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Hayley's stunning return

WHEN you've had two major singing stars such as Aled Jones and Katherine Jenkins sharing your concert billing, it's difficult to know how to match that.

But Innovate Skelmanthorpe Band have done just that. The band is thrilled that they have been able to continue their practice of inviting big name celebrities to their annual Town Hall concert with no less a singing sensation than Hayley Westenra.

The New Zealand soprano caused a stir when she appeared in Huddersfield Town Hall just before Christmas alongside Huddersfield Methodist Choir.

Skelmanthorpe were already negotiating to bring her to Huddersfield when Hayley agreed to appear with the Methodists as part of a UK tour that saw her sing in some of our most beautiful churches and cathedrals, such as Tewskesbury and Shrewsbury abbeys and Beverley and Southwell minsters.

Such was the response to her appearance in Huddersfield that the band has no qualms about bringing her back. In fact, they can't wait for June 10, the date of this year's star concert.

Concert Secretary, Graham Crossland, says: "Hayley is one of the biggest names in the music world at the moment and we are thrilled that she has agreed to return to Huddersfield after her highly acclaimed concert here in December.

"Many people at the time asked how we could `top' our evening with Katherine Jenkins and while it would have been very difficult to do so, we certainly believe we can match it with Hayley.

"Like Katherine, she comes with the reputation of being a delightful, bubbly person to work with and we are very much looking forward to appearing on stage with her. As with both Aled and Katherine, Hayley will perform joint numbers with the band."

Hayley is the New Zealander whose stunning natural voice captivated millions when as a 15-year-old, she launched her debut album, Pure - and changed her life.

That album sold millions and achieved a remarkable double - topping the UK classical charts and hitting the pop charts Top Ten .

And it changed the life of a teenager who was still a schoolgirl used to living at home in Christchurch, New Zealand with mum and dad Jill and Gerald Westenra, sister Sophie and brother Isaac.

She sang for presidents, prime ministers and royalty and shared the spotlight with some of the world's top classical singers.

These days a lot has changed, but at heart, not you suspect, Hayley. Because she works overseas such a lot, Hayley now has a base in London. It makes travelling in Europe, to Japan where she has cult status, and to America, easier than from her home base in New Zealand. But those ties are still strong with family members regularly making the journey to see Hayley on a regular basis.

Hayley will be a welcome visitor back in Huddersfield. Both previous concerts with Aled Jones and with Katherine Jenkins proved big hits playing to full houses and delighting the critics. The band are sure Hayley will do the same.

Tickets at £10-£18 are available via booking forms which are widely available and from Kirklees Booking Offices from today. They might be the perfect Mother's Day gift!


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