This is a rare opportunity to attend a concert in the historic surroundings of Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament. The Hall dates back to 1097 and is the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster. It has been the scene of some of the most significant events in British history.
On 9th July 2014 it will host a landmark concert to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War and the tercentenary of the accession of the Hanoverian Monarchy.
The concert will, for the first time, bring together the United Kingdom Parliament Choir and the German Bundestag Choir. They will be accompanied by the Parliament Choir's regular partners, the wonderful Southbank Sinfonia.
The concert will be the largest event in Parliament to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.
Conducted by Simon Over, the Choirs will sing Mendelssohn's Lobgesang - Hymn of Praise, with soloists Ilona Domnich, Catherine May and Milos Bulajic.
Mendelssohn's Lobgesang was written in 1840 to commemorate the invention of moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg 400 years earlier.
It celebrates the virtues of knowledge and light.
Of All Persons and Estates
The concert will also include Of All Persons and Estates, a work by the Parliament Choir's Composer-in-Residence and Chorus Master Nicholas O'Neill, inspired by the Parliamentary prayers which start each session of the House of Commons and House of Lords.
A Special Event
The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza and the President of the Bundestag, Professor Dr Norbert Lammert are due to attend and speak at the performance.
This promises to be a very special event indeed.
Tickets are available at Eventbrite and cost £31, £26, £21 and £11, plus Eventbrite booking fees. The more expensive seats will be at the front of the Hall and the cheaper ones at the back. Please note that Westminster Hall is long so, as it's such a special occasion, you may want to sit nearer the front. Seating within each price block will be allocated by ushers on arrival on a first come first served basis.
As I am taking part in the concert, I won't be able to meet people at the event, but I will designate a meeting point for those who wish to get together beforehand and go in as a group - just sign up to the event here as well as buying your tickets through Eventbrite and I'll send you an email. Tickets are in blocks by price, but as seats are not numbered, you will be able to sit together if you have the same priced tickets.
Here's the link to Eventbrite to buy your tickets:
These kinds of event are not held often in Westminster Hall and when they are, attendance tends to be by invitation only. It is very rare for tickets to be on sale to the general public, so demand is likely to be high. Only a limited number of tickets are available, so if you'd like to attend, early booking is recommended.
Don't forget, you'll need to book your tickets through Eventbrite as well as signing up through Americans in London.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Parliament is by the Underground to Westminster Station. Cross the road towards the Palace and the visitor entrance is half way down on the left hand side.
Here's a map with the Westminster Hall and the entrance marked in gold:
Security and admission
Parliament has airport style security and it can take a long time to get in, so you should aim to arrive as soon after 6pm as possible. Players from Southbank Sinfonia will be providing pre-concert entertainment from 6.30pm.
There are no storage facilities for coats or bags so you should avoid bringing any unnecessary items with you. The security staff may refuse admission to those bringing large items.
Tickets are for admission to the concert in Westminster Hall only. Due to the security arrangements at the Palace of Westminster it will not be possible for you to leave the Hall to visit other parts of the Parliamentary estate.
Please note that restoration work is being carried out in Westminster Hall and some of the surrounding rooms, including the the lavatory facilities. There will therefore be only limited lavatory facilities available during the event.