A virtual, visual and acoustic memorial project dedicated to UK health and care workers who have died in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Composed by Howard Goodall CBE and commissioned by the London Symphony Chorus, it pays tribute to 122 health and care workers who were among the first to have died from Covid-19.  The text of this new piece is made up entirely of the names of these health and care workers, and when complete, “Never To Forget” will be extended to include all names of those health and care workers who have died by the time of its first live performance.   Currently this stands at over 300 names.

To coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the NHS, the premiere performance will take place online Sunday 5 July at 10.00hrs GMT on https://bit.ly/2B8G5LM  

For a pre-release highlights version please click here:  https://bit.ly/3eKlcVT

In April, the London Symphony Chorus commissioned its patron, composer Howard Goodall CBE, to create a new work which would be a visual and acoustic memorial to those health and care workers who have died as a result of Covid-19.   The names of these workers were taken by the composer from Nursing Notes, a nursing news website ‘run by nurses for nurses’ and it was recorded virtually during lockdown.   One hundred singers from the chorus performed in the recording, alongside members of the London Symphony Orchestra and the composer himself. 

The pandemic has affected us all and there are frontline health and care workers within the chorus.  The chorus wanted to acknowledge and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives caring for others and hope to bring some comfort to the bereaved, by letting them know their loved ones have not been forgotten. 

The London Symphony Chorus will perform the completed piece live and in full, when it is safe to do so and very much hope some of the families and colleagues affected will be able to attend this performance.  The video is a non-commercial recording funded by the chorus and it will be released on YouTube and social media on Sunday 5 July at 10am, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the NHS.

Howard Goodall CBE, composer, said:  “Like so many creative artists I have been wanting to respond to the pandemic crisis in a way that would seem appropriate and sensitive to those who have been at the forefront of the struggle and that would demonstrate to them our collective solidarity and gratitude.  The dedication and sacrifice of key health and care workers has been truly humbling.  A choral work, even one that could initially be compiled from singers’ own homes, seemed fitting.  Its text, entirely comprising the names of those nurses, doctors, carers, porters, cleaners, paramedics, ambulance drivers who leave behind mourning families, friends, communities.  Unlike a stone memorial, though, this work will continue to grow and honour its fallen heroes, so the initial virtual recording is made up of the first 122 health and care workers who had died by April 25th of this year.  By the same time in 2021, the piece will be expanded, and a version performed live that has all the names subsequently, tragically, added.”

Simon Halsey CBE, choral director, London Symphony Chorussaid: “We felt that we must do something to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution made by health and care workers at a time of international crisis and this piece offers us a chance to get involved in a meaningful project: one that we hope will enable us, as a music community, to give back something to those affected by the crisis.”

Dr Owen Hanmer, chairman, London Symphony Chorussaid: “It is a tribute to those UK health and care workers who have died from Covid-19.  I am proud to have worked for the NHS, and am grateful to the chorus for their commitment to this project, and for ensuring that music remains a part of our existence in these difficult times.”