‘Happy’ Concert May 5th 2018 – Wakefield Cathedral

When people say they need to do a massive thank you this really is a massive thank you! A review of Saturday’s concert and expression of thanks.

What a journey we’ve been on with “HAPPY” and whilst the concert on Saturday evening was the end result of months of hard work it also marks the beginning, a springboard for future “HAPPY” events.
“HAPPY” at Wakefield Cathedral was a resounding success as the audience left feeling extremely happy as did the performers without exception.


Prior to the event it did feel that few people really understood what the concert was all about, that it was just another event, one of many in the calendar that have a primary aim of raising funds for charity.
On exiting the cathedral on Saturday evening so many performers and members of the audience had one common question. “That was amazing, when is the next one?”


All present on the night played their part, the performers were exceptional, and the audience enjoyed and fed from the emotion of those performances.
One of the most successful aspects of the evening was the blend of performers offering something different but unusually, many in the audience found it hard to pick a favourite due to the quality of those individual performances.
The poignant song choices were punctuated by poems and speeches focussing on the themes of confidence and positivity, with our young comperes Olivia, Alex and Austin providing some entertaining introductions for the artists.


The concert began with a beautiful rendition of “A million dreams” by 14-year-old Olivia Hargill which really set the tone for the whole evening.
As she sang, children from the West Bretton Glee Club led a procession down the centre aisle holding high pictures they had drawn featuring images of what made them happy, the lovely artwork was then displayed at the rear of the cathedral. Deputy member of the pupil parliament for West Wakefield Alex Parkinson then spoke about his journey and determination to work hard to improve the lives of others through his work.


One of three choirs present on the evening The Rodillians have performed in Wakefield Cathedral many times but even they were struck by the powerful emotions of the evening with many choir members admitting that they felt a real connection with the themes of the concert whilst singing and watching the other performers. West Bretton Glee Club, despite being small in number and in size produced a big performance which was lively and full of fun. Both choirs blended together to sing “Sing” by Gary Barlow, an excellent opening to the choral section of the concert.  The Rodillians and West Bretton then performed wonderful sets before reuniting to sing “True Colours”, a song that epitomised the theme of the concert. In the second half a group of Alto 1’s from the Rodillians, known as “The Rodaltones”, performed “Reach” with great confidence and captured the spirit of the occasion with their well prepared routine.


One of our solo performers was 16 year old Callum Butterworth from Halifax. We knew he was a huge talent because we’d been fortunate to see him play at the Orange Box centre in Halifax ahead of the concert.  We were all excited to hear Callum in a venue with magical acoustics and full sound production and his performance was remarkable, he is such a talented individual. Callum draws inspiration from artists such as Ed Sheeran and when on stage he can play like there is nobody else in the room. His voice is excellent but he achieves this whilst playing the guitar as well, he is a superb, naturally talented, all round performer! Afterwards he was congratulated by the other performers who all told him that he has a special talent and that his performance was magnificent. Callum was equally complimentary about his fellow artists and expressed to work with them again in the future.


Callum is also a member of the Orange Box Choir who performed two numbers and probably drew the biggest cheers of the evening for their sheer enthusiasm and passion for singing. The choir comprises young people and staff from Orange Box Youth Works and includes anyone who is passionate about singing. When Sam led the solos on “Can you feel the love tonight” gently guided by Jamie from Orange Box the gasps from the audience were tangible with many shedding tears in the audience and within the Rodillians who were present on stage throughout.  Their performance of “Oh Happy Day” got the whole Cathedral rocking and bouncing around, it captured exactly what the purpose of the concert was and left the audience clamouring for more.


At the age of just 22 Faryl Smith has so much musical experience because she made it to the final of Britain’s Got Talent at the age of 12 and by the time she was 13 she’d already had the fastest selling debut classical album of all time. Rather than rest on those laurels Faryl has continued to develop her natural musical talent and the result was a stylish and classy set in each half of the highest quality. She entered the stage and sang the song that launched her to stardom, “Ave Maria” and in the second half closed with a stunning rendition of “The Prayer” supported by the Rodillian Singers.  Her voice is magnificent and Faryl looked perfectly at home in the majestic surroundings of Wakefield Cathedral, complemented by some beautiful lighting.  Following her performance everyone was left saying , “Faryl, wow” when describing her voice.


After the interval leading safeguarding expert Adele Gladman spoke poignantly about the need to share experiences of bullying and abuse to combat these issues head on. We are working with Adele to develop themes for this and future events and ensure that by promoting “HAPPY” we are sending out a strong positive message that will provide people with confidence, especially children.

Appearing in the second half were friends and young singers, Amelie Gladman and Serena Ulcena. Their third group member, Bella Ulcena was ill but this didn’t stop the two girls wowing the audience with “Titanium”, a song made famous by David Guetta, its lyrics drawing heavily from themes of positivity and resilience.


We are so grateful to all our performers who not only produced superb performances on the evening, they were supportive of the aims and objectives behind the concert and really went the extra mile to entertain the audience and leaving them with the best possible musical experience which they would talk about for a long time afterwards.  We’re also grateful to all the dedicated people that support ourselves and the performers, family members, friends, accompanists, percussionists, teachers, conductors, the list is endless. Rebecca Whitlam, especially, put a lot of work into the concert and co-ordinated three choirs. In addition to those mentioned above we had many children fulfilling off stage event roles assisting the numerous adult volunteers to ensure the concert ran smoothly.
It would be remiss of us to neglect to mention our programme sponsors and main sponsors Northern Powergrid, and Cache who were instrumental in enabling us to put on the concert.


There is simply not enough space in the blog here to thank everybody who assisted in advance of and on the day of the concert, nor is there the space to do justice to the evening itself, even the fantastic pictures cannot convey what a special evening it was. The best way to find out is to look out for the next “HAPPY” concert and come along! It’s the music experience that can’t be downloaded!

Our next blog will simply consist of some of the audience comments we’ve received in the 48 hours following the concert, they will perhaps do the event more justice than this review.

Thank you for reading, if you were there on the night thank you for performing or watching – We hope you left feeling “HAPPY” and we hope that there will be many more occasions like this!

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