Saturday, 2 September 2017

Charity Musical Concert

What a wonderful evening!
A friend gave me a ticket to this - she'd bought it because she wanted to contribute to the Keith Leighton Neurological Fund, but didn't think she would be able to go. I'd been aware of the Keith Leighton Fund locally, but didn't really know a lot about it - I learned a lot last night!
St Mary's was packed for the performance, which started off with Father Richard on the organ, playing Handel - building up to pulling all the stops out! The master of ceremonies was Roger Beetham, in a multi-coloured waistcoat, treating the evening like Sunday Night at the London Palladium! He said at one point that he had married a Madigan, and she had lots of Keylock cousins, which may have been why he was asked to organise the evening.
Next on stage was Ross Leighton, who said that, as a member of the family, he would have felt insulted if he wasn't invited to play. He had some very clever tech on stage, in the form of a little red box. When he played a phrase of music on his guitar, the box repeated it back, and he could layer one phrase above another until it sounded like there were four or five guitars playing.
He was one of the younger performers, and was followed by two of the older generation - Sue and Mal, accompanied by Val on the piano. Mal is a member of the Talgarth Male Voice Choir, which sometimes comes and sings in Hay, and they did two lovely pieces - the second was Panis Angelicus (there was a bit of an angel theme running through the choices of songs).
Back to the youngsters, with Sam Powell on the piano and Luci Prendergast singing - I was impressed by the number of talented local young men who can play the piano (and guitar), and some seriously good local young women singers.
Sam was followed at the piano by Thom, son of the MC, who had come up to play despite it being his 5th wedding anniversary. His wife Annis had planned to perform with him, but their small child was poorly, so she had stayed at home.

During the interval, there was a bar at the back, with Stuart the churchwarden asking people to stay inside the church with their drinks, because drinking outside in the churchyard wasn't covered by their licence. Stuart also mentioned, at the beginning of the concert, that it might be warm in the church now, but the heating system is on its last legs, and they would be very grateful if people leaving at the end could put some money in the jar by the door for new central heating. There were also snacks, and the inevitable raffle, with lots of prizes, one of which was won by Jack Keylock - who was the inspiration for the concert.

The second half began with Fred Hayward and George Keylock, on guitars. This may have been the first time a Lady GaGa song has been heard in St Mary's!
They were followed by Morgan Field, who had another bit of clever tech - she did something on her phone, pressed a button on one of the speakers, and had a backing track for her Welsh song.
Then Thea and Sam Harrhy came up - young Sam was playing an acoustic guitar, so needed to stand close to a low microphone while they sang so it could be heard.
Then Sheila Leighton came up and read a poem in praise of Hay-on-Wye, written by Phyllis Malone, who lived to be a hundred years old, and loved the area.
The finale was some very fine choral close harmony singing by the Black Lion Singers, a new group led by Roger Beetham (who appears to have been involved in music teaching in the area for many years - he mentioned meeting some of the younger performers when they were in infant school). One of the pieces they sang was South African - he attempted to say it was in the !Xhosa language (and the exclamation mark should be the other way up, to denote a click), and a South African lady in the front row corrected his pronunciation for him!

The choir was a wonderful end to the concert, but the best part was next, when Jack Keylock's father spoke on stage about his son being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and how much the Keith Leighton Fund had helped the family. Jack has just come back from five weeks in hospital in Birmingham, having surgery - his head is shaved, and there are several scars visible. Sheila Leighton came up on stage too (previously I'd only known her as the nice lady in the opticians) and said a few words about the Fund, which started when her husband had a brain tumour, thirty years ago, and has helped several local families since - there seem to be a lot of people who suffer from brain tumours in this area; no-one seems to know why.
Then Jack came up on stage with an enormous bunch of pink and white flowers for Sheila, to show his appreciation of all she had done for him, and he said a few words. He talked about the day that he got the diagnosis, and saw the devastation on his father's face, and.... "I can't swear in here!" he said. And then he went on to say that having the brain tumour has, he thinks, made him a better person, because he now wants to help other people.
But that wasn't the end of the concert. The end was a rousing rendition of Cwm Rhondda - The Welsh hymn, with all the congregation belting it out for all they were worth.
A great end to a great evening.


Anonymous said...

Typo alert Morgan not Malone

Eigon said...

Thanks! I thought I'd caught all the mistakes!