THE ALL STARS BAND
25TH ANNIVERSARY CHARITY CONCERT
Some weeks prior to this event it came to mind that not only was the date almost upon us, but that this year we are mindful that in September 2014 it will be 25 years since the atrocity of the bombing at the RMSM - Deal.
In my retirement I have no restrictions that dictate whether or not I can travel, so it didn't take me many minutes to decide that I would pay my respects in person and contribute to the cause, that of the many thousands of pounds that go to chosen charities including those that assist directly our own RMB colleagues and in particular the families left behind after the events almost 25 years ago.
The many contributors and casual visitors to these pages will forgive my personal review of the whole weekend that encapsulated the actual date of the concert. There was significantly more involved in my several days visiting the United Kingdom than just the visit to the Winter Gardens Margate.
many of us use the UJC (Union Jack Club) these days? I can state unequivocally
that it is far removed from the pre 1976 days when for those of us who
used it in decades prior, the facilities although affordable, were spartan
in comparison. My en-suite room is comfortable and immaculate everytime
I visit. You can visit at http://www.ujclub.co.uk
travelled to the UK on a regular basis since making the USA my home way
back in 1992, in recent years and visits I was offered the opportunity
to visit the Lion King (Lyceum Theatre) and sit-in with Adrian Brett (flutes
of all kinds) who has been resident for that show for too many years that
he cares to recall.
Click on images for full view
After the show we had to 'wet our whistle' (Among the vast assortment of African flutes, the Penny Whistle was included in the score) and we took a leisurely stroll across the Thames to a famous watering hole right near Waterloo station (and my hotel) where Adrian could get the train back to his south London home.
Thank you Adrian. Thank you for the privilege and the lifetime experience. I'm proud to know that we are both part of our unique 'band of brothers' and that you are only one of many who took their experience of the RM Band Service to higher ground. Congratulations on your achievements.
now to Margate:
A lovely quiet and temperate morning, I had chosen an early train so that upon arrival we could enjoy a 'cuppa' at Tony's house and say hello to his partner Alison. Without a hitch, the train left in timely fashion and I watched a great movie 'Nebraska' on my tablet for the duration. As the train sauntered into Deal the end credits were playing on my device and I can highly recommend the movie for those who have any interest. A great way to ignore two hours of rail travel and like a good book, be completely engrossed in a compelling subject.
weeks prior to the anticipated concert I had been in regular contact
with another dear friend and colleague from Whale Island days, the inimitable
Derek Usher. He intimated that he didn't want to have to travel back
to Portsmouth after the gig (Derek played in the band) so I
suggested as to where I was successful in acquiring somewhere to overnight
so he tried the same place and 'voila!' He secured a room for the night.
Tony and I made our way over to Margate and arrived at was at that time
my stable for the night, however it was disclosed to me earlier that
Tony was due to become a Grandfather (again) as his daughter
was many days overdue therefore anything that popped up on his mobile
phone was attended to with more urgency than otherwise. When we arrived
at the pub, we announced ourself to the very welcoming owner and he
told us that Mr Usher had already arrived and just as he said that,
there was Derek just as if the genie had just rubbed his lamp.
Of course Derek was playing later and needed to be at the 2pm rehearsal so we summoned a taxi and made our way first to the Britannia (watering hole just down the road from the Winter Gardens) and after that we took a walk up the hill to the venue and upon arrival found the 130 musicians staging up in readiness for rehearsal.
Tony and I met old friends which included Sid Rose, and in due course Paul Neville came in and sat with Sid for a time before he was introduced to the band, the majority of whom must have been on stage (included myself at the time) 24 years ago. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Barry and Heather Radford at the venue. No mean feat for a man who has had his physical challenges in recent years but it just goes to show the sheer grit and determination of them both to overcome adversity and grasp life for all its gifts and in particular our cameraderie. I continue to be compelled to mention that Barry has in the past been a fastidious advocate for our annual reunions and I mention yet again how grateful we all are for that.
A FEW PHOTO'S COURTESY OF DEREK USHER
I think it appropriate to include a recent guestbook entry by Graham Hoskins who in a few paragraphs described the concert thus:
contacted Mike Scurfield to thank him for again arranging for the All
Stars band to perform so ably at the Winter Gardens in Margate again
this year I am conscious that no salutation has appeared on this web
page since the concert. Allow me, please, to pen these few words in
In closing, I can say that it was a truly memorable evening and for the audience to be encouraged to sing along with Mike Scurfield during the 1st World War Medley, it gave me an inner feeling of great pride and one of nostalgia when we all sang "Rule Britannia" choruses along with Margaret Threadgold during the finale. Thank you to everyone who make this truly remarkable event happen every year.