Vision of a Garden – Peter’s story

Vision of a Garden – Peter’s story

In October 2021 we performed live in concert at the Southbank Centre for the first time in 18 months. It was a time to celebrate, but also to reflect.

On the day, we performed the World Premiere of Richard Blackford’s Vision of a Garden, which was based on the story of singing member Professor Peter Johnstone (pictured and standing). Peter is a survivor of COVID-19 and spent time in the ICU during his battle with it. The text from Vision of a Garden is directly taken from Peter’s ‘ICU diary’, which was a book full of of messages of support for Peter written by the nurses and doctors looking after him. Peter thankfully has fully recovered.

An image of the performance – the NHS Chorus-19 can be seen on the right

Upon reading this diary, Peter felt obliged to tell his story which is where our Musical Director David Hill came in. He suggested that The Bach Choir should commission Richard Blackford to write a piece based on Peter’s ICU diary so that we could shine a light on the heroic doctors, nurses, physios and health care support workers who looked after our beloved Peter. The result was Vision of a Garden.

On 24 October, this emotionally-charged piece was performed to a packed-out Southbank Centre. Peter was there singing with us on the day, and Richard Blackford was in the audience. It was an honour to perform alongside the NHS Chorus-19 and to have a number of key workers there in the audience. We are so thankful for the hard work that they’ve done for Peter and all of the work they continue to do to keep us safe, and they were rightfully given one of the the biggest rounds of applause of the day.

Today, the recording of Vision of a Garden was released alongside Richard’s work Mirror of Perfection. You can listen to it on your chosen streaming platform here.