The Classics Galore! Concerts are the brainchild of Dick Passmore, who has lived and worked in Exeter all of his life. Since 2007, the concerts have raised over £69,500 for FORCE – Exeter’s locally based cancer charity, and are evenings of light, popular classical music, with items that everyone will either know or recognise. Dick has been a cancer patient, so is well aware of the excellent work carried out by members of the FORCE Charity team in their efforts to support anyone in the Exeter area affected by cancer, be it patients or carers.
Dick’s enjoyment of music convinced him that organising a concert was one small way in which he could give back a little something for the excellent treatment and support he has received during his illness. The first concert in 2007 was a huge success, demanding further similar concerts in 2009 and 2011. Because of the enormous amount of work involved in organising the event themselves, Dick and his wife, Posy, then decided to pass over the organisation to a committee.
As well as Dick and Posy,the committee comprises Malcolm Matthews (Musical Director), representatives from the Ottery St Mary Choral Society and St. David’s Players as well as representatives from Force. The 2013 and 2015 concerts were also a great success and raised £15,000 and £17,500 respectively for Force.
Classics Galore! Concerts are held every two years, and have now established themselves as one of Exeter’s largest indoor concerts, filling the Great Hall to capacity with an audience of well over 1000 people. Classics Galore! is not just about orchestral music. A full orchestra is joined by a brass band and two choral societies, singing or playing both individually and also together during the evening – the stage at the Great Hall is specially extended to accommodate over 200 musicians and singers. The concerts are specially arranged for those with an interest in the lighter side of classical music. Items are chosen to be of no more than seven or eight minutes duration, and usually immediately recognisable – although one or two works are included that are perhaps not so well known, but nevertheless enjoyable. There might be film music, themes from television, songs from musicals mixed with Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Puccini – so there is something for everyone! The finale – with audience participation – is of course in true ‘Proms’ tradition, with Land of Hope and Glory’, Rule Britannia!, etc. complete with a soprano soloist suitably attired!
In 2017 the evening will once again present a feast of varied musical entertainment, with the aim of raising thousands of pounds more for the Force charity
The next Classics Galore! concert will be on Saturday, November 18th, 2017 at 7:30pm, and will once more include the South West Comms Band, the Ottery St Mary Choral Society, members of St David’s Players, and the Classics Galore! Symphony Orchestra, comprising top musicians from the Exeter and East Devon areas.