There wasn’t a spare seat in the house when RNLI supporters packed Sutton Coldfield’s Town Hall near Birmingham for its main fund raising event of the year, a Celebration Concert performed by Canoldir Male Choir. This year’s programme had a special Diamond Jubilee theme.
Musical Director and Conductor James Llewelyn Jones B Mus (Hons) M Mus directed the Choir through a lively and varied programme including a musical journey around our Isles, at times encouraging audience participation.
It was a joy to listen to local young violinist Jody Smith. A Year 11 pupil at Edgbaston High School for Girls, she is a very accomplished and talented musician. In addition to being in the School Orchestra she is also an active member of the School Chamber Choir. After a highly successful year as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain she has been invited to enjoy another year with them, performing in venues including the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall.
Guest soloist soprano Grace Farrell is in the Upper Sixth at Edgbaston High School where she is a keen member of the School Chamber and Senior Choirs, studying Music, Art and English Literature at A level. She is hoping to continue her music studies at one of the London Music Colleges next year. In 2011 Grace won the national Rotary Club Young Musician of the Year. Her performances were delightful as she so beautifully demonstrated the range and capability in her singing voice.
The RNLI Sales Table reported a good night with sales of Christmas cards, calendars, diaries and RNLI gifts.
A raffle was held that raised £557, to which will be added Matched Funding from Barclays plc.
The evening raised a grand total of over £4500. All monies raised go directly to RNLI.
In addressing the audience Mike Lorenz, Branch Treasurer said that the RNLI Branch in Sutton Coldfield had ‘adopted’ the Seahouses Lifeboat Station in Northumberland where a D Class lifeboat is stationed, named in memory of Peter Downes from Sutton Coldfield, and named ‘RNLB Peter Downes’.
Branch President Andrew Mitchell MP was unable to attend but said:
‘I always enjoy these annual concerts – which are huge fun as well as being extremely good fundraising events. I hope that those attending who are not currently members will consider joining what is one of the most successful RNLI branches’
Branch Chairman Jill Carter commented:
‘We are thrilled to be hosting this concert again and welcoming not only our supporters, but also the very talented musicians and artistes who make up the internationally acclaimed Canoldir Male Choir. We have all had a great evening, but we don’t forget the many brave and selfless lifeboat crews who risk their lives every time they head out to sea to save lives. This concert is just one of the many fundraising events the Branch holds during the year for RNLI.’
Seahouses Lifeboat Operations Manager Ian Clayton added:
‘We were delighted and honoured to learn that Sutton Coldfield had adopted us. Since our D Class Inshore Lifeboat arrived on station in 2008, we have maintained regular contact with the donor, Mrs Carolyn McLaughlin, from Sutton Coldfield, the wife of the late Peter Downes, after whom the boat was named. Carolyn had been a tireless supporter of the RNLI, and we like to let her know whenever the boat has been in action. Their concert has clearly been a great success for the local branch and the RNLI, and we look forward to forging close relationships with the Sutton Coldfield Branch in the future’