Classics Galore! has been staged every two years since 2007 and the 10th anniversary concert saw more than 1,000 concert goers on their feet. The blend of popular classics and songs from some of the world’s most beloved musical theatre clearly struck the right note. Profits from this sixth concert took the total raised for FORCE Cancer Charity to £90,000. Proceeds from this have helped to fund a piece of equipment called Pinpoint at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. Pinpoint has been designed to help surgeons identify more accurately the extent of uterine or cervical cancer during keyhole operations.
Nearly two hundred top local musicians and singers performed a wide selection of popular classical tunes for orchestra, choir and brass band under musical director Malcolm Matthews. A full orchestra, the award-winning SW Comms Band from Lympstone and singers from Ottery St Mary Choral Society and Exeter’s St David’s Players delivered a musical programme that featured many highlights including a medley from Les Misérables and J S Bach’s Toccata in D that received a rapturous reception. There were sing-along, flag-waving sections and the evening, compèred by Mark Tyler, culminated in a rousing Last Night of the Proms style finale, led by soprano soloist Penny Daw.
FORCE Chief Executive Meriel Fishwick and the charity’s Head of Income Generation, Sarah Daniels, both paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone who made this hugely popular event such an unqualified success.
“After the first Classics Galore! concert in 2007, I would have been more than happy to hand over a cheque for £650,” said cancer patient Dick Passmore, who founded the event to say thanks for wonderful treatment at the RD&E and unfailing support from FORCE. “I could have written a letter but a special concert seemed a much better way of saying thank you. When that first concert raised a staggering £6,500 both my wife, Posy, and I could not believe it, and smiles were on our faces for weeks! Ten years on they still are,” he added. A committee took on the organisation after the third concert, during which Dick was once again having treatment for cancer. “I cannot thank them enough, and in 2019 we should almost certainly be able to each my target of £100,000. If we can do that, I will probably shed a few tears, because I will be the happiest man in Exeter,” said Dick.
Annie Bassett from OSMCS is retiring as chairman of the committee that organises the concert. After the concert she said: “There were so many appreciative comments afterwards from a packed audience with more than 1,000 people supporting the event, all enjoying the uplifting experience of music, fun and laughter together!
Annie said “Sadly so many families are affected by cancer and FORCE is always there supporting in every possible way, with understanding, compassion and constancy. Classics Galore! is proud to support such a worthy cause which is constantly expanding to offer help and advice to more and more people, who can be so often sad, bewildered and frightened, but not alone.”