Recently over one hundred and thirty people from across the diocese enjoyed an inspirational evening of classical music at St Marie’s Cathedral, Sheffield.
The event was organised by a group of students from the Catholic Society at Sheffield University in aid of Catholic charity, Mary’s Meals, and raised around £4,300 in combined ticket sales and donations – feeding two hundred and ninety three children at Suehn Village Public School in Liberia for a whole school year.
“We first heard about Mary’s Meals at the Medjugorje Youth Festival,” said Mary Phillips, one of the organisers. “Whilst there, we met Joe, the nephew of the charity’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, and listened to a talk by Jimmy – a young guy from Haiti who went to a school that received Mary’s Meals. Jimmy is now head teacher at a school in his home country. We wanted to do something to help the charity, but weren’t sure exactly how.”
“We had many different ideas,” added Miguel, another group member, “and eventually settled on a concert after a friend put us in touch with the Valette Piano Trio – three students from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. They agreed to do the concert in support of this amazing charity.”
Musicians Yuuki Bouterey-Ishido, cello, Lu Liu, violin and Tianyang Han, piano, played a stunning programme specially chosen to reflect the aspirations and values of Mary’s Meals; a deeply moving Tchaikovsky Piano Trio intimating the suffering around the world and evoking the season of Lent, followed by a contrastingly cheerful Gypsy Rondo by Haydn, symbolising Easter and the hope brought by Mary’s Meals and the concert.
The students overcame various obstacles to make the event happen. They explained, “Our biggest challenge was getting the right screens to do justice to the brilliant promotional video shown before the concert. We sorted out this problem thanks to the generosity of diocesan parishes, the Hallam Pastoral Centre and Purple Wave.
“We were amazed at the support and generosity before the event, and the enthusiasm and positive feedback on the day from people who attended and want to get involved in supporting Mary’s Meals. One gentleman bought eleven tickets – just for him and his wife! All the students involved gave generously of their time, and we’re really grateful to all the sponsors: St Marie’s Cathedral, the Knights of St Columba, Purple Wave Audio Visual, and STATISI. We’d also like to thank Maria Valpone from Fabrico Coffee House in Chesterfield, and The Grapes.”
Future events include a sponsored cycle ride around the diocese – including talks at the end of Mass if that’s possible. This summer there’s a 10 mile sponsored walk in the Peak District, as well as a coffee morning and wine tasting event in Chesterfield. A full cooked breakfast after Mass at the Catholic Chaplaincy at Padley House each week, with profits going to Mary’s Meals, is in the planning stages at the moment!
If anyone would like to find out more or get involved, have a look at the website at www.foodschoolhope.org.
Mary’s Meals can make a lasting difference to the lives of children in some of the world’s poorest countries. It costs just £13.90 to feed a child for a whole school year, so even the smallest amounts can have a huge impact. Anyone interested in finding out more about the work of Mary’s Meals, sending a donation, or hosting a fundraising event in their parish, can do so by visiting www.marysmeals.org.uk.