WALES THEATRE, LLANDUDNO
17th November, 2004
TOUR 2004 - Part 4
I met Keith
at 4 o’clock and we waited inside the Stage Door for some time.
As various members of the orchestra arrived, we pressed the
button beside the door to let them in! When Ben Foster (the
conductor) arrived, to my astonishment, he said, “thank you,
Roger! Fame at last! We also let in Mario Frangoulis and, eventually,
Steve, Gerald and Hayley!
it possible that these concerts are getting better and better?
Yes, it is. It began, as it had done in Edinburgh, with Pachelbel’s
Canon. Soon after this came a brief interruption. After her
first song, Hayley made the usual announcement about having
recently completed her exams and that she would have to wait
until February for the results. But this time she added, “so
I’m a little nervous”. This was my cue.
do fine”, I shouted in full voice! Amid mild laughter from the
audience, Hayley giggled and said, “oh, thanks”, as though it
had been a spontaneous reaction from an anonymous member of
the audience. I later suggested to Hayley that it had been a
bit of fun to do once but that I would not repeat the performance
at future concerts. Hayley agreed but then said, “oh, you can
if you like”! After this, the programme continued as it had
on previous nights until shortly before the interval. I can
now reveal what Steve and Hayley had told me a few nights earlier
in Edinburgh. (Yes, I know that others have said it but this
is MY version!)….
the end of the first half, Hayley explained that she had sung
with Holly Holyoake in the foyer of St David’s Hall in Cardiff
in front of about fifteen people. She thought it would be nice
to repeat the song now for the benefit of the Llandudno audience.
There was an immediate chorus of oohs and ahs in approval of
this unexpected item. Holly was introduced and together they
performed the most beautiful rendition of Bach’s “Ave Maria”
that you could ever wish to hear. They sang unaccompanied (as
they had done in Cardiff) and their voices in unison combined
so perfectly and sounded absolutely gorgeous. I found myself
concentrating alternately on Hayley’s voice, then on Holly’s
and then on the angelic combination. It was a truly memorable
and joyous occasion and it was well worth the journey to North
Wales just to hear this. Thank you so much, Hayley, for inviting
Holly to share your stage and for giving so many people the
opportunity to hear her. Holly thoroughly enjoyed it (as we
all did) and I saw a number of people asking for her autograph
in the foyer afterwards.
I was in Northampton the following evening, someone told me
that he hoped Holly would achieve the success in the music industry
that she deserves. That came from the conductor, Ben Foster!
In my eyes, Holly, you are already a star and it is a pleasure
to know you.
so we pick up the concert where we left it in Edinburgh – at
the beginning of the second half. The orchestra took their places.
All eyes were looking in anticipation of Hayley’s re-appearance
but it didn’t happen. Instead, Fiona Pears, who plays first
violin, moved to the centre of the stage. She opened with a
jazz number entitled “Turkish Fantasy” which was amazing. It
was a stunning performance which commanded the attention of
the audience right from the first note. Her second piece, if
it is possible, was even more impressive. Entitled “Memories
of Martin and Mary”, it was a magnificent arrangement of a series
of jigs and reels. As the piece progressed, Fiona began dancing
around the stage as she played. The tempo changed time and again
until the bow was moving so fast that it was barely visible.
By now, the audience was clapping along and stamping their feet
in time to the music. After the first two concerts, Kirsty had
commented how effective the dancing was; a sentiment that I
passed on to Fiona when I spoke to her in Edinburgh. It seems
she took notice because every night since then, she has danced
with ever-increasing energy and enthusiasm. She also calls out
“yeah” on two occasions to the rest of the musicians. Each night,
this gets louder and louder. Last night, she absolutely screamed
it; the result was electrifying and the audience went wild.
Everyone present, including the orchestra, clearly love Fiona’s
dazzling performance. I guess that’s why I bought her two CDs!
Hayley returned to the stage, she explained that Fiona comes
from Christchurch (what is it about that place?) and said that
she had composed both numbers that were still ringing in our
then continued with “Beat Of Your Heart” but let’s leave that
and other aspects of this amazing adventure, until we reconvene
19th November 2004
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