Association Of British Choral Directors

Invitation to singers to record new work for charity

Don Monro, the man behind The Really Big Chorus, is inviting singers to sign up to record a DVD of a work specially written by Jonathan Willcocks for the occasion in Henry Wood Hall in July. Don has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is organising the recording to raise funds for four charities associated with cancer. Recording sessions will take place on 14 and 21 July. See details at www.facebook.com/don.monro or download a booking form here.

June 2013

From Don Monro

Dear Musical Friends

I have recently had some bad news about my health, just a few days before The Scratch Gilbert and Sullivan Gala at the Royal Albert Hall.

Regrettably, I have Fourth Stage Metastatic Melanoma, in my Brain and lungs. It is not curable.

I have decided to respond positively, by organizing a special event and trying to bring some good out of a bad situation.

Jonathan Willcocks has very kindly put aside other work to compose for me a setting of a much admired poem by Robert Frost, which has deep meaning for me. So I am writing to invite you to come and record this work at the Henry Wood Hall in London on either 14 or 21 July.

Please visit my Facebook page right now to see the event details: www.facebook.com/don.monro

The proceedings will be the subject of a DVD which you should order in advance so that we make the right numbers. There will be videos as the project progresses to see on YouTube, my Facebook page and my Just Giving pages. My colleagues at Scratch Concerts Limited are supporting this event and I am most grateful for that.

Our previous Abbey Road Sessions in 2011 were just about the most enjoyable day of music making I have ever experienced, and judging by the response of our members, everyone who was there agrees. This time, it will not be Abbey Road, which is unavailable, but it will again be an unforgettable experience.

You can support me by

  1. Signing up for the Sessions on 14 and 21 July. All the proceeds after direct costs will be donated to my four designated charities.
  2. You might in addition consider ALSO sponsoring me through the website 'Just Giving' where your contributions can be gift aided to yield a lot more for the charities. Visit www.justgiving.com and search for Don Monro. You can choose which of my charities to support, because I have a different page for each. You do not have to have a computer to do this - please ask someone else to help you.
  3. Even if you can't come, please sponsor me through the website 'Just Giving'. Visit www.justgiving.com and search for your friend Don Monro.
  4. If you can come, please create your own Just Giving web page to sponsor your participation and support one of my four designated charities directly. It's really easy. Even if you do not have a computer, you can still have a Just Giving web page. All you have to do is ask someone to make it for you.
  5. Circulate this appeal as widely as you can, to singers of course, but also to anyone else at all who might sponsor you or me.
  6. Consider asking your choir to sing 'The Road Not Taken', and continue the sponsorship.

My situation

Just a few days before The Scratch Carmina Burana at the Albert Hall in July 2011, I had a malignant melanoma excised from my right temple. It was small and shallow and there should have been a 70% - 90% chance of a complete cure.

I have had 18 good months, apparently fit, with the cancer doctors convinced all was well. Then just before Messiah from Scratch 2012, I suddenly had a diagnosis of heart disease which was treated with a stent, literally three days before Messiah. (How appropriate for an event traditionally supporting the British Heart Foundation.) What I did not know was that some other problems that might have been side effects of heart medication were nothing of the sort. Regrettably I now have multiple lesions of Advanced Metastatic Melanoma, in my brain and lungs. It is not curable.

I hoped that in compèring the Gilbert and Sullivan Gala at the Albert Hall event only a few days after this diagnosis, it would not show too badly. Near the end I could feel my speech was slurring - I tried to make a joke about Gilbert's tongue twisters but I just could not say 'Barataria' or 'Cachucha.'

I will keep going as long as I am able and I look forward to welcoming you to as many future Scratch events as possible.

My Designated Charities

  • The wonderful nurses from Macmillan Cancer Care have supported and guided me through my 18 month journey of fear, relief, despair and now determination. Support them!
  • I am now being treated by the excellent doctors, nurses and support team of the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC). Their charity is the Friends of BHOC. Support them!
  • My end of life care will be managed by Dorothy House Hospice Care. Support them!
  • And Cancer Research UK is the pre-eminent cancer charity in the world, let alone the UK, fighting for knowledge and treatment of this dreadful disease. Support them!

That's enough about me. Let's make some music!

Don Monro

Posted: Tue 11th June 2013

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