A Night With The Orchestra

Orchestra
A Night With The Orchestra

MAPAS/NEL Music Hub Ensembles
at the Whitgift Film Theatre
reviewed by Sue Baker
Sunday 20th March

Whitgift Film Theatre was the venue for the MAPAS Easter Celebration Concert on Sunday 20th March, entitled A Night With The Orchestra and it certainly was a night to remember with over a hundred fine young musicians performing together in the finale of Mars from the Planet Suite by Gustav Holst.

This wonderful evening of music making was attended by the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Cliff Barber and he commented on how pleased he and his wife were to be able to attend. The aim was to give the North East Lincolnshire Youth Orchestra (known as NELYO) and two of its feeder ensembles the opportunity to showcase some of the excellent music they have been learning over the last few weeks.

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The first half began with confident and enthusiastic performances of Penny Lane and Bohemian Rhapsody by the Grimsby Youth Band under the leadership of Adrian Clarke. This this group of more than thirty five young brass players have progressed from Brass Roots to Grimsby Youth Band and some of the members also play in the Youth orchestra. They’ve certainly been working hard in rehearsals and this shone through in their performances, especially of the Queen piece which Adrian introduced as being the most difficult piece they had ever worked on.

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Following this performance North East Lincolnshire Training Orchestra took to the stage and under the direction of Ian Booth and they chose to play A Spanish Sketch, which was written for the individual players by Ian Booth and then into a rousing performance of Star Wars.

The NELYO Wind section then performed three contrasting pieces which not only demonstrated strength within each section but also some excellent soloists. Isabella Goodwin played beautifully the solo soprano saxophone beautifully in an arrangement of Rodrigo’s En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor. Other soloists were Dylan Heywood and Sam Garbutt on drums , Emma Northern on Eb Horn and Jacob Wilding narrating for War of the Worlds all did an excellent job.

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The NELYO String section gave a passionate and exciting performance of Serenade For Strings by Tchaikovsky. This piece tested all players as it demanded a great deal from them both musically and technically but these wonderful young string players rose to the challenge with great vigour. The strings were confidently led by Ellie Robey.

The second half of the concert showcased the constantly growing NELYO which now has over sixty members. They performed arrangements of seven of the BBC 10 Pieces which included classics such as the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and Night On Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky. All of the sections of the orchestra were featured and this certainly provided a varied and hugely enjoyable programme.

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The musical director of NELYO is Adrian Clarke and he is supported by some inspirational teachers who constantly encourage and drive these young musicians forward.
This concert was supported by Soundboard which is the fundraising body for the MAPAS ensembles. Following the success of Sunday evening’s concert they are providing an Oscars presentation evening for all of the members of the ensembles. Judging from Sundays performance they will need many awards!

Congratulations to all involved.

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This feature also appears in The Peoples Issue 41 Web Edition

The Rucksack Project

Rucksack

Most of us put a few pennies into a charity collection tin now and again. It gives us a nice warm and virtuous glow, but sometimes it’s good to do something more practical and personal, something that helps us connect with others who are in a position less fortunate than our own and that’s where an initiative like The Rucksack Project is so valuable.

The Project began in 2013 in Bristol as a practical response to the hardship of homelessness and its basic idea is so simple you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. All you need to do to support the project is to go to your favourite local charity shop and purchase some or all of the following items:
a large rucksack, a sleeping bag, a woolly hat, gloves and scarf, some underwear and socks, a fleece jacket, a thermos flask.
A few tins of soup, preferably the ring pull kind, would be good too. Then then contact the Rucksack project via www.rucksackproject.org or through Facebook (rucksackprojectgrimsbycleethorpesandlincolnshire). They’ll advise you where to take your purchases for distribution or how to get more involved if you’d care to do so. Volunteers are always welcome.

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The local branch of the project held an awareness raising day on Saturday 19th March at Corporation Bridge, which was attended by Melanie Onn MP and we went down to talk to the organisers. They told us that although we often see homeless people around town, the true level of homelessness in the borough is much greater than one might think, especially if one factors in the many people who sleep on their friend’s couches and floors. The forthcoming loss of more than seven hundred homes with the demolition of the Freeman Street flats will also contribute to the local housing shortage and lead to more people living on the streets.

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Local organiser Roger Bentley explained to us how perilously close to homelessness many people are, even those who have good jobs and supportive families, and that six years of austerity have led to the removal vital safety nets which many of us assume are still in place. Many of those who sleep on the streets are among the most vulnerable in society, including people with mental health or substance use issues. any others are young people driven from home by intolerable circumstances.

“Whatever the reasons it’s clear that we can’t turn a blind eye to so much hardship and suffering right on our doorsteps. If people want to help then The Rucksack Project is a way of making a small contribution that can have have a major effect.”

If you’d like to donate items or get involved with the project in other ways you can contact them via Facebook.

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This article also appears in The Peoples Issue 41 Web Edition

TALES FROM NARNIA AT ST MARTIN’S

Narnia

Fusion Creative Bring Aslan Roaring Back To Life

It’s been a busy six months (or so) up at St Martin’s on Scartho Road but with their new production of Tales From Narnia on Saturday, Fusion Creative showed that they’re now fully settled into their new premises and that they’re prepared to make the most of the extra opportunities it affords for more sophisticated and ambitious drama than was possible in their previous home at St James’ House.

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Drawing together elements of the whole Narnia multiverse, including Prince Caspian, The Horse And His Boy and The Silver Chair, Tales brought together a cast of young people and adults, assisted by stilt walkers, an orchestra and a choir to bring CS Lewis’ magical world to life. Performances were universally excellent and since it seems invidious to single out any one performer from such a fine ensemble we’ll avoid doing so. Suffice it to say that everyone involved, from principals to chorus and including all the backroom assistants and volunteers without whose help a show like this would be impossible, acquitted themselves superbly and we’ll be looking forward with anticipation to see what their next production will be.

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Next on the agenda for Fusion is their Look Up Festival which runs from April 7th – 9th. The festival features poetry, crafts and music and culminates with a performance by legendary cabaret artist Barb Jungr. For more details check out the Fusion website or their Facebook page.

This feature also appears in The Peoples Issue 41 Web Edition

Interview: The Peoples talks to David Gest

David Gest

“My mother was called Wei Wei Nani
and my grandmother was Poo
I was always very fond of Poo Nani ….”

Interview: The Peoples talks to David Gest

Showbusiness legend and friend to the stars, producer and reality star David Gest brings his snappily titled new show, David Gest Is Not Dead He’s Alive With Soul, to the Auditorium on July 3rd. With a star studded cast including Dina Carroll, Russell Thompkins Jnr, (the original vocalist from the Stylistics), Deniece Williams, Billy Paul, Anita Ward and Fern Kinney it should be a fabulous night of classic soul and if that’s not enough for you then there’s special guest star Rose Royce featuring Gwen Dickey as well.

For those who have failed to keep their basic reality TV knowledge up to date the show’s title is a reference to an incident during the recent series of Celebrity Big Brother when confusion resulting from Angie Bowie being told that her ex-husband had died left some housemates under the impression that the spirit of David Gest had departed in the night. Fortunately for us and for the entertainment industry, rumours of his death were exaggerated.

We got the chance to speak to him at the Auditorium when he came over to talk about the new show and about the fascinating story of his life and he was on great form, wickedly funny, utterly deadpan, frank and entertaining and clearly still in love with the world of showbusiness.

The Peoples: Thank you very much for finding the time to speak to us. I’ve spent most of the morning watching you on YouTube and I have to say that I haven’t laughed so much in a long time as I did watching you explaining to Richard and Judy about your uncle Dick and Aunt Fanny Hertz and their nut farm. So can I ask you first of all, have you always had this mischievous streak that makes you spin yarns with such outrageous plausibility?

David Gest: They’re not yarns. It’s all true. These are my family stories that I’m sharing. I’ve had an extraordinary life. I wasn’t born in the United States. I was born in Taiwan. My father was a one legged fisherman and my mother was a trainee nun. My real name was Hoppity. Why you laughing?

I’m sorry. It’s a very moving story.

It is a moving story. I was adopted when I was five and I’ve never seen my birth family again.

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During your theatrical career you’ve produced some remarkable shows including the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert, Dionne Warwick’s 45th Anniversary Spectacular and the Legends Ball starring Whitney Houston. Is there any one show that you think of as being the highlight of your career, the one you’re most proud of?

The Michael Jackson show is probably the highlight. I knew the Jacksons because they were my neighbours when I was growing up and I used to go round to their house and they’d come to mine and at the time I was living in California and one morning I put on the radio and I heard the song The Love You Save which is probably my favourite Jackson 5 song and I said to myself “I’m going to reunite them just to hear that song”. So I called Michael and he said “no” but I said to him, “This is going to be special. It’s your thirtieth anniversary and you’re going to be reunited with your brothers”.

I called his assistant Franklin and said, “You gotta help me convince him” and we all took a trip to San Francisco in a coach and we went the wrong way and we almost went off a mountain and we had such a great weekend he said “Yes”. When we started rehearsals for that show and they played The Love You Save I couldn’t believe that we’d actually done it and got them together. I remember watching the show later at home with Liza Minnelli and we sat on the couch and we both said “This is really good.” Because sometimes when you do something you don’t know if it’s good or not, but there we were watching it on CBS and the next day when they said it was the highest rated show of all time, I was so proud. I was stunned. Usually when you do something you think that you could do it better if you did it again but the Michael Jackson show is a really good show.

I designed all the numbers, like Whitney, Usher and Mya doing Wanna Be Startin’ Something and Liza singing You Are Not Alone and each one was tailored to the performer. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Do you ever watch it now?

I haven’t watched it in about eight years because I don’t like watching myself or my shows on television. I’ve never even seen myself on Big Brother.

Going into the jungle made you into more than just a celebrity. It made you into a much loved popular figure in this country. Do you feel the love from the British public?
I feel it all the time and it makes me feel very lucky. Earlier today we were in Hull and when we came out of the theatre and walked along the street all the builders and the passers by said “Hello” and stopped us for photographs. I have seldom known this happen in this way to anyone.

I live in this country now, have done for the past nine years, in York, and I love it. My heart is here. There’s a big difference between British people and American people. British people never talk about their money or what they have or what they do. There’s a refinement and reserve to the British and you’re so well educated. Kids know Shakespeare and your school system is so much better.

I love the British people I have never felt so at home. The way they react to me is wonderful. They come up to me and say “‘Ello, ‘ow are you?” and I say “‘Ello, ‘ow are you?” back in my bad Dick Van Dyke cockney accent. It’s great to put a smile on people’s faces and I’m humbled by it but I never expected it. I didn’t want to do I’m A Celebrity. I was forced into it. I’d been injured and had a head injury and I said “No” but my former security man said “You have to do this”. I had only ever seen one clip of the programme, with Carol Thatcher eating a bug, and I thought “I could do that”.

And I’m glad I did because it was the greatest experience of my life because I love nature and animals and snakes and I remember that I put a lizard on my hand and said “I’m going to call you Bonnie Tyler” and I started to sing It’s A Heartbreak to it and it turned blue and died.

The people on the show were great too. I was the only American and I didn’t know most of theme or what they did, but they were all lovely and I made lots of friends and had a great time.

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Let’s talk about your new show. I’ve seen you described as a new Ziegfield. Do you see yourself that way, as a master showman? And is that reflected in David Gest Is Not Dead?

I’d love to be thought of that way. I don’t think I’ve made it yet but this is a big show. It’s starts with my funeral and then everybody shouts “David Gest isn’t dead, he’s alive right here in Grimsby” and then we go into a big gospel number. And I am actually an ordained minister and when you hear me going crazy and shouting “Praise God, Praise Jesus” (at this point he slips effortlessly into character and his stage voice echoes around the room, causing everyone else present to stop talking and look sheepishly round the room as if to say “It wasn’t me, I was whispering”), well everybody listens. I have the little people of David Gest with me and they bring me luck.

Do you ever get tired of being a reality star and start to crave privacy?

Well I don’t do reality shows as much as I used to. I like the quiet life. I’ve been a celebrity and I’ve been to the expensive restaurants and nowadays I am just as happy going to a hog roast and having some meat and Yorkshire pudding as going to a restaurant and paying £80 or £100 for a meal.

Some of the towns you’re playing are quite small. Many of them have never even had a star studded Hollywood comedy named after them. Do you like playing small towns and relatively small venues?

I love it. I love it that as I come in there’s a huge car lot with miles and miles of cars. It’s great to come to a town where the port is still a part of your community.

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I noticed that you do a lot of work for charity. Do you enjoy that?

I do because sometimes people fall on hard times and it’s not because of their own fault but because their lives are out of control and if you can help people to make their own lives better that’s a wonderful feeling. And you make yourself a better person that way.

I think you’ll like it here at the Auditorium. It’s a lovely venue and a great acoustic and the audience will be buzzing. Do you have a message to the people of Grimsby and Cleethorpes about why they should come to the show?

I think they should come and see my show because I’m absolutely nuts and because they’re going to see eleven soul legends and they’re all absolutely fantastic and if they come they’ll have a wonderful night.

Thank you very much indeed.

This interview can be found in The Peoples Issue 41 Web Edition

The Peoples Issue 41 – available now

The Peoples Issue 41 cover

It’s the one with the bonkers looking rabbit on the front. Calculated to make you reach for the Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch. First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out.

You know the drill.

It’s available here online and in major supermarkets and many (but not all) other places in the real world.

Caring For Two Communities

Uganda

From time to time we like to bring our readers an update on one of our favourite local charities Age Care and Development which does so much to assist the disadvantaged in Western Uganda.

ACAD is the brainchild of our good friend Mark Howarth of Garden Aid who donates 10% of his profit to funding projects aimed at helping a community of elderly adults and children, mostly survivors of civil war and HIV epidemics in Mukunyu Province.

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At present Mark and Age Care Development are working to raise £10,000 for the building of a much needed hospital, workshop facility and residential centre. As you can see from our pictures some progress has been made on the building although there is still much to be done before the building is ready.

In the meantime an outbreak of typhoid and dysentery has led to several deaths among the local population who were simply unable to afford the bottled drinking water that they were advised to drink. In large parts of the world dirty drinking water is one of the commonest causes of death and illness and the establishment of new clean wells is high on the list of ACAD’s priorities.

They are also seeking to raise money to pay the school fees for many of the local children to enable them to get the education which will help to raise them out of hardship.

If you’d like to help Mark make life better for the residents of Mukunyu he’d love to hear from you. You can contact him by telephone on 07742 638423 or at gardenaid2010@yahoo.co.uk

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