Charles dons hard hat for musical performance with a difference

The Prince of Wales has enjoyed a musical performance with a difference – staged on a building site where both the players and audience wore hard hats.

Charles was treated to the first performance in an underground auditorium being constructed at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in central London, as he attended its annual awards ceremony.

In his speech to guests during the ceremony, Professor Colin Lawson, the RCM’s director, highlighted the growing issue of the decline of music teaching in state schools.

The Prince of Wales listened RCM musicians played
The Prince of Wales listened RCM musicians played

He said: “Last October, our chairman Lord Black led a widely reported debate in the House of Lords, noting that instead of music being a fundamental right of all children, it was rapidly becoming the preserve of the privileged few at independent schools, as it dies out in the state sector.

“Music matters first and foremost because it is the only universal language which connects all human beings, whether they live and work in a bustling city or dwell on the plains of a desert.

“The shocking figures for A-level music show an inevitable decline of just under 40% in entries in England since 2010. Every member of the RCM family has an important role in advocacy for music at all levels and in all contexts.”

Charles helped with the prize-giving
Charles helped with the prize-giving

After the prize-giving, Charles donned a hard hat like everyone else and, surrounded by bare walls and an unfinished floor, listened as Professor Lawson a clarinettist and RCM musicians played a piece with a royal connection.

The prince was absorbed as they played Haydn’s March for the Prince of Wales which was composed in 1792 as a tribute to the then heir to the throne, later King George IV, who was an admirer of the composer.

The performance space is one of two being constructed as part of a £40 million project due to be completed next year, that will also feature an interactive museum.

Charles is not only president of the Royal College of Music but patron of the More Music building redevelopment that seeks to increase the institution’s outreach into the wider community.