Thursday, 11 October 2012

Seasons of Love

Fabulous charity evening at the Royal Albert Hall a few days ago...
Lovely array of stars, and a gloriously moving & life-enhancing show for all.
Lynda Bellingham, Janie Dee, Jennifer Ellison, Jan Harvey, Julia Hills, Sue Holderness, Lesley Joseph, Gay Soper, Hannah Waterman, June Watson, Stephen Tomkinson, Christopher Timothy, Peter Skellern, Richard Stilgoe, Edward Baruwa, Tiffany Graves, Patrick Doyle, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Tim Firth, Alan Titchmarsh, Tabitha Webb, Debbie Kurup, DMJ & Willy Russell... were all there live; John Alderton, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie & Patricia Hodge all appeared on film with messages of support.

Also on film was Neil Sedaka, who was clearly delighted that we sang his song, Calendar Girl... we were delightfully aided in not looking too dreadful in our 'dancing' as we were joined by the gorgeous and talented, Rossana Stocchino & Lucie Waugh, who danced beautifully.
We also sang Scarborough Fair (in our great John Rutter arrangement) with the excellent harpist, Vicky Lester.

Another wonderful moment, when a young tenor from the West End Chorus, Ian, stepped in at just a few hours notice, and sang the absurdly hard song, 'Til I Hear You Sing from Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies - terrific job to learn a song over night & do it so amazingly in the show

The show was a celebration of the work of those WI Calendar Girls who we know from the film and stage play, but are real splendid Yorkshire people whose calendar has to date made £3m for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research...
The audience, it was clear, loved the film, the play and these amazing fund-raisers.
The evening culminated in the real Calendar Girls, along with their photographer Terry Logan, coming onstage, and being the recipients of the first Baker awards, which will from now on be awarded annually for people who do great things for fund-raising.
The 'Girls' were tickled pink when the postman from their village of Cracoe, who had only been to London once before ("It's all right", he said when asked by Alan T. how he found it)... very moving and funny all at once.
Indeed we all sang Jerusalem together at the end it all...

Hugh Wooldridge as ever, did a wonderful, efficient job devising and directing all this, and getting it to work in the RAH over just a few hours... super MD: Kevin Amos, wonderful choreographer: Kevan Allen.

PS: lovely also for me to hear once more Make Our Garden Grow from Bernstein's Candide, which we had sung at our wedding...

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