TWO ground-breaking bands are to unite and play their first ever gig together at a special concert recognising and celebrating the musical talents of people with learning difficulties in Beverley next month.
The ‘Hope and Magic’ concert, to be held at Toll Gavel Church, will be headlined by a combination of musicians from The Unknown and Little Venice bands, each consisting solely of adults with learning difficulties.
Pupils from Beverley Longcroft School will also play their part in the one-off production, with talented 18-year-old guitarist and singer Nikki Airey also set to take to the stage and entertain more than 300 music lovers.
Formed at The Camden Society in London, a charity which supports people with learning disabilities, both The Unknown and Little Venice have wowed audiences with the quality of their music and performances.
Now, they are bringing their pop, rock and folk music to Beverley, thanks to the support of local musician Denise Delahay, who has organised the concert.
As a close friend of the bands’ founder, Beverley Folk Festival regular Andy Wolpole, Denise was aware of their great music and the quality of a complication album – the first by musicians with learning difficulties – they produced two years ago.
Desperate to showcase their talents to a local audience, Denise first considered their involvement in the Folk Festival itself, but finally decided upon organising a concert of their own, setting up a charity, Music Lives, to make it possible.
Now 11 musicians, aged between 40 and 72 and all with learning difficulties, will line up alongside professionals and the local pupils.
“When I heard the music of the two bands on the album, I was amazed by the quality of their music and I am sure people who come to the concert in Beverley will feel exactly the same,” said Denise.
“When I played the compilation disc to people, many said to me that we should bring them to the Folk Festival, but although that would be lovely, logistically it would be very difficult.
“I thought why not give them their own concert? Now, thanks to many people kindly supporting us financially and with other forms of help, it is going to happen, with local schoolchildren and musicians alongside them.
“It will be great to see local talent such as Nikki take to the stage too, and for other pupils from Longcroft to be part of the production team.”
Financial support has come from the City Health Care Partnership Foundation, which has covered the cost of hiring the church for the event.
The cost of purchasing sound and recording equipment has been covered by the Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust, with the Hull-based personal injury and medical negligence law firm delighted to help out.
“When Denise came to us looking for support for this project, it was clear that it was going to be an inspirational night which brings the community together,” said Jo Hudgell, who heads the Trust.
“We always look to support groups and organisations that seek to inspire people, encourage social inclusion and play a positive role in the community.
“This project ticks all of those boxes, and we hope music lovers in the region come out in force and back Denise, and all of the artists, as this is something unique and deserving of support.”
As well as the concert, which starts at 7pm on Saturday, April 19, professional musicians will be available in the church between 2-4pm to provide advice to budding musicians of all levels.
Both Debbie and Andrew, and a music therapist from charity Music Alive, whose performers use innovative musical technology to overcome disabilities, will also be in attendance,
“I am really excited about the entire day and can’t wait for it now,” added Mrs Delahay.
“We have had so much support from the local community in what we are doing we have been overwhelmed. The financial support has enabled us to cut the costs of tickets by half also, which is wonderful.”
Tickets for Hope and Magic are priced at £5 for adults and £4 for children and concessions and are available from the Beverley Tourist Information Centre, or from Denise on 07964 059912 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust is currently welcoming new applications, ahead of a March 31 deadline, for funding of up to £1,000 for groups and organisations across Yorkshire adding value to their communities.
Application details can be found at www.neil-hudgell.co.uk/trust