The Powdermills Hotel in Battle hosted the Gala Concert in aid of St Michaels Hospice last Sunday. They kindly donated the venue for such a worthy cause, which attracted a large audience keen to see three young professionals who all delivered a fabulous and moving performance.
The setting was picturesque, the weather could not have been better, blue skies, sunshine and a gentle breeze and the large number of supporters queued patiently, as behind the scenes, staff and helpers worked frantically to clear away and re-dress the function room following a wedding which ran over time.
The scene was set, mood lighting and subtle background music welcomed the audience as they took their seats.
Debbie Burt introduced the proceedings and gave a very moving speech explaining why she and husband Michael had decided to arrange the whole event, the decision taken only 5 weeks ago. Raising money for St Michaels Hospice was the mission, a ‘thank you’ to all the amazing staff at the hospice who cared for their late relatives.
Without doubt, their mission was well and truly accomplished.
First on stage was Ollie Mulkeen, an international vocal entertainer and accomplished trumpeter who arrived in the UK the previous day from the cruise liner where he had been performing. He wowed everyone with a great performance of Rat Pack classics and solos on the trumpet and flugelhorn.
Classical tenor, Tom Loughlin then came on stage to be joined by Danielle Louise Thomas, a classically trained mezzo soprano and together they delivered a selection of well loved favourites from West Side Story.
For a young man, Tom has a very mature and powerful voice, a true professional exuding confidence and someone who will soon will be snapped up by talent scouts who will be fighting over him, as he undoubtedly has a very promising career in front of him. Remember his name, it will be on everyone’s lips before too long.
Danielle is a seasoned professional, oozing confidence and with a fabulous repertoire. She has such a powerful voice with crystal clear diction and will be performing with Russell Watson at Winchester Cathedral in October as part of the Rye Jazz Festival concert series.
The compere, Phil Miles, despite having never compered before, did a great job. He made himself available at short notice and was cool, calm and collected throughout. It was obvious from the audience reaction that both they and he thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
After the interval we were entertained with songs from the London musicals including Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera and the Greatest Showman and Ollie returning to the stage with soulful performance of ‘Bring him home’ on the flugelhorn and a stirring rendition of ‘Lord of the dance’ which he performed on the trumpet.
The audience rose to their feet following a superb performance of ‘Nesum Dorma’ and ‘The Prayer’, a well earned standing ovation with deafening applause.
No fundraiser would be complete without a raffle, which followed. Phil the compere with his group of young ‘ticket pickers’ called out the winning tickets and the lucky recipients were rewarded with a wonderful selection of prizes, all donated by local businesses and individuals.
At just £15 a ticket (£2.50 for children) this was exceptional value for money. The goodwill and effort required to make this event such a huge success was largely down to Michael Burt, who made the decision to make this happen and with the help and support of his wife Debbie, friends, family and a small army of helpers and generous sponsors he well and truly pulled it off.
To date the concert has raised £2,400 on behalf of St Michaels Hospice and with more donations to come, a great result and a really enjoyable afternoon of live entertainment.
Image Credits: Nick Forman , Alan Poole .