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2008-05-13 Kenya Charity Concert, Dublin Wesley College

reviewed by Beate

Finally…. I was actually hoping to get this ready a lot earlier, but the job got in the way… ;-) Anyway, here's what I can report about the Kenya Build charity concert in Dundrum's Wesley College last
Tuesday night:

As Maeve has asked me could I do the door duty again for this one – lovely task as you get to meet sooooo many people! – I arrived at the College quite early, and had a chance to glimpse into the rehearsals for a little while (that's when all the pictures were taken). The venue was lovely, it was the College's auditorium, complete with rising seat rows and tables in front of every seat, and with a
brilliant "stage" area in the front, and sunlight streaming in through large windows.

The entrance door for the auditorium had to double as stage door that night, so sticking around at the entrance even after the concert had started guaranteed entertainment, as everyone waiting to go on stage had to do that straight in front of me! I didn't see the first four songs, though, as I was still guarding the entrance at the time watching out for latecomers as some booked tickets had still to be
collected and parents had paid for pupils in advance who were still in working groups and lessons and such, but I can at least list what they were from the running order:

Maeve and James opened with the Balcony Scene from West side story, that was followed by Maeve and a choir of younger pupils doing "Doh a Deer". It was much fun to watch them as they waited to go on stage, all nervous and giggly and excited… And then they hurried upstairs to the dressing room, only to come down in pyjamas again while Maeve and Jack Morrisey (as king of Siam) were performing "Shall we dance", starting the nervous jumping from foot to foot and the giggling all over. They went on again for "Getting to know you", which they performed together with Maeve, and after that, I eventually got a
chance to slip into the auditorium as well.

Next on the performer list was another friend of Maeve's, Gary Jermyn, who'd been at the Dalkey charity concert as well, reading his poetry. The first reading was the poem about meeting Mother Teresa at a holy well, he'd done that one in Dalkey too, but knowing it did not mean that it lost any of its strength! Gary has a brilliant reading voice that just draws you to the content of the poems, there's just no better way to describe it, and it was very touching and very moving.

Following Gary, Mary Clarke entered the stage and sang "And this is my beloved" from Kismet. Mary has a brilliant voice, very rich and full, I could have listened for hours, and if I did not get that completely wrong, Alison who was playing the piano that night was singing teacher for both Mary and James during their time at the college.

Next was a solo from James, something we all know, but rarely hear one of the tenors perform solo – "Time to say goodbye". He said beforehand that even though we were nowhere near the end of the concert, this song was fitting as a reminder of the charity this was all in aid for, and that it was time to say goodbye for him and Maeve soon in order to go to Kenya. What can I say, I adored every second of this, to quote James himself, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman all in one and his solo version of the song is simply breathtaking!

It was followed by a slideshow on Kenya, with a live commentary from James for each single picture. I'd seen it before in Dalkey, and also during the charity concert in Sligo, but each time these pictures get to me again, with the smiling children in the middle of this slum, a rubbish kip as their play area, the open sewers on the streets… I really do admire Basil, James, Maeve and all the other volunteers for the work they do down there, I am not sure would I be strong enough to stand through this. (Well, in all honesty, I don't even know would I be strong enough to go to the doctor to get all the shots I need in the first place, but that's a special paranoia of mine.)

Maeve and James then finished the first half of the concert with Caccini's "Ave Maria", while the slide show kept running silently in the background. A very poignant, and again very moving, moment.

After the interval, James was accompanied on stage by the senior choir of Wesley College, for a performance of the Communion from Jerusalem Passion. I didn't know this particular piece of music before, but took an instant liking to it and thought that both James and the choir did excellently.

Same holds true for Maeve and another teaching colleague, Helen Doyle, for their interpretation of "Laudamus te" straight afterwards.

Then, a complete change of tack – a duo by the name of "Jack and Mac" came on, Jack being Jack Morrisey, Mac being a friend of his named Brian, and they do a certain kind of parody songs. I wish I could have short-handed the texts as they were hilariously funny, about the speed (or not) of craftsmen, about the use of mobile phones, you get the direction I think. Safe to say, these two brought the house down!

Following them was Gary Jermyn with another one of his poems, you all know the text to this one as I think John or Maeve posted it after Dalkey, it was the one he'd written especially for that concert about Kenya, and the political upset. Again, I think we've said all about it the last time, but the words haven't lost any of their relevance since.

The next section was a set of five songs – Maeve opened with "Vilia" and the audience was asked to sing and hum along – very merry and a lot of fun, and by this stage, I am running out of superlatives again to describe all the singing! This was followed by a duet by Maeve and James from the Merry Widow, and after that, it was James's second solo of the night, "Nessun Dorma". Need I say more? It was fantastic and there were "bravo" shouts all around afterwards – more than well deserved! Next was Mary with "O mio babbino caro", and then Mary and James did the duet from La Boheme.

The final song, to close off the whole show, was "The holy city" by Maeve, Mary and James – tremendously enjoyed by the author of this report!

All in all, the concert was a huge success, smiling faces all around, the cash tin tinkling quite promisingly, and Maeve in the middle of all this getting congratulated by all around… It was a really really enjoyable night. And I promise to volunteer as door person again for future charity gigs to come!