Inspirational musicians honoured with MBEs

Peter Rose and Anne Conlon receiving their MBEs from Buckingham Palace. (s)
Peter Rose and Anne Conlon receiving their MBEs from Buckingham Palace. (s)

A collaboration between two teachers to write hard-hitting environmental musicals has resulted in them both receiving the MBE.

Peter Rose, former Head of Expressive Arts at St Augustine’s High School, Billington, was commissioned by WWF-UK with fellow musician Anne Conlon, former Head of English at SS John Fisher and Thomas More High School, Colne, to write the world’s first environmental musical.

The resulting work, Yanomamo, highlights the dangers being faced by the Amazon rainforest and became one of the most performed children’s musicals of all time.

From it’s London premier featuring Sir David Attenborough as narrator, it went on to be performed by hundreds of thousands of children on many continents. It’s premier USA performance in Washington in 1988 was sung by more than 200 choristers and musicians from St Augustine’s, this time with world-famous artist Sting as the narrator.

Further WWF commissions followed, including African Jigsaw, Ocean World and Arabica.

Of the MBE citation for “Services to music, education and conservation in the UK and abroad” Peter said: “We were astonished and delighted to learn of the honour and the citation surely has to embrace every one of those involved in our environmental choral works, whether as a performer, colleague, parent or helper – not least our friends and family.”

Sir David Attenborough said: “I can think of few better ways of alerting children to the problems of development and global ecological concerns than by introducing them to the musicals of Peter Rose and Anne Conlon.”