The Benefit Concert held on Sat 29th September, as reported previously, was a sell-out success, raising just over £1000 in support of Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes.
Now we’re delighted to present a message and links to a number of delightful video clips that we received from Andy Gilbert, the music maestro behind the concert and the One World Club MK organisation that created the event.
Here’s what Andy writes:
On 29th September 2018 One World Club ‘lowered its curtain,’ for the last time.
It ended with the bang I hoped it would. Everything you could imagine went perfectly.
The icing on the cake was raising £1,000 for Syrian refugees starting new lives in Milton Keynes.
It was such an historic event that I’ve uploaded videos of everything we have, including the ‘thank you,’ speeches.
The modern church building had more than 200 present, some seventy of whom were Syrian refugees.
My band, Crossroots, opened the show and got the audience clapping in time to Hava Nagila before lead singer, Sheniah Asiamah divided them in two halves, getting them to sing two spiritual songs at the same time.
Act two was Natasha Gilbert, (yes, my daughter; helping the less fortunate runs in the family), who performed two songs at opposite ends of the showbiz spectrum. She opened with an unaccompanied traditional English folk song, The Old Grey Cockerel,
followed by the Hendrix classic, Hey Joe. For lead guitar enthusiasts you might notice her gift of singing and playing the lead break at the same time!
Backing was provided by Kev Poole on bass, Louise Mailhot-Rawlence on rhythm guitar and Marcus Armstrong on drums.
The next act was master rapper, Bennie Silver. He opened with a piece in which he adlibbed, inviting a member of the audience to come on stage and throw random words at him. Without a second thought he changed the subject of the rap to focus on each new word!
His second piece was a rap he had written celebrating the nine-year life of One World Club Milton Keynes.
After the break, Refugees Welcome Chairman, Tim Norwood, made a short speech thanking everyone involved. After announcing that £700 had been raised, the show went on to receive a further £300. We’re grateful for the services of Nour, a bilingual lady who volunteered to translate into Arabic.
The first act of the second half was Marcus Armstrong’s Free Peace Band, who got the audience singing along to Simon & Garfunkel and Beatles hits. Unfortunately, we only have a segment of this on film, as the film maker stopped to change batteries.
I’m sorry to tell you that for the same reason, we don’t have a video of the act that followed; Leon Silver’s singing in Greek and poetry of Cyprus was superb, and particularly appreciated by some Greek speaking members of the audience.
Half Jamaican, half Irish Debbie Murray was the first act to get the audience on their feet. While her first song, A Change is Gonna Come stirred the audience to give a rapturous applause, her performance of Respect, with back-up vocals from Sheniah Asiamah and Louise Mailhot-Rawlence got the audience dancing in the isles! They were then joined by Natasha Gilbert to produce an unforgettable three-part harmony for the Adele hit, Set Fire To The Rain.
Syrian celebrity, Bilal Walasali, was received like the superstar he is. When the whooping and screaming died down, the audience once again took to the floor as he sang to an audience that loved him before, during and after the show.
We closed the show in traditional show style, bringing the entire cast back for a finale which involved all of them singing, “Stay,” followed by Natasha rockin’ and rollin’ with High Heeled Sneakers, which once again got the audience on their feet, followed by the whole cast closing the show with, ‘One Love,’ which Sheniah led with all the passion you’d expect, given her Jamaican/African roots.
INTRO: FINAL ACT:
Lynda, my wife and One World Club compere said ‘Goodbye’ which was followed by a few words from co-organiser, Crossroots drummer, and sound organiser, Marcus Armstrong, who simply wanted to say what One World Club’s nine-year history had meant to him.
Whilst Marcus provided and set up the huge sound system, it wouldn’t have worked had it not been for the genius of its driver, Paul Rushton. When you stage a show, no matter how talented the performers are, everything hangs on the person that makes it possible for you to hear it. Thanks, Paul.
So this is me saying, ‘Goodbye.’ The closing show was everything and more than I’d hoped for.
I could have died then and been happy! But I’m planning to stick around a while and continue performing with Crossroots, whilst studying Arabic, so I can be more help in the long term. My grandparents came to UK as refugees; I’m eternally grateful to this country for welcoming us. Now I feel a duty to help others who have been fortunate enough to escape the kind of persecution that we got away from.
Thank you for all your support over the years, and for being part of my dream.