INTERNATIONAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT
6th DECEMBER 2003
was a bitterly cold evening and I was hardly dressed for the
occasion as Hayley would be able to confirm. A temporary structure
which pretended to be a stage had been erected just in front
of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. This had already
been the scene of a concert of carols given by the choir of
a church in Motspur Park which concluded at about 6pm.
had heard a rumour that Hayley would be appearing but would
not believe it until I saw her. A 15-strong choral ensemble
called 'Voce' (please forgive the spelling if I am wrong) took
the stage but I was still unsure about Hayley's presence. Suddenly
I became oblivious to the ever-growing crowds around me as she
was introduced together with a young man whose name was not
familiar to me (apologies again). First of all Hayley, then
the said young man spoke a few words on behalf of Amnesty International
and the work that they are doing and how essential it is that
people become aware of the need for international arms control.
They both asked that we, the public, write to MPs and make our
voices heard in the hope that it would lend support to the organisation's
cause. The nameless young man was, perhaps, more used to public
speaking than Hayley and was, therefore, a little more eloquent
but he was reading every word. He said all the right things
but his message lacked feeling; he may as well have been reading
a shopping list! Hayley, on the other hand, had no such script.
Her speech was spontaneous and from the heart. It was her words
that drove the message home.
then took the stage to sing two traditional carols a capella
(no instrumental accompaniment.... apparently!); just vocal
backing from Voce. I was standing directly in front of Hayley
and no more than three or four yards away. Her voice was unbelievable.
It rang through as crystal clear as it does on her CD despite
the background discordant embellishments of the nearby London
traffic. To be honest, I am not the world's greatest admirer
of carols but the beauty of Hayley's voice singing Silent Night
was spellbinding and moved me so much that I was close to tears.
She was probably having the same effect on Nelson but I couldn't
tell in the darkness!
that could be seen of what Hayley was wearing was a pair of
light blue jeans beneath a lovely warm-looking white coat with
fur trimmings which, I guess was the one she bought in Edinburgh
recently, and a white woollen scarf which she removed while
she was singing. She looked lovely - what a shame that I no
longer possess a camera.
too soon she left the stage to make way for other performers
who I am sure were more than worthy of the occasion and I can
only apologise to them for not having stayed around to see them.
Suddenly, I had a more pressing engagement....
had disappeared to the left of the Christmas tree so I quickly
gave up my advantageous position to those behind me. They seemed
grateful at the time! I made my way through the crowds in the
direction that Hayley had gone. It wasn't long before I found
her holding a small plaque displaying the 'Amnesty International'
logo, being photographed by the press. When they had finished
snapping, I called her. We spoke for maybe ten minutes or so
and it is like all those who have met her always say - she is
absolutely delightful. So down-to-earth with the occasional
hint of youthful excitement, so charming and so friendly. She
told me of one or two forthcoming television appearances including
'Parkinson' to be broadcast of Christmas Day which she had recorded
that very afternoon. She also told me something that I am sure
all readers will want to know. She will be filming in New Zealand
early next year for a DVD due to be released in the UK next
I had not expected the opportunity to meet her would arise,
I took the booklet from 'Pure' just in case. I was thrilled
when she signed it for me. I then shook her hand and she commented
that my hands were cold (which explains my opening sentence!).
I told her that I had been standing around waiting for her for
two hours for which she apologised! Hayley, if I am ever lucky
enough to meet you again, I'll wear gloves!
Reviews Menu 2003