Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Lamont students serenade Prince Harry

Vocal major John Jones, who performed in his grandfather’s native Welsh, meets the guest of honor at a May 10 reception for Prince Harry. Photo: Melissa Cherie Photography

Ten students from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music got a royal opportunity on May 10 — they were invited to perform for Prince Harry during his visit to Colorado.

“He’s a really nice guy,” says junior voice major John Jones. “I expected him to either be a little more frat boyish or a little bit more businesslike, but he was a really nice guy. I wouldn’t necessarily want to party with him, but I’d love to sit down and have a beer with him.”

Jones sang two songs, including the traditional Welsh tune “Men of Harlech,” which he sang in its native language.

“He loved it — it’s actually how we found out we have a favorite movie in common,” says Jones, who is of Welsh heritage and taught himself the language at age 12.

The movie is 1964’s “Zulu,” the story of 150 British soldiers who successfully fought off 4,000 Zulus at their field hospital in South Africa. “In the movie, right before the last battle, they end up singing this song,” Jones says.

Prince Harry was in Colorado to attend the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs. The event for disabled veterans includes teams from the U.S. and the U.K. As a link to the games, the prince requested performers with disabilities. Jones has cerebral palsy, junior voice major Jenna Bainbridge is partially paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury, and vocal jazz performance major Samantha Barrasso is blind. The singers were accompanied by a jazz combo featuring Eli Acosta, Jake Alvarez, Sean Edwards, Charles Hoffer Fenning, Justin Peterson and Camilla Vaitaitis, along with pianist Jon Parker.

The three vocalists auditioned for the British Consul General prior to the May 10 VIP reception at the Sanctuary golf club in Sedalia, Colo. The party included dozens of dignitaries, British expatriates, students and military officers, as well as Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin.



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