saver charity



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“Music is one of the treasures of our country, it is one of the great industries. This is one of our greatest glories and we must look after it.” Sir Simon Rattle.

West Ilsley musician, composer and arranger Nick Ellis was recently involved in an unusual evening of art and music with Sir Simon Rattle in aid of the charity Help Musicians.

Sir Simon Rattle CBE took to a very different stage last week as he was sculpted live by acclaimed artist Frances Segelman, in aid of the charity which the respected conductor has been an ambassador of for many years.

Francis Segelman sculpting Sir Simon Rattle
Francis Segelman sculpting Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon said: “Being a musician is wonderful, but it’s really tough. We have to look after our musicians; we have to encourage our musicians as much as we can because we need music. It could be five-10 years before we see the effect of what we just went through so we all have to do a lot of tender loving care. This charity really, really helps, it has been a lifesaver to so many musicians, not even metaphorically but literally.”

Commenting on the challenges of moving online during the pandemic, Sir Simon said: “I cannot tell you what a pain it’s been playing at a distance [online] for a year-and-a-half. We did all we could online, but music is meant to be in a room with people, it’s meant to go directly backwards and forwards. Online is only second best. We’re meant to be together and we’re meant to experience music together.”

The unique visual event, which took place at the stunningly renovated Garrison Chapel, Chelsea, featured an evening of art and music. As well as conversation with Sir Simon and Frances, guests were entertained by internationally-renowned harpist Catrin Finch and her Ensemble, including clarinettist/flautist/bansuri player Nick Ellis, with a backdrop of bronzes of the Royal family by Frances Segelman, and an exhibition of original watercolours by 72 artists from around the world, documenting the flora of Highgrove Gardens.

Nick Ellis, left, in the Catrin Finch Ensemble
Nick Ellis, left, in the Catrin Finch Ensemble

The fundraising night, hosted by Sir Jack and Lady Petchey (Frances Segelman), was in aid of Help Musicians, the charity that has been supporting musicians across the UK for 100 years. Sadly, the impact of Coronavirus has meant the charity has been needed more than ever over the past 18 months. To date, it has delivered £18m to help over 19,000 musicians to survive in the face of an abrupt halt to live music, the primary source of income for thousands of musicians across the UK. As an independent charity, Help Musicians relies on the kind support of its donors and advocates, especially as it now works to help musicians recover their careers.

Nick said: "What a privilege to perform with the Catrin Finch Ensemble in aid of such a great cause. This past couple of years has been incredibly challenging for musicians, many of whom have lost their entire livelihoods due to cancelled work over the course of the pandemic.

"The support of Help Musicians has literally changed many musicians' lives, and we are so grateful to Sir Simon Rattle and Frances Segelman for lending their support."

Frances Segelman said: “My father was a musician, which has given me a profound sense of empathy for musicians and the financial challenges they face, especially these past couple of years. Music and art is at the core of who we all are, so I am truly delighted to highlight the work of Help Musicians by sculpting the legendary Simon Rattle - how inspiring that he has given his time in this way to show solidarity with his fellow musicians."

Garrison Chapel
Garrison Chapel

The finished bust - which is being donated by Frances to Help Musicians - is the latest in her ongoing series of the great and the good, which includes Help Musicians’ Patron The Queen, Prince Charles, Dame Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley and many more.



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