Interactive and enchanting charity performance

Date: Friday 24th January 2014

CROSBY Ravensworth village hall was bathed in sunshine as the Lyvennet Activity Group hosted Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust charity concert before a full house of about 130 residents of the Westmorland fells area.

These included children from the village school and their new headteacher Duncan Priestly and WI and Mothers’ Union members drawn from the villages of Bolton, Great Asby, Kirkoswald and Tebay.

After lunch at the Butchers Arms community pub, people gathered to experience the bardic charm of star performers Annie Mawson, harp and vocals, and Keith Redfern, acoustic guitar, vocals and magic wand! As well as singing and playing guitar, Keith delivered a highly entertaining, interactive magic show that had the children out of their seats and the adults chuckling.

Joan Raine, organiser of the Lyvennet Activity Group, thanked the Sunbeams Music Trust and the NCI small grants fund for financing the event. She congratulated Annie on her MBE award in the New Year Honours list.

Entrance to the concert was free, with takings from a raffle run by Sunbeams trustee Isa Henderson, split between the Lyvennet Activity Group and the Sunbeams Trust and a donations bucket by the door to raise funds solely for Sunbeams. The event raised £235 for the Sunbeams Trust.

The performance was inspiring. Annie first introduced her work with the trust, the charity that engages people of different abilities and backgrounds with music, facilitating learning, social interaction and developing their self-confidence through accomplishment and music for life therapy. She then introduced her harp of hand-crafted willow and showed the audience her facility with the Celtic instrument and her versatile voice.

Together, they filled the hall with sound and engaged the gathering with an entertaining and interactive set of original songs and instructive activity, including medley compositions that set everyone’s feet thumping.

In the course of 90 minutes, Annie and Keith gracefully interleaved a lot of fun entertainment with information about the development of the Sunbeams Trust and their plans to build a dedicated centre between Rheged and Redhills, near Penrith.

They taught the audience a lively sign language song, and between the songs there was a lot of local cultural reinforcement in the jolly banter such as counting in dialect from yan to gigot. Some of the children counted all the way! It all flowed with easy grace and finesse and was uplifting.

Mrs. Raine said: “I think it went very well. It was a day to showcase what we are about and how we hope to bring friendship and wellbeing to the elderly to counteract rural isolation. Thanks to Isa for organising the raffle, Charles for applying for the NCI grant and the whole team who got the hall ready and tidied up afterwards.”

Lyvennet Activity Group was set up as a constituted body to apply for grants which enable services to be brought into the community.

The group provides a lunch club, computer classes, a photography club, and a walking group. In the near future it hopes to hold handicraft classes for a one-off project to commemorate World War I.

Anybody interested in reserving a place at the lunch on the first Thursday of each month should contact Keith Taylor on 01931 715722. The next lunch will be on 6th February.

Annie is now well on her way to creating a permanent community music therapy and training centre to provide a purpose-built facility to deliver music therapy and training to the disabled and disadvantaged and create a centre of learning and research for music therapists and a sustainable legacy for community music therapy for disadvantaged people across the UK.