For the first time ever in the Royal Albert Hall’s 150-year history, a concert will be given behind closed doors to an empty auditorium. Katherine Jenkins will perform a VE Day 75th anniversary concert this Bank Holiday Friday. The event will last for half an hour and be streamed on the Royal Albert Hall’s official YouTube channel at 6pm BST on the day.
On the morale-boosting event, Jenkins said: “In London on VE Day 1945, over a million people celebrated Victory in Europe and the end of nearly six years of war.
“Crowds gathered en masse in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace and whilst we may not be able to celebrate this year as we once did, it’s only right that we don’t allow the 75th anniversary of this historic day to be overshadowed.
“Having been part of the 60th and 70th events, I wanted to do something to help bring the nation and the world together in commemoration and celebration at this difficult time.
“I’m excited that we can still come together, albeit virtually, for a tribute of wartime songs and musical memories from London’s most iconic concert venue. The Royal Albert Hall will be seen like never before – empty, isolated and yet still breathtakingly magnificent!”
- Katherine Jenkins and Dame Vera Lynn releasing We’ll Meet Again duet
The historic concert will be in support of the Royal Albert Hall’s fundraising appeal and SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity’s Emergency Response Fund.
During the VE Day 75 performance, Jenkins will sing some wartime favourites.
These include The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again while concluding with British hymn Jerusalem.
We’ll Meet Again will be performed by virtual duet with Dame Vera Lynn herself.
Jenkins and the 103-year-old recently released the duet as an NHS charity single.
On her wartime classic tune, Dame Vera said: “I’ll never forget how We’ll Meet Again meant so much to all those soldiers going off to war as well as with their families and sweethearts.
“Seventy-five years since the end of the war in Europe, the virus has given those lyrics a whole new meaning.
“I have found the nation’s renewed love for the song very moving.”
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Dame Vera added: “I hope this special duet lifts the spirits of our VE Day Veterans and all those separated from loved ones at this time.”
In a statement, the Royal Albert Hall added: “The concert will give the nation a moment to pay tribute to the fallen men and women of the Second World War and salute the country’s VE Day Veterans, many of whom are experiencing uncertainty and isolation.
“It is also our opportunity to thank the Armed Forces who, alongside the NHS and many others, are coming together to serve the country.”
The Royal Albert Hall’s VE Day 75 event, hosted by Jenkins, was originally set to take place on May 8 and stream live to over 450 UK cinemas.
But due to the government’s coronavirus restrictions, the event has been postponed to Sunday, September 20.
The pandemic marks the first time the Royal Albert Hall has been closed since The Blitz and so the venue lacks the regular income to support its staff and the Grade I-listed building itself.
During Jenkins’ performance on Friday, the venue is asking viewers to consider making a donation, with information on how to do that found here.
Similarly, to donate to SSAFA’s Emergency Response Fund viewers can click here.
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