Lucy: “An English name, Lucy means ‘of the light.’”
So sue me, I spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon watching the Coronation Concert, which was carried live on PBS. Overall, it was considerably better than I expected, with a couple of bizarre and untuneful exceptions. What has probably been the most controversial act — the Coronation Choir — which was composed of 300 members from amateur British choirs of all ages and from all walks of life and which has been roundly criticized as overly woke and virtue-signaling was, like the church service on Saturday, quite good-hearted and up to the mark, and made one wonder what all the preceding hullabaloo had been about anyway.
Many of the acts focused on, and featured young people involved in, some of the monarchs’ favorite charities and causes. And in the spirit of the late Queen’s skit with Paddington Bear, there were quite a few acts and interpolations for the kiddies, including a surprise appearance by Kermit and the ever-youthful and yearning Miss Piggy. (In this case, she had her eye set on an overly-hearty Hugh Bonneville, the gracious host, whom she immediately recognized as a “Lord” from his Downton Abbey stint. When he was able to disentangle himself from her amorous intentions, he sent the two of them off to the Royal Box, where Kermit appears to have ended up sitting on Prince Edward’s lap.) Hafta say, the older Royals seemed pretty chill about it all, and young Charlotte and George appear game for just about anything.
The venue (the grounds of Windsor Castle) was spectacular, and the twenty-plus-thousand crowd was enormous and very willing to join in and be entertained. Stella McCartney spoke the obligatory blip about saving the planet, although–thankfully–it was couched soothingly in terms of “conservation” rather than featuring a polemic on climate change, which is an improvement. William followed up, sounding like a rather normal person, with an attaboy for his Dad, and a commitment to service on his own account. Then followed a spectacular display of drone lighting above the castle, as the entire castle facade became the screen for an enormous slide and movie show. Quite impressive.
Somewhere in there, the presenter of the moment mentioned one of Camilla’s patronages, The Amber Trust, and someone called “Lucy.”
I’d never heard of either.
It seems the Trust provides “musical opportunities for blind and partially sighted children, and children with more complex needs, via its Music Awards and Music Services.” And Lucy is one of its beneficiaries.
Lucy has a chromosome abnormality. She’s now thirteen, lost her sight as a very young child when she was operated on for cancerous eye tumors, is on the autism spectrum, and has severe learning difficulties. She doesn’t converse much, and doesn’t have full control of her musculature. Earlier this year she appeared on The Piano, a talent show featuring amateur pianists who play their competition pieces on pianos that have been set up in four of Britain’s railway stations, with the finalists performing at the Royal Festival Hall. (One of the three judges, providing the “classical music” chops, is Lang Lang, who also performed at this afternoon’s concert.)
Lucy won the 2023 edition of The Piano with this performance:
I haven’t yet found the video of her performance at Windsor castle, but the Daily Mail article is here.
This video (about 10 minutes) from the Amber Trust tells Lucy’s story and–just as effectively–the story of the extraordinary dedication, sensitivity, and skill of her teacher, Daniel:
Watching Lucy find herself in her music is an illuminating and joyful experience. I’m so grateful for the fact that she’s on this earth and to her parents for sharing her with us. And I’m grateful to the Queen of England for her part in introducing Lucy to me.
Focusing light on, and creating this sort of connection, where there was none before, is one of the things that the British royal family is exceptionally good at.