LESLEY Garrett led an evening of opera at the House of Lords last Thursday, as part of an evening sponsored by Fordham Business School in aid of dementia charity Lost Chord.

“There is so much music can do for dementia sufferers,” said the soprano, a patron of Lost Chord whose aunt Joan suffered from the condition. “When people can’t even remember their children’s names, they will still remember the words to a song, somewhere in the backs of their minds.”

The evening was organised by Bloomberg fixed income specialist Alex Story, who left Société Générale in 2010 to stand as a Conservative MP for Wakefield. His professional opera singer wife Nadine, a singer with Lost Chord, also sang at the fundraiser, as did his father Jonathan, an emeritus professor in political economy at Insead, who plans to retrain as an opera singer specialising in “elderly parts”.

In the meantime, David Gautschi, dean of Fordham Business School, has hired the singing professor to develop the Fordham brand in the UK in 2012. “This is our coming out party,” Gautschi told guests, including his former pupil Thomas Muoio, who recently joined Jefferies from Credit Suisse. First on the awareness-raising agenda is a talk at King’s College on 13 January on the tensions between Turkey and Israel, as the former Ottoman empire shifts away from the EU and “back to its ancient backyard”.

IT’S always the quiet ones. When he is not providing data to support credit rating decisions, Avtar Benning is learning the blues harmonica.

Which is why the Moody’s quant analyst was one of the first City guests invited up on stage to perform with the house band Pacifico Blues at the Gibson City Blues Jam at Boisdale of Canary Wharf.

The regular event is designed to let City professionals express their musical talents, through a partnership with guitar-maker Gibson Custom and car-dealer Stratstone of Mayfair Aston Martin.

The next blues jam will be held at Boisdale in the new year – keep an eye out for how to win yourself a free dinner for two…

BARCLAYS last week organised a Christmas party with a difference – a party for 25 Canning Town pensioners at the offices of the Community Links charity.

Head of commodities technology Angelo Roxas and colleagues including Anosh Zahir, Ola Seretny and Gale Gowrie all took time out of the office to co-ordinate the day of carols and dancing to 1960s and 70s music.

“When you work long hours staring at a computer, sometimes you need to get connected with the rest of society – and for me that was certainly the result of the day,” said business analyst Zahir.