Singing for Life
Sunday, 31st January 2016
A major charity concert at The Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff on Sea where the Leigh Orpheus was joined by the Braintree, St Edmundsbury and Thurrock Male Voice Choirs and the Elliott Weight Trio, with TV weatherman Francis Wilson as compere. What a treat on a winter’s afternoon! A major concert, aimed at making as much money as possible for Prostate Cancer UK, with an audience of about 1000.
Under the direction of their MD Janet Walker, and with Jacky Atkinson accompanying, the eighty members of the Leigh Orpheus present today started the concert with ‘Gwahoddiad’. They followed that with ‘Flying Free’, accompanied on the flute by Evan Davis, and ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ (the end of which always catches the audience out!). Then ‘She’, again with flute accompaniment and finally for their first set, and with choir members appropriately equipped with pirate accessories, ‘The Song of the Jolly Roger’.
Just two excerpts for those who were unable to be there or want to listen again:
It was the first outing of the Leigh Orpheus’s new uniform. With the help and support of Moss Bros Southend over one hundred members now have a new three piece suit – “very smart” is the usual comment!
Next Braintree Male Voice Choir, conducted by David Wood and accompanied by Sue Edwards, sang five pieces: ‘Down by the Sally Gardens’, ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘What a Wonderful World’, ‘Unchained Melody and finally ‘I Write the Songs’ which had been specially arranged for their 40th anniversary in 2011.
Then, to end the first half of the concert, St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir took to the stage, directed by Mark Jefferson and accompanied by Calvin Goymer. St Edmundsbury started with ‘Aberystwyth’ followed by ‘Sure on this Shining Night’, ‘Angels’ and finally ‘Mustang Sally’.
Time for the interval and a chance for the choirs and audience to take a break. And for our dignitaries, who had kindly joined us for the concert, to be hosted for their refreshments by the Leigh Orpheus’s President, Sir David Amess.
The second half of the concert involved all the performers from the four choirs, with the men from Thurrock Male Voice Choir joining the three choirs that had performed in the first half. About 200 men were somehow fitted onto the stage of The Cliffs Pavilion.
What could be a more appropriate start for the Mass Choir than ‘Let All Men Sing’? This was followed by ‘Speed Your Journey’ and ‘Softly as I Leave You’ when Mark Jefferson then conducted ‘My Lord What a Morning’ with Calvin Goymer accompanying. Jan Walker then returned to conduct ‘Morte Christe’ before the choirs took a break and the Elliott Weight Trio came on stage to change the mood and perform three jazz pieces.
Then another major change of style as the Mass Choir started the next set with Faust’s ‘Soldiers’ Chorus’, followed by ‘Every Time I Feel the Spirit’ and finally, for this set, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, conducted by Braintree’s David Wood and accompanied by Sue Edwards.
The concert had been staged to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and Ian Adamson, representing the charity, talked to the audience about the work of this important charity – especially important to many of the men on the stage, and in the audience, of course.
Then it was time for the Mass Choir’s final set. The Mass Choir sang ‘Rhythm of Life’, skilfully accompanied on the piano, four-handed, by Mark Jefferson and Calvin Goymer. And the final piece on the programme – ‘With a Voice of Singing’ and it’s rousing ‘Hallelujah’ to end the show.
Compere Francis Wilson took to the microphone to undertake the important task of the thanks. Firstly to the three accompanists, including LOMVC’s Jacky Atkinson who had not only accompanied the Leigh Orpheus in the first half of the concert but had also accompanied the majority of the pieces in the second half. Then the Braintree and St Edmundsbury Musical Directors, Mark Jefferson and David Wood, and finally, to even greater applause, the Leigh Orpheus’s Musical Director, who had conducted the majority of the concert, Janet Walker.
Francis had done a fine job for us (as it turned out, outside of his comfort zone of cameras and autocues) and the Leigh Orpheus’s Chairman, Martin Wood, presented Francis with a gift to thank him for his support for the cause and excellent compering.
The audience weren’t going to go home without hearing more and there was, luckily, one more piece to come – again, for choir members, so appropriate – ‘What Would I Do Without My Music’.
The concert had been a huge success with many saying that they would have liked the concert to have gone on for much longer. But there was an additional success to come! As they left, our very generous audience put not only loose change, but £5, £10 and £20 notes into the buckets LOMVC’s Front of House team had at the ready. And the amount raised from this bucket collection? An amazing £1453!! This will be added to the money already previously raised by the Leigh Orpheus, along with the proceeds of the concert itself, so that what promises to be an impressive sum of money can be sent to Prostate Cancer UK for its important work.
Many many thanks to everyone who in any way helped to make this concert such a huge success!