“Next Wednesday Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becoming our longest reigning monarch,” intoned the tremendously likeable and charismatic Julian.
Currently Queen Victoria holds the record, with 63 years and 216 days on the throne, the present Queen will pip that by a day on the 9th.
Julian continued: “Forget Saint Paul’s Cathedral or the Abbey! Forget Buckingham Palace or Balmoral!
“This most special and unique event is being marked and celebrated in only one place in these United Kingdoms — the tiny Cotswold village of Ilmington in Warwickshire, with our event entitled Long to Reign Over Us.
“We are the most patriotic village in England, asserts Julian.
“Apparently Holy Trinity in Stratford are ringing the bells and Leicester Cathedral are doing something, but nothing like this.”
Crikey, does the Queen know? Has she been invited?
“Well of course,” chuckles Julian down the phone.
“It would be great if she could pop down from Balmoral. The midges are terrible up in Scotland at the moment, so she might prefer it in Ilmington.”
Following on from the village’s magnificent celebration of the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 the Ilmington Music Festival, under Julian’s artistic direction, the village wanted to put together a joyous celebration of all that is the best of British to mark this unique milestone.
A concert will be held at Ilmington’s beautiful St Mary’s Church beginning at 7.30pm on Saturday, 12th September. It will feature the resident Ilmington Festival Chorus but will also involve the Junior Saint James’s Singers @ The Croft, and members of the Saint James’s Singers and Banbury Choral Society.
Altogether the massed singers will number over 100 so the recently-repaired church roof rafters should truly be ringing.
But it’s not just music, Julian tells us: “It will be mini Glyndebourne evening as there will be a long interval half way through the concert to enable the audience to participate of picnics and Pimms in Berry Orchard, where there will also be a Champagne Tent.”
If you want to really re-create that special Glyndebourne feeling come in DJ and dickie and the ladies, it’s a chance to put on your finest, advises Julian.
“There will be a really strong element of the Last Night of the Proms, only better,” says Julian, “because apart from joining in all those old favourites like Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, you will also be able to sing along with the Fantasia on British Songs which contains such favourites as See the Conquering Hero Comes as well as beautiful airs like Tom Bowling.
There will also be rarities such as Elgar’s Coronation Ode as well as the famous Coronation anthems by Handel, including Zadok the Priest.
As if that were not enough there will also be arrangements of patriotic songs from both World War I and II, and of course a fireworks fanfare.
So make like Royalty and head to the village for 7.30pm.
Tickets are priced £10 and are available from the community shop, the Red Lion, or James Lloyd on 01608 682745.