Mike Jackson achieves his ambition to conduct the Hallelujah Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall

Mike Jackson achieves his ambition to conduct the Hallelujah Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall

Hallelujah auction raises record sum

Our auction for the chance to conduct an additional performance of the Hallelujah Chorus at Messiah from Scratch on 15 November was successful beyond our wildest dreams, with £10,000 being added to the British Heart Foundation’s coffers at the fall of the auctioneer’s arm. Bidding rose steadily under the direction of Hugh Edmeades, Chairman of Christie’s South Kensington, passing first the 2004 total of £3,500 and then the 1999 total of £5,000.

With the excitement in the Royal Albert Hall mounting with each new bid—£8,000, £9,000, £9,500— Hugh asked if we could break a record and take the amount to a five-figure sum, and we did!  The incredibly generous top bid came in at £10,000, and the British Heart Foundation representatives looked as if Christmas really had arrived very early indeed.

There were more surprises, however.  The winner announced not only that he wished to remain anonymous, but that he did not want to conduct at all, and would stay in his seat and watch as his out-bidded rival took the baton. This meant that the honour of taking Sir David Willcocks’s place on the podium went to a TRBC regular, Mike Jackson, who has been singing at Messiah from Scratch for the past 20 years, and who had bid (unsuccessfully) at our two previous auctions.  With evident knowledge of the music, and a clear four-in-a-bar beat, Mr Jackson conducted a jubilant performance of the Hallelujah Chorus before resuming his seat amongst the tenors to rapturous applause.