It's about eight months now since our good pal Andrew (of Stefan & Andrew fame) decided to do his bit for agnostic church music by joining a non-religious gospel choir. If you want to know the background to that decision, you need to read this post from last December. It doesn't explain much, but it does show him with his arms around The Cheeky Girls. He hasn't been the same since.
Andrew was let out in public at Christmas (see the link above), a breakthrough performance which resulted in an avalanche of offers from top agents. Mostly travel agents asking him to leave the country. But only five months later, he was back on stage yesterday, charging members of the public good money to hear him sing.
Here he is combining Comic Relief with Live Aid by wearing a microphone on his nose.
The Christmas concert was at Hove Town Hall, but naturally they're not going to be able to show their faces there again any time soon, so yesterday's show took place at Roedean School. We considered taking Amelie, but frankly she'll have plenty of time to see the place when she wins a scholarship there in ten years time, so we left her with her Grandma, and took Stefan instead. He seemed less likely to cry and ask for bic-bics.
The concert was part of the Brighton Festival Fringe, and featured the very talented Phebe Edwards, who's sung with both the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and the X Factor winner, Shayne Ward. I wonder which one she's more proud of?
Phebe has the kind of voice that could fill the Albert Hall without the need for a microphone, and makes Alexandra Burke look like one of the Cheeky Girls, but she's not the only talented member of her family. Here's Phebe's older sister Shirley singing a duet with Andrew...
Admittedly Andrew's voice is slightly drowned out by all the other people who insisted on singing, but I put that down to poor direction by the choir mistress.
The concert was very good anyway. Most of the faces were familiar, but the songs were new, there was an appearance by STOMPer Ollie Tunmer, and they even did a couple of a cappella numbers. Or maybe the sound system just broke down. Either way, it was impressive. As were the surroundings. Roedean School has its own purpose-built theatre, which made the facilities at my old Comprehensive look pretty lame. Our stage consisted of a few wooden crates and a curtain remnant, lit by a man with a big torch. In contrast, Roedean's pupils have something that wouldn't look out of place in the West End.
But if you're going to teach music and theatre, you've got to do dance. And sure enough, the interval drinks were served in the school's ballet studio...
Some people need no invitation. I was going to have a go myself, but I didn't want to bring new meaning to the word Nutcracker.