Plaisterers visit to the World Premier of ‘To Be a Saint’ performed in Peterborough Cathedral

22 March 2024


The Plaisterers’ Platinum Jubilee Fund 2022

A Fitting Finale • 5 March 2024

In 2022, the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust created a fund of £100,000 in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's historic reign of 70 years and used to mark in a meaningful and philanthropic way special anniversaries with several of our affiliates, including the Royal Marines, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, Peterborough Cathedral, 282 (East Ham) RAF Air Cadets and HMS Dragon. The Fund has supported fantastic projects which would not have been possible without the financial assistance of the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust.

A fitting finale to the Fund was a collaboration between Peterborough Cathedral and the composer and conductor Alexander L’Estrange, resulting in the World Premiere of TO BE A SAINT.

For 60 glorious minutes, over 200 primary school children from seven schools in the diocese of Peterborough, accompanied by piano, organ and a jazz ensemble, conducted by the composer himself Alexander L’Estrange, sang four songs titled, Oh Saint Nicholas, The A-Z of Saints, St Francis and To Be a Saint. The children sang with gusto, following the exuberance and musical pulse of the composer/conductor Alexander who gyrated on his podium, extracting every last ounce from his singers. The performance was rapturously received by a packed audience, including our Master and Consort and several members of the Plaisterers’ Company. The music will be made available to schools worldwide to use in their assemblies, music lessons and concerts. So, the Saints will ‘Go Marching On’

The Dean, the Very Revd Christopher Dalliston reflecting the mood ‘in the room’ spoke of filling the Cathedral with youth, music and joy. It truly was a joyous occasion. We were all touched by the singing of the ‘little saints’, the music of Alexander L’Estrange and the lyrics of Joanna Forbes L’Estrange and the Cathedral’s Rowan Clare Williams.  

The Cathedral’s Director of Music, Tansy Castledine was profuse in her thanks to the Plaisterers, telling her audience that this performance was the second part of a celebration of our 40th Anniversary, the first being the performance of the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, again by primary school children in Peterborough. Tansy conceived the Vision for this project with a focus on the training and education of children in the Diocese who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with the Cathedral in a meaningful way. From where we Plaisterers sat, she achieved that and so much more.

This concert formally closes the Plaisterers’ Platinum Jubilee Fund. Let us be inspired by Saint Francis and his famous quote:

“For it is in Giving that we Receive”