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Stellar line up for Shropshire concert for Ukraine

A stellar cast of local, national and internationally renowned performers will perform in a gala Ludlow concert in aid of the Ukrainian people.

Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan

TV impressionist and ace pianist Alistair McGowan will top the bill at the “In Unison With Ukraine”concert at St Laurence’s Church, on Saturday May 14.

Mr McGowan, a Ludlow resident, said: “The situation in Ukraine has shocked and appalled us all.

"We have tried to help in many ways and hope that this concert will be another small chance to raise some money and keep the suffering of the Ukrainian people in our hearts and minds.”

The list of top rank international stars includes the brilliant Ukrainian bass-baritone opera singer Vassily Savenko, a leading interpreter of Ukrainian Art Song.

Odessa-born Mr Savenko has sung principal roles for major opera houses in his native Ukraine and also with the Bolshoi and Kirov Opera Theatres in Russia.

He said: “I was born in the Odessa region of Ukraine. I absolutely condemn the Russian invasion and its devastating consequences, but feel a deep anguish over the resulting divisions between people who have considered themselves as one nation.

“Millions of Ukrainians are married to Russians and vice versa and there was a popular exchange in education, culture and sport: I started my vocal studies at the Odessa conservatoire and finished at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky conservatoire.

“This brutal, senseless war has created a terrible humanitarian crisis, and vast sums of money and support are needed to help the millions of refugees and for the rebuilding of the nation, so I’m particularly happy to participate in this concert ‘In unison with Ukraine’.”

The concert will raise funds for the Disaster Emergency Committee Ukrainian humanitarian appeal.

It is being organised by Ludlow resident Kim Begley, a former principal tenor at the Royal Opera House, who has sung in all the great opera houses of the world, and his opera singer wife Elizabeth.

Also starring will be Charlotte Page, a leading lady in international opera houses and theatres alike, whose credits include Christine in Phantom Of The Opera and who once sang at a birthday party for Sir Elton John.

She said: “One feels so helpless and impotent in the face of the atrocity that is this war. Singing in this concert is just one tiny thing I can offer to help in some way.”

The beautiful St Laurence’s Church will echo to the sound of Tom Bowes, widely recognised as one of the UK’s most versatile and accomplished violinists – as a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster and artistic director.

Equally at home in the commercial recording studio, Tom works closely with many of today’s most eminent film composers.

Among over 150 film credits are such hit movies as Skyfall, The King’s Speech and The Da Vinci Code.

Also performing will be Tom’s wife Eleanor Alberga, the renowned composer and concert pianist and composer, whose music has been performed by the Royal Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic and internationally in the USA, Australia, South America, Canada and China.

The bill will also feature the popular husband and wife singing duo Trovatori - modern day troubadours Darren and Caroline Clarke - whose talents have taken them all over the world and to UK venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as live in concert on BBC Radio 3.

Performer and writer Ed Begley, son of Kim and Elizabeth, and Ludlow-based poet Gareth Owen complete the extraordinary line up assembled for this one-off show, performing his haunting compositions on piano and synthesizer.

All the performers are donating their time and talent free of charge. Entry to the concert will be free but money will be raised for the charity by donations on the night.

In Unison With Ukraine will start at 7.30pm on Saturday, May 14.

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