The 45th Annual Christmas Concert – in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity

27 December 2013

The annual Christmas concert in support of the Fire Fighters Charity has become an established part of Harrogate’s Christmas festivities.

This year’s performance, on the 15 December 2013, was another spectacular success, raising much needed funds for this most deserving of charities.

The Royal Hall is the perfect venue for such an evening, and the almost capacity audience was treated to a feast of entertainment.

Harrogate Fire Station manager Lee Smith
Compère for the evening – Harrogate Fire Station manager Lee Smith

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Band, a military style band, began proceedings and under their conductor, Lee Whitworth, played with energy and precision. There was plenty of humour in the playing too, especially in ‘The Huntsman’ , because along with the traditional hunting horn we had some notes (or noises?) produced on a not altogether inappropriate fire extinguisher! The sound of the pipes are not to everybody’s taste, but The North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Pipe Band proved just how stirring they can be, especially when playing well loved melodies. The combination of both bands performing Highland Cathedral was absolutely magnificent and has rightly become a much requested piece.

The choral element of the concert was provided by The Fisher Singers. The choir, directed by June Garbutt and accompanied by Katie Bell, sang with commitment and enthusiasm. Their enjoyment of singing, especially the rhythmic ‘African Celebration’ was clear and communicated itself to the audience. The singers performed a variety of Christmas music, and especially touching was their last song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, with solo executed delightfully by the young Niamh Robinson-Wakefield.

New to the Royal Hall and to the Firemen’s concert were special soloists, Jon Christos and Lorna Adams. Jon’s splendid voice sounded at ease in the classic Nessun Dorma, and the duo had chosen other well known pieces with which to entertain their attentive audience.

Freedom Performing Arts once again danced with huge energy and dynamism. The girls were well rehearsed and gave a very up-beat performance.

The North Yorkshire, Chief Fire Officer, Nigel Hutchinson
The North Yorkshire, Chief Fire Officer, Nigel Hutchinson

The North Yorkshire, Chief Fire Officer, Nigel Hutchinson said: The charity is a support network for serving and retired members and their families – the charity is there to help out.

There are several centres in the UK in the national organisation, but  they are reliant on local fund-raising such as this.

Bruce Reid is absolute is a star, where he finds the time and energy and enthusiasm is amazing. He really is the kingpin and he makes this work.

Beneficiary Support Coordinator and Fire Fighter - Bruce Reid
Beneficiary Support Coordinator and Fire Fighter – Bruce Reid

The audience were as usual very generous in their support of this charity and it was wonderful to see members of the Young Fire Fighters Scheme giving up their time to help with the collection.

This was a concert which had something for everybody, military band music to opera, jazz and rock to contemporary classical. The grand finale combined all performers in a Christmas medley which was a fitting end to a superb evening.

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