Musical Evening at Church

Once again The Friends of Longhope Church Committee have excelled themselves in bringing yet another amazing musical show to our village, to raise much needed funds for the repair of the church. Last Saturday saw a concert entitled “We’ll Meet Again” which brought in a high calibre artiste in the form of Fiona Harrison, who has been dubbed “A Voice in a Million” and she certainly had that. Fiona is able to sing anything from opera to rock and roll, and covering a variety of different periods from Victorian/Edwardian music hall, and music from every decade since then. But Longhope’s concert, held in the church, was on the theme of the 1940s.

Fiona started off dressed in full 1940’s army uniform to sing all the wartime great songs by the likes of The Andrews Sisters, Flanagan and Allen and of course Vera Lynn. Then there followed an interval with wine and delicious home-made nibbles, and the obligatory raffle with plenty of prizes. The second half saw Fiona dressed in a stunning red evening gown, and singing many of the songs from the hit musicals and films of the 1940s. The finale was of songs from all the British nations, culminating in Land of Hope and Glory, which saw all the audience on their feet, singing along and waving their Union Jacks.

Fiona in 1941 Jeep

Before the performance, Mike Phelps brought along his 1941 Jeep and Fiona posed for photographs outside the church, where the gateway had been decorated in bunting. The interior of the church had also been decorated, the lighting effects were provided by Martin Lawrance, and Fiona brought along her own sound engineer, Paul Marsden, who also joined in the concert with a song, and danced with Fiona. For a tenner, this was fantastic value for a brilliant evening’s entertainment, the like of which we don’t often get to see in Longhope. The head of the committee, Tina Coull, said that they could have sold all the tickets twice over, such was the demand. From a personal point of view, it did seem a little weird singing and clapping, flag waving and swilling wine, in a church that had not one empty pew – but looking on the other side, it was for a very good cause i.e. to maintain the fabric of this wonderful building.

Reading Fiona’s Blog on the internet, she seems to have had a really lovely time entertaining us too, and enjoyed the atmosphere of a church that evening. She writes: “.... an evening performance in the charming village of Longhope in Gloucestershire.... In fact Saturday’s show couldn't have gone better and Longhope had really gone to town. My show was a sell out and the church had been beautifully decorated by the committee. I had been booked by the Friends of Longhope Church who run a theatre club. Up to now they have been engaging singers from the West End, so with it being the 70th they decided to do something different and went with a 1940s theme. The whole village came out to support the event and the profits will help to pay for the fabric and maintenance of the church. When I took the booking I just assumed I would be in a Church Hall so I was thrilled to find out that the show was taking place in the church itself! I love singing in church and the committee had even rigged up a stage and lighting for me which was fabulous. One local chap Mike even arrived in his 1941 Jeep so I hope very much I will have the pleasure of returning to Longhope sometime in the future. Last Saturday couldn't have been more perfect, so thank-you to Tina who found me, as both Paul and I had a fabulous time!”

What more can be said? Please keep doing what you are doing Tina and the committee – you are doing an AMAZING job digging out these top entertainers for our little village!

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