Brit-nominated opera singer Camilla Kerslake stunned commuters when she performed at the famous Elton John piano at St Pancras International station.

The soprano brought the busy station concourse to a standstill on Thursday morning (February 29) with a rendition of the requiem Pie Jesu.

The performance was held ahead of this weekend’s fourth annual Day of Reflection marking the Covid pandemic.

Kerslake urged people to pause at midday this Sunday for a minute’s silence.

“My grandma and my uncle didn’t have funerals because they died during the pandemic,” Camilla revealed. “I feel there’s not been a full stop for them.

“There wasn’t a moment for me to pin my grief to, or a day where our family could come together to celebrate their lives. I find that hard.”

She said music can be a “powerful trigger” for emotion and memory.

Islington Gazette: Camilla remembers loved ones lost to CovidCamilla remembers loved ones lost to Covid (Image: Jeff Moore)

“People like me are still feeling a great sense of grief,” Kerslake added.

The Marie Curie charity is organising a minute’s silence at 12pm on Sunday as part of this year’s Day of Reflection.

Almost half the people in a recent poll by the charity who are bereaved for a friend or family member lost during the pandemic said they are still coming to terms with their grief four years on.


Islington Gazette: Opera singer Camilla Kerslake performs on the concourse at St Pancras International Station (Image: Jeff Moore)Opera singer Camilla Kerslake performs on the concourse at St Pancras International Station (Image: Jeff Moore) (Image: Jeff Moore)

Marie Curie’s chief executive Matthew Reed said: “The pandemic endures in the minds of people who were bereaved and are still grieving. Sunday is a moment to remember those who died and to show support for the bereaved.”

Kerslake’s surprise performance was one of several events up and down the country. Choirs have been conducting recitals in Belfast, Cardiff Castle and in Stirling.

Public pianos first appeared at St Pancras International station in 2012 when the City of London Festival celebrated its golden anniversary. They have been left available for anyone to play ever since. Elton John gifted a piano himself in 2016.

Islington Gazette: Commuters at St Pancras applaud Camilla KerslakeCommuters at St Pancras applaud Camilla Kerslake (Image: Jeff Moore)

The station concourse has had regular performances from musicians, with the main arcade becoming a hub of cultural activity over the years.

The anniversary of the first lockdown, March 23, moves forward to March 3 this year, in line with the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration’s recommendation, to remember the people who died and to show support for those who are still bereaved.