At Christchurch there was another lunchtime concert this time provided by five talented students at Leicester University who sang or played classical songs or songs from musicals such as Oklahoma and Phantom of the Opera. Leicester University does not run a music degree so these are not music students but considering the talent and enthusiasm they displayed they certainly could be. The concert was conducted by Paul Jenkins who conducted the Knighton Chamber orchestra on Sunday and who has done so much to promote music in the university and the local community.
Many of those attending then crossed the road to the Chinese Community Centre where there was a short concert of Chinese music played on traditional instruments. Throughout the afternoon 120 (yes a hundred and twenty!) people came. There were lovely Chinese pancakes and spring rolls to make and eat and visitors had the chance to practise some Chinese crafts such as paper-cutting and calligraphy. This was excellent Chinese hospitality, provided in a modest but generous manner, and an opportunity for people from one culture to get a glimpse into another.
Residents of South Lodge, a home for the elderly on London Road, took part in a With Great Pleasure meeting where they chose poems they wanted to read and talk about. A Shakespeare sonnet, and poems by William Wordsworth and Maya Angelou were read as well as one or two poems written or remembered and recited by themselves. It was a lovely occasion, punctuated by tea and doughnuts, and at the end ArtBeat organisers were asked if they could arrange another later in the year.
At St John’s Parish hall, there was a memoir writing workshop led by Mary Essinger and attended by about fifteen people curious to learn about this increasingly popular genre. After being invited to talk in pairs about a frightening incident in childhood, people were then asked to write about it and then take it in turns to read out what they had written to each other. There were some interesting reminiscences about parents arguing, and children getting lost on a beach when on holiday. I cannot help thinking that this may well lead to an ArtBeat inspired self-managing memoir writing group in the not too distant future.
Later that evening at the same venue people turned out to hear local writers Mahsuda Snaith, Stuart Hill and Andrew Sharp talk about writing. It was great to see some of the winners of the ArtBeat short story writing competition there flushed with their recent success. Each of the three writers on the panel took it in turns to read a sample of their writing and then answer questions from the floor. The event worked well, mainly because the writers were very different in background and in what they chose to write about and also because they were so lacking in ego and generous with each other. The questions from the floor revealed further insights into the process of writing, what motivates people to write and how they get started. It was fascinating to your blogger who only intended to stay for a little while but got so engaged with the writers and the subject matter that I decided to stay for the duration.
By the time I had finished with this and got to Dos Hermanos for the Open Mic evening, things were really buzzing and the legendary Brian, king of karaoke, was well into his Presley renditions. His singing of The Girl of My Best Friend was masterly and would have had the King worried. Kenny Wilson managed the whole process effortlessly and the denizens of Dos were treated to some excellent music from a number of groups and individuals representing a wide demographic. This was a fitting tribute to local musician Lianne Ashberry to whom the evening was dedicated and an £113 was collected for charity in her memory. Excellent!
Meanwhile at The Cradock Bands Night was in full swing with many of the musicians delighted to be asked because of the fun they had had at the event last year. this was much enjoyed by an appreciative audience.