The much-vaunted People’s Concert by the Portsmouth Philharmonia and the Meon Valley Orchestra has raised more than two thousand pounds for the Solent Diabetes Association.
Donations by post are still arriving but the amount raised has delighted Gayle Nash and her volunteers at their SDA shops in Fareham and Gosport.
The United Reformed Church was sold out for this musical extravaganza; a completely full house.
Looking resplendent in her chain of office, immaculate hairdo and gorgeous grey silk suit, the Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Mrs Connie Hockley, praised the two orchestras for their brilliant performances.
She remarked how lucky this area was to have such talent on its doorstep.
This was echoed by the Deputy Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Mrs Linda Batty and her consort Mr Peter Batty, who thought the whole evening was really marvellous.
Novice master of ceremonies, Professor Ken Shaw, excelled himself with wit and verve as he introduced the conductors, leaders and players. He gave a succinct run down on the nature of diabetes which now affects one in every hundred people. He also touched upon the great work the SDA is doing with young people and adults alike.
Both amateur bands played a rich variety of popular pieces ranging from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words with gusto and panache. Oboe virtuoso, Mike Wilson, from Southsea played Ronald Binge’s mood piece The Watermill with brilliant sensitivity. For many players it was their first public event.
Trainee percussionist Victoria Smith overcame her initial nervousness, raising the Meon Valley Orchestra’s performance to new heights.
Unbeknown to the audience, the secret weapon of the bands was RAF Musician Corporal Hannah Wheywey. Talented multi-instrumentalist Hannah, who began her musical career with the Royal Marines Band Service later transferring to the RAF, beefed up the violin sections of both ensembles.
She had played with Portsmouth Philharmonia once before but, like a true professional, she agreed to help the amateurs out on their auspicious evening.
The delicious refreshments and more than sixty raffle prizes were eagerly snapped up by the audience.
By some coincidence, there were no less than seven doctors on the stage or in the audience.
If anyone had said ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ I think people would have been trampled in the rush.