Before the world was mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it was celebrating her Platinum Jubilee — and a symphony based on Dr. Stephen Mansfield’s Winston Churchill book was performed during the nationwide celebration.
Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author and a senior fellow of public leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic. Churchill was the subject of Mansfield’s first book, published as Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill and later re-released as The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill: Hero in a Time of Crisis. The book was a Gold Medallion Book Award Finalist.
American conductor and composer Dr. Jack Stamp reached out to Mansfield and his wife, Beverly, who is in the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee, and asked to use the book in the symphony Unseen Wings: A Churchill Portrait. The symphony was performed by the Eynsford Concert Band in the Southeast of England this summer.
Excerpts from the book and new pieces Mansfield wrote specifically for the symphony were spoken with the music. The band flew the Mansfields to England, where Stephen did an interview with British media and an onstage talk and Q&A before the performance at a university near Chartwell, Churchill’s famous home.
Churchill was the first of 15 British prime ministers to serve during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Long before the fervor surrounding Queen Elizabeth’s death, Mansfield had been an ardent admirer, even keeping a photo of her in his office. Being present for the jubilee “was one of the great privileges of my life,” Mansfield said.
Since her death, “my sense of gratitude has soared,” Mansfield said. “I had a chance to contribute a few words to honor her. It means a lot to me.”
Mansfield uses lessons from Churchill’s life in corporate leadership trainings and PBA Lead, a leadership development program for students developed by PBA’s Center for Global Leadership, Student Development and the nonprofit organization Lead Like Jesus.
“It makes it more interesting, exciting and fun,” he said.
Churchill’s life piqued Mansfield’s interest when Mansfield was a military kid whose father was stationed in Berlin during the Cold War. Mansfield would hear the British officers praising Churchill.
Mansfield continued to study Churchill, taking European history classes in college and reading the many biographies that have been written about him. He admired Churchill for “how flawed he was and yet how well he led.”
“Other than Jesus, he’s probably been the primary inspiration for what I do,” Mansfield said.
Mansfield’s book contains a short bio of Churchill at the beginning, followed by 30 lessons of his greatness and legacy.
“It’s history written so that people can learn from it and emulate him,” Mansfield said.
Churchill experienced a great deal of personal suffering, Mansfield said, including being born a stutterer to emotionally disengaged parents who dropped him at a boarding school and left him there. Later in his life, Churchill was believed to suffer horrible depression.
One of the lessons of Churchill’s life is that “leaders are fashioned in suffering,” Mansfield said. “He’d been through the dark night of the soul and knew how to inspire a nation going through the blitz.”
Photo 1: The Eynsford Concert Band performs Unseen Wings: A Churchill Portrait, a symphony based on Dr. Stephen Mansfield’s book on former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Photo 2: Dr. Stephen Mansfield’s first book was published as Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill and later re-released as The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill: Hero in a Time of Crisis.
Photo 3: Dr. Stephen Mansfield uses stories from the life of Winston Churchill to give leadership trainings.