Tsunami Benefit Concert
St John’s Parish Hall, Saturday 15th January 2005

Over 120 people, mostly from the Spring Grove area, came along to enjoy this event, which was arranged at very short notice to raise money for the Tsunami Appeal. Entry was by donation and every penny raised will go to the appeal. We had a great line up of performers, some local and some from further a-field, who volunteered their services free of charge as soon as they heard about the evening.

Kate Walsh   First on the bill was Kate Walsh, a singer-songwriter who is receiving great reviews for both her live performances and recorded songs. Kate eased us into the evening with a selection of acoustic songs from her album Clocktower Park, and you can find out more about Kate on her website: www.katewalsh.net

Then it was the turn of our very own local lads, ShamRok, who got a great reaction from the audience playing an up-tempo set with a mixture of well known songs and songs which they’ve written themselves. Playing electric and acoustic material and with increasing confidence with their vocal harmonies, they continue to do themselves and Hollyfield School proud. (And now that Busted are gone, well, who knows, …! They won’t thank me for that.)   Shamrok

Cozma Vaughan   Next came Cozma Vaughan, a duo from Reading - guitarist Gordon Vaughan is brother of Plan B’s drummer Alan. Gordon and singer / guitarist Lu played songs from their first album 5 Months 5 Days, which is also receiving very good reviews. They played a great set with songs from a variety of genres. More information about Cozma Vaughan can be found on their website: www.cozmavaughan.com

It was now time for the raffle. Since hearing about the planned event (only just over a week ago) Julie Bishop has been seeking out donations of prizes, and the table was groaning under the weight of a number of very generous contributions. In addition, our master of ceremonies for the evening (Keith - a friend of Mike from Plan B) was able to lay his hands on a crate of champagne which was auctioned. Between them the raffle and auction raised £350 to add to our total for the evening, so massive thanks to Julie, Keith, all those who donated prizes and of course all those who bought tickets or bid.

Our next artiste was Martha Tilston, a very well known folk singer with a number of albums under her belt and extensive experience playing to audiences all around the UK. Martha engaged us not only with her songs - sometimes moving, sometimes simply fun - but also with her conversation between songs. You can find out more about Martha and her music on her website: www.marthatilston.co.uk   Martha Tilston

Plan B   The evening was rounded off by our own local rockers Plan B. No albums, no websites (not because we don’t like these ideas, just haven’t been able to organise ourselves to do either yet!), just an eclectic mix of good songs to dance to, which the audience did with great gusto. (Once again, apologies to Alan our drummer for a picture in which he is Obscured by Music … hmmm - good name for a first album though?!)

Despite being arranged at short notice many others gave time and great enthusiasm to make the evening possible. A delicious hot meal (thai chicken and / or spicy vegetarian, with rice) was made by Barbara Higham, Pam Vaughan and Jane Chapman, who also acted as dinner ladies, ably supported by Alice Fowles and Julia Becker. Freddie Vaughan and Ben Higham were our bar stewards for the evening. “Fletch” and Barbara Greenway manned (and womaned) the door, Nigel Duffin did a great job lighting each act in a way which was sympathetic to the music, and Martha’s friend Martin worked hard at the mixing desk, ensuring really good sound quality all evening.

So, thanks to all those mentioned above and to others who I may have forgotten. Most importantly, though, thank you to all of you who came and supported the event and donated money to the appeal. (We have also received donations from others who were unable to come but wanted to contribute, and also from collections at St John’s Church.) The total raised, which will be sent to the Disasters Emergency Committee Fund this week, is

£1919.30

Phil Chapman (Plan B), 17/1/05