Saturday, 14th November – the date for your diary
One of the most popular charity events on the Exeter musical calendar is back for a fifth time in 2015.
Classics Galore! is an extravaganza of entertainment that features familiar and uplifting music performed by a 200- strong ensemble – a full orchestra, a brass band and two choral societies.
The event is staged to raise money for local cancer charity FORCE and this year’s concert will be at the University of Exeter Great Hall on Saturday, November 14.
Classics Galore! has been held every two years since 2007 and has raised more than £50,000 for FORCE.
That is particularly satisfying for Dick Passmore, the man who came up with the idea of a concert described as Exeter’s Night at the Proms.
In 2000 the retired policeman with a passion for music was diagnosed with bowel cancer. FORCE supported him and his wife, Posy, in his battle with the disease.
The first ever Classics Galore! was their way of repaying the charity for the work it does to help anyone locally affected by cancer. That event raised £6,500 and it has since gone from strength to strength.
“Having seen for myself the amazing work carried out daily by FORCE, my original idea was to stage a one-off concert, hopefully to raise a few hundred pounds for this wonderful charity. I never thought it would raise thousands,” said Dick.
His cancer recurred in 2008 and he has since been treated for tumours on his liver and lungs, undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
But that hasn’t stopped the Passmores in their determination to provide a regular and memorable gala night for a cause so close to their hearts.
After another two highly successful concerts, the couple did take more of a back seat in 2013 when a committee assumed responsibility for organising the show.
Fortunately, Dick and Posy remained on hand to offer help and advice and are doing the same again this year.
They could never have guessed at how popular Classics Galore! would become. It now fills The Great Hall – the only venue large enough to stage such a concert. The couple are delighted with the success but Dick has one more goal.
“The four concerts to date have raised so much money that I now have another target to aim for – to raise £100,000!” he said.
“Classics Galore! presents amazing and popular concerts with music for everybody to enjoy,” said organising committee chairman Annie Bassett. “We are inspired by Dick and Posy and the unique care and support Dick continues to receive from FORCE, easing his long journey with cancer. As a committee, we are privileged to work alongside this remarkable couple.”
Malcolm Matthews will again be the concert’s musical director, working with 50 top musicians from Exeter and East Devon who have been hand-picked to form the Classics Galore! Symphony Orchestra.
The South West Comms Band from Lympstone, the Ottery St Mary Choral Society and members of St David’s Players will also be back to entertain.
“Classics Galore! is a fantastically enjoyable evening with a musical selection that everyone will know. The venue is superb for this event and we want to thank everyone who is getting involved once again for their commitment and dedication to putting on a spectacular night for our local charity,” said FORCE head of fundraising Sarah Daniels.
NB The Terrace Bar of the Great Hall will be open for those who would like to have a meal before the concert. There will also be shuttle buses between the Great Hall and the main car parks provided for concert patrons.