The LSO is an orchestra that really needs its Friends – and we’re lucky to have so many supporters who volunteer their time and money in order to help us achieve things we wouldn’t normally be able to. Did you know that our 23-year-old LSO Discovery education and community programme is almost entirely supported by donations from individuals, trusts, foundations and corporate sponsors? Without that support there would be no Schools Concerts, no hospital visits, no activities for the local community, no activities for the next generation of orchestral musicians – and no LSO St Luke’s to do it all in.
Among the many individuals who do so much for us is a man who has supported the LSO for more than 50 years – Mike Morfey. “One of the defining moments of my time following the LSO was the great French conductor Pierre Monteux, who at the age of 88 signed a contract for 10 years with a 10 year option to become Principal Conductor of the LSO”, he tells us. “I must have attended all of his London concerts and they were an absolute joy. In 1963 at the Royal Albert Hall, he conducted the 50th anniversary performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, having conducted the premiere half a century earlier. After the performance, he made his way to the Royal Box where he hugged the composer to the thunderous applause of a full house. For me, it was one of the most moving concerts of my life.”
Mike also cites concerts by André Previn, Jascha Horenstein and Leonard Bernstein in the 60s, 70s and 80s among his LSO highlights, with the 11 year tenure of Sir Colin Davis as Principal Conductor producing “a high in terms of the orchestra’s quality and music making”. More recently he enjoyed the concert in Trafalgar Square with Valery Gergiev last May, which saw over 10,000 people enjoy the LSO for free – “the first of many (we hope!)”.
But Mike is not only an audience member – he’s an LSO Friend, a Community Ambassador and a steward at LSO St Luke’s, giving up his time and using his knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to help others get to know the orchestra and our many activities. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mike lives in the local area, a quick walk away from the venues he frequents, but you’d be wrong. He lives on the other side of London, and often commutes to the Barbican and LSO St Luke’s by running the 16 miles there and back.
It will come as no surprise to you, then, to know that Mike is a committed long-distance runner. He tells us he has run 54 marathons and a couple of ultra-marathons, a feat which frankly left us in the office rather breathless, envious and not a little ashamed at our sedentary lifestyle. This April he is taking on his next challenge – the London Marathon, his 55th. “Training is not a problem as I all year round I run an average of 20-30 miles a week. All I need do is up the mileage a little and for about 10 weeks before the race do some long runs of about 12 –15 miles before winding down in the week leading up to the marathon, and then load the pasta for 3 days before!”
This year we are delighted that Mike has chosen to support the LSO in his fundraising for the London Marathon – actually the third time that he has done so. We asked him why: “The LSO are London’s and the UK’s best band – the quality of its ambitious programme and the best conductors and soloists, as well as the outstanding work they do away from the concert hall, is amazing – LSO Discovery, the Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and Take a Bow to mention a few”, he says. “Then there’s the work at the Barbican and LSO St Luke’s teaching young children, as well as students from the Guildhall, to learn and improve on their instruments. The work in schools and hospices all contribute to the wonderful job the orchestra do.”
Please consider helping Mike to beat his previous fundraising total of £5000, and get him round the 26.2 mile marathon course in record time. Your donation will go to our Moving Music campaign fund, which will support the digital capture of LSO performances to share them with millions of people around the world, many of whom otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to experience the thrill of a live symphony orchestra. This project will transform the scope of the LSO Discovery programme, bringing new musical experiences to an additional 100,000 young people each year. The concert footage will be an invaluable creative resource, enabling us to create learning materials in a range of different ways, not only for new audiences but also for those teaching music and others who are looking to deepen their appreciation of music.
You can donate online via Mike’s Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/MikeMorfey2013. And because this campaign is part of the Arts Council England’s matched funding programme, your donation will actually be worth half as much again to us! For example, every £10 of sponsorship that Mike raises for the campaign is worth £15 to the LSO.
Don’t forget to watch on 21 April to see if you can spot Mike in his trademark musical running suit:
Mike truly is a supporter in a million. Our heartfelt thanks to him from everyone at the LSO.
Join the LSO Friends: http://lso.co.uk/lso-friends
Find out more about the Moving Music campaign: http://lso.co.uk/moving-music
Read about how we use donations to support the LSO: http://lso.co.uk/how-you-can-help
Find out more about LSO Discovery and how you can take part in music: http://lso.co.uk/lso-discovery