New concerts for Worcester's Guildhall

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ESCAPE the mundane in Worcester's beautiful Guildhall with a series of new concerts.

Gilded Fridays will start on March 18, reflecting the inscription on the building’s top floor Assembly Room ceiling: “music, poetry, drama and dance”.

Deborah Hodgson, who is organising the events with friend Zeena Lemon, said: “It is a special evening in a beautiful environment.

“As soon as we saw the room we said we should really have concerts here. It is a lovely venue for people to enjoy music.”

The monthly concerts are planned to be an eclectic mix, reflecting some of the best of local talent as well as attracting some international stars.

First to play in the grand setting of the Assembly Room will be Julie Felix, Sixties folk rock singer and one-time girlfriend of Sir David Frost, who has many years’ experience of playing around the world.

Lemon said: “We have some outstanding transatlantic acts lined up. As well as Julie Felix we are so lucky to have Eva Cassidy’s brother Dan Cassidy playing later in the year and New-York singer/songwriter Kenny White in June.

“The aim is also to encourage emerging talent by offering new artists the chance to support more recognized acts.”

Hodgson, who will feature as a supporting act for Felix, also plans to tie up with the opening of the Worcestershire Literary Festival in June and feature one of the Midlands up-and-coming jazz guitarists a little later in the year.

She said: “I am really excited about the artists who will be performing this year, some of them are inspirations of mine and it is a true honour to be able to invite them to play such a breathtaking venue.

“We want people to be able to escape the mundane.”

To find out more about Gilded Fridays e-mail worcesterguildhallmusic@hotmail.co.uk.

For tickets visit malvern-theatres.co.uk or call 01684 892277.

Comments (1)

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10:56am Sun 3 Apr 11

TPScott says...

Music For The Soul at The Guildhall, Worcester

An invite to Worcester’s historic Guildhall on March 18th allowed me to witness the birth of the imaginatively entitled Gilded Fridays – Music For The Soul. I had no idea of the treat that was in store for us, for little did I know that the evening would prove to be such a remarkable occasion. I was already familiar with the name Julie Felix: wasn’t this the great lady of folk from the 1960s who stole the hearts of many a man, young and old, with her regular performances on The Frost Report? Didn’t she go on to present her own BBC Saturday night series called Once More With Felix? Didn’t she have some hit records and, oh, didn’t she sing a song about going to the zoo, zoo, zoo? Of course she did, as well as being considered something of a political activist, and rightly so! Tonight, being in both great surroundings and great company (with the less-familiar-to-me Deborah Hodgson and the Lord Mayor, no less), she rolled back the years, and in doing so highlighted the current issues that our precious planet is having to face.

It was the Lord Mayor of Worcester, Mr Mike Layland, who greeted this enthusiastic audience from the stage of the handsome gallery of this impressive building, which dates back to the 1700s. As Deborah Hodgson was introduced it was clear to see that she, in her own right, had fans in the audience who were no strangers to her name. Her versatility knew no bounds; her repertoire was extensive, from poems set to music to playing first class guitar: she has even put pen to paper to write some of her very own songs. Being joined on stage by Simon Othen, Catherine Oldham Harper and Ian King (who not only played piano but also composed the first three numbers performed this evening) produced nothing less than a stylish sound with a hint of the Celtic running right through it. The Bette Midler hit The Rose was sung to perfection as well as other lesser known numbers, and she made no secret of the fact that one of her biggest influences was the late, great Eva Cassidy – later proven by her rendition of Autumn Leaves. In recent times Deborah is proud to be working alongside Ms Cassidy’s brother Dan on various projects, and I for one wish them nothing but the best of luck.

Without a doubt, Julie sang passionately from the bottom of her heart, and with the political troubles that we are facing today never far from the moment, she opened her set with a self-penned number entitled Soldier From The Sixties, swiftly followed by John Lennon’s masterpiece Imagine. In between her songs she spoke with great concern for the situations occurring in the Middle East, Bahrain and of course Afghanistan. She also spoke with sorrow for the folk in Japan coping with the aftermath of the recent tsunami, and not forgetting the disaster in New Zealand. There was also a song called Women, sung in recognition of International Women’s Day that was celebrated on March 8th, and at least a couple of audience participation songs that almost rocked the venue. After numerous encores Julie completed her set with the golden classic protest song Blowin’ In The Wind, putting in a performance that its composer Bob Dylan would surely have been proud of.

This once a month event, in conjunction with Malvern Theatres, is bound for a grand outcome. Both Deborah and Events Director Zeena Lemon have worked tirelessly for success, and with an array of talent in the pipeline, it can’t fail, so be advised and keep an eye on their forthcoming attractions.

Trevor Tapscott
Music For The Soul at The Guildhall, Worcester An invite to Worcester’s historic Guildhall on March 18th allowed me to witness the birth of the imaginatively entitled Gilded Fridays – Music For The Soul. I had no idea of the treat that was in store for us, for little did I know that the evening would prove to be such a remarkable occasion. I was already familiar with the name Julie Felix: wasn’t this the great lady of folk from the 1960s who stole the hearts of many a man, young and old, with her regular performances on The Frost Report? Didn’t she go on to present her own BBC Saturday night series called Once More With Felix? Didn’t she have some hit records and, oh, didn’t she sing a song about going to the zoo, zoo, zoo? Of course she did, as well as being considered something of a political activist, and rightly so! Tonight, being in both great surroundings and great company (with the less-familiar-to-me Deborah Hodgson and the Lord Mayor, no less), she rolled back the years, and in doing so highlighted the current issues that our precious planet is having to face. It was the Lord Mayor of Worcester, Mr Mike Layland, who greeted this enthusiastic audience from the stage of the handsome gallery of this impressive building, which dates back to the 1700s. As Deborah Hodgson was introduced it was clear to see that she, in her own right, had fans in the audience who were no strangers to her name. Her versatility knew no bounds; her repertoire was extensive, from poems set to music to playing first class guitar: she has even put pen to paper to write some of her very own songs. Being joined on stage by Simon Othen, Catherine Oldham Harper and Ian King (who not only played piano but also composed the first three numbers performed this evening) produced nothing less than a stylish sound with a hint of the Celtic running right through it. The Bette Midler hit The Rose was sung to perfection as well as other lesser known numbers, and she made no secret of the fact that one of her biggest influences was the late, great Eva Cassidy – later proven by her rendition of Autumn Leaves. In recent times Deborah is proud to be working alongside Ms Cassidy’s brother Dan on various projects, and I for one wish them nothing but the best of luck. Without a doubt, Julie sang passionately from the bottom of her heart, and with the political troubles that we are facing today never far from the moment, she opened her set with a self-penned number entitled Soldier From The Sixties, swiftly followed by John Lennon’s masterpiece Imagine. In between her songs she spoke with great concern for the situations occurring in the Middle East, Bahrain and of course Afghanistan. She also spoke with sorrow for the folk in Japan coping with the aftermath of the recent tsunami, and not forgetting the disaster in New Zealand. There was also a song called Women, sung in recognition of International Women’s Day that was celebrated on March 8th, and at least a couple of audience participation songs that almost rocked the venue. After numerous encores Julie completed her set with the golden classic protest song Blowin’ In The Wind, putting in a performance that its composer Bob Dylan would surely have been proud of. This once a month event, in conjunction with Malvern Theatres, is bound for a grand outcome. Both Deborah and Events Director Zeena Lemon have worked tirelessly for success, and with an array of talent in the pipeline, it can’t fail, so be advised and keep an eye on their forthcoming attractions. Trevor Tapscott TPScott
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