A Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen
Head of The Commonwealth
Monday 9 March, Commonwealth Day 2020 at 1.00pm

At Guildhall, in the City of London, 108 members (2 children representing each Commonwealth Nation) of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra’s Children’s Choir, together with the State Ceremonial Band of the Welsh Guards, preformed A Tribute To Her Majesty The Queen to mark and celebrate Commonwealth Day 2020.

President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, Alderman Sir Charles Bowman, made Remarks and CYO Trustee Nicholas Holme presented the Narrative.

A Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen Head of The Commonwealth

Good afternoon, my name is Nick Holme and I am one of the Trustees of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir.

I would like to welcome you to this tribute to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of The Commonwealth and Diamond Jubilee Patron of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO).

Today is Commonwealth Day and this annual Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen is held to mark and celebrate the voluntary organisation of 54 Nations that is The Commonwealth.

108 members of the CYO’s Commonwealth Children’s Choir and the Band of the Welsh Guards, conducted by the Bandmaster Warrant Officer 2 David Hatton, present this Tribute to The Queen and celebration of Commonwealth Day 2020.

Last year was the 70th anniversary of The Commonwealth and to mark this historic milestone and to project forwards for the hopes and aspirations for the next 70 years, the Senior Director of Music of the Household Division, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw, composed a special song “Believe”.

This Commonwealth Day Song 2019, Believe, is dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen and is gifted by the composer to the children of The Commonwealth.

The chorus of the song words are ” Run, Seek, find who you are”. The message of the song is that if you work hard, with focus, discipline and with determination, that anything is possible.

This is a positive message for everyone in The Commonwealth and for the actual organisation going forward.

Remarks – Sir Charles Bowman

Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure, as President of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, to welcome you all to Guildhall Yard, here in the heart of the City of London.

Today’s event is a celebration of everything that binds us together as an international Commonwealth community. With more than 2 billion people and covering one-fifth of the world’s landmass, the Commonwealth contains great diversity.

And yet, as diverse as we are, there are certain things that we share. One of those things is music. Music is a form of international dialogue. It knows no boundaries.

The Lord Mayor – who unfortunately was unable to join us today, but sends his apologies – is using his year in office to promote a programme with a similarly international outlook and engagement.

This programme is titled “Global UK” and it aims to grow trade and investment opportunities between the UK and our international partners. The programme explores how innovation keeps London at the cutting-edge of new sectors.

The programme also shines a light on culture in the City. Art, theatre, music, sport, and education all contribute to the UK’s significant international “soft power.”

I know from my own travels as Lord Mayor that all around the world, there are businesspeople, ambassadors, and politicians who have lived, worked, or studied in London – and who remember their time here with great happiness.

And today, here in the City, we have businesses and employees representing each of the 54 Commonwealth nations. The City is, of course, a global hub for financial and professional services. We believe in the power of trade – for prosperity, for peace, and for development.

Remarks - Nick Holme

The next music item is “Games” which is from a new set of pieces.

Commonwealth Childhood, which were specially composed by Ian Wilson for the Commonwealth Children’s Choir. In his programme notes for the composition, Ian Wilson explains his inspiration for this composition.

“I wanted to celebrate the songs that children sing throughout the Commonwealth. I spent a long time sourcing children’s songs from across the range of countries, placing them under the headings Games, Lullabies and Education. The idea was to merge the songs into musical collages that are full of fun but also demonstrate that in this divided world there is so much that unites us. Indeed, the CYO was formed to bring young people together from all corners of the globe to make music”.

We will conclude our Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen with the Commonwealth Anthem.

Every man, woman and child sits on the shoulders of previous generations, inheriting the courage and discovery of those who came before and the opportunity to learn the lessons of the past and to build for a better future.

In this way, on 26 April 1949, the Modern Commonwealth was born out of the international collaboration that had been generated throughout the First and Second World Wars. In an act of continuum, the political leaders in the second half of the 1940’s were determined not to lose this spirit of international brotherhood and mutual support.

With King George VI as its Head, the Commonwealth of Nations was first established as a voluntary group of 8 independent countries; Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Today the Commonwealth comprises 54 nations across all 6 inhabited regions of the globe: Africa, Americas, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific.

Each of the 54 nations are equal stakeholders and with national populations ranging from 9,600 to 1.3 billion, with multifarious races and faiths, the Commonwealth encapsulates the concept of “Embracing Diversity”.

When King George VI died on 6 February 1952, the Commonwealth Heads of Government invited the young Queen Elizabeth II to become Head of the Commonwealth. For 68 years Her Majesty has been, and continues to be, a constant and supremely uniting influence, with an unique presence and personal style which can never be replicated.

The 21st Century Commonwealth, now in its 71st year, is building on its dynamic legacy and heritage – with international engagement and diversity at its core, and the opportunity to maximise individual, national and international potential, it offers the possibility to be a model of mutual human respect, support and understanding.


Maestro Paul Carroll, Artistic Director of the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choir, the Commonwealth Orchestra and the Commonwealth Children's Orchestra & Choir, presented a framed score of The Commonwealth Anthem to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on Diamond Jubilee Commonwealth Day 2012.

Director-General and Executive Producer Sally Shebe
would like to thank everyone involved in helping to produce this
Commonwealth Day 2020 Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen,
and especially:
CYO’s President Sir Charles Bowman, The Lord Mayor of London,
Remembrancer Paul Double and Assistant Remembrancer Fiona Hoban and their team,
Major General Chris Ghika, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw,
Major Stewart Halliday, Captain Adrian Beckett, Warrant Officer 2 David Hatton,
the Band of the Welsh Guards, Choir Director Alice Gentenaar,
and all the teaching staff and children of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir.

Photo credit: Chris Lobina

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