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SLAA Ebola Fundraising event at London Bridge Hospital
Oct 24 2014, 11:04 AM

You are invited to an evening of live classical music in support of Masanga Hospital, a charity healthcare provider in Sierra Leone

Katie Bird - soprano
Lucy Downer- Clarinet

Claire Howard - Piano

including works from Schubert, Debussy and Gershwin

Date: Monday, 26 April 2010

Wimbledon International SDA Church
11 Stanley Road
Wimbledon SW19 8RE
Tickets: £10 at-the-door
Under-18s: FREE
Interval Refreshments


During the interval, enjoy complimentary refreshments and prepare to be tempted by the sale of delicious home-baked cakes. 

All proceeds of ticket and cake sales will go towards providing maternity and paediatric facilities at Masanga Hospital, Sierra Leone
Why Sierra Leone

Claire Howard
  • Sierra Leone is in the west coast of Africa. It is classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries, ranking 178 out of 178 in the UN Human Development Index in 2008.
  • It is one of 9 countries in Africa whose income per capita has actually fallen compared to 1960 levels. 70% of  the population of 5.6 million live below poverty line ( less than $1 a day) and less that 50% have access to safe drinking water
  • Sierra Leone has some of the poorest health indicators in the world, with life expectancy of 47 years, an infant mortality rate of 89 per 1000 live births.  1 in 7 children die before their 5th birthday.
Claire Howard
  •  Maternal death rate in Sierra Leone is a "human rights emergency" - Amnesty International Report 2009. In Sierra Leone, one in eight women risk dying during pregnancy or childbirth. This is one of the highest maternal death rates in the world. There is just 1 paediatrician  in the entire country. 

Three exceptional artists

Claire Howard

Katie Bird was born and raised in Kent. She was awarded a Stevenson Scholarship to study with Patricia MacMahon at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she gained her Bachelor of Music degree with Honours. She was then awarded the Ena Mitchell Bequest and a Musicians' Benevolent Fund Music Education Award to undertake a Post-Graduate Diploma in Opera Studies again at the R.S.A.M.D, studying with Mezzo-Soprano, Jane Irwin. Katie then studied at The Royal Academy of Music, completing their Post Graduate Preparatory Opera Course. Katie has performed for Bayreuth Festspiele Chorus, Germany and has sung the roles of Countess Almaviva in Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro' and Dido in Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas', both with Armonico Consort directed by Michael McCaffery. Other soloist appearances include productions of Massenet's 'Cendrillon', Vaughan Williams' 'Riders to the Sea', Bartok's 'Three Village Scenes' with The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Katie has understudied the roles of Wife in Judith Weir's 'The Vanishing Bridegroom' and Almirena in Handel's 'Rinaldo'.  In addition to operatic performances Katie has appeared as a guest soloist with choral societies across the U.K including Brahms' Requiem, Mozart's Coronation Mass,Beethoven's Symphony 9, Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle, Dvorak's Te Deum, Poulenc's Gloria andFaure's Requiem.

Claire Howard

Lucy Downer graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in June 2008, with First Class Honours in her BMus degree and a Distinction in her Postgraduate Diploma in Performance. During her studies she won several awards, including the Academy's prestigious clarinet competition, the Buffet Crampon Prize. As a soloist Lucy has performed with orchestras including the Oxford Sinfonia, the Banbury Symphony Orchestra and RAM Symphony Orchestra. She is also a keen bass clarinettist, and in 2005 was a quarter-finalist (last 8) in the First Henri Selmer World Bass Clarinet Competition in Holland, as the only UK player. She is particularly interested in contemporary music, and has enjoyed collaborating with various composers on solo and ensemble works for clarinet and bass clarinet. She has given several world premieres at venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Wigmore Hall. Lucy is active as an orchestral musician, and has played with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and All Souls Orchestra, among others. She has been generously supported by the Musicians' Benevolent Fund and the EMI Music Sound Foundation.

Claire Howard

Claire Howard obtained First Class Honours and the University Medal from Newcastle Conservatorium, Australia before continuing her postgraduate piano accompaniment studies at the Canberra School of Music, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with John Thwaites and in London with Malcolm Martineau and Iain Ledingham. Claire has received scholarships to participate in master classes with Teresa Berganza and Miguel Zanetti in Spain, sparking an on-going commitment to the promotion and performance of Spanish Song. In 2009 Claire performed in Granada, Spain for the 6th International Festival of the Interpretation of Spanish Song and has previously performed in Toluca, Mexico and Islay, Scotland as part of a Spanish Song recital series with the soprano Alison McNeill and guitarist Javier Hernandez Tagle. Claire has performed in Edinburgh at the International Fringe Festival and the Ruhr Klassische Musik Festival in Marl, Germany. She has been awarded the Broadwood Junior Piano Accompanist Fellowship from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and in addition to winning Lieder and Accompaniment prizes at the RSAMD and the Russian Song Accompaniment Prize, Claire has been recognised with sponsorship from the Geoffrey Parsons Trust, Tait Memorial Trust, Hope Scott Trust and the Alex Menzies Memorial Fund, the latter being awarded "to an outstanding accompanist" at the RSAMD.

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