£2800 was raised for Cornwall Hospice Care and Cornwall Music Service Trust


To begin with here is a fallacy (well, now we know it is!): “Brass Bands are all very well in their place – outdoors and several miles away!”  Thus runs a quote from that great Orchestral Conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham.

As a result of some really superb work by a whole host of musicians (and by no means were all Brass), the complimentary provision of Wadebridge School’s Main Hall and the brilliant original idea of Wadebridge Rotary Club to celebrate the musical life of one Albert Ridgeley, some £2,800 has been raised from ticket sales and donations – all of which will be split equally between Cornwall Hospice Care and Cornwall Music Service Trust.  

The Wadebridge School Main Hall was “rammed” – this description supplied by one of the essential backstage sound and lighting team – to capacity on Sunday 5 July, as people whose lives had been touched by Albert, gathered together to listen to many of the musicians well known to him.  This Concert brought the whole community together with an audience from all walks of life connected by that one essential – Albert.

The evening was smoothly and most engagingly hosted by the ‘Ant & Dec’ of Wadebridge; namely Stuart Robertson and Chris Hewitt who, in addition to giving us little gems of detail about Albert’s love of music and much more, advertised their respective Molesworth Street businesses shamelessly – Albert used to play his Clarinet in Stuart’s Jewellers shop at Christmas and in Hewitt’s Bar Albert played the bongos with one of the Concert’s Bands, The Claze!

Albert also played percussion for the Camel Kordians and this audience was absolutely delighted to hear this wonderful, now trio, play The Jimmy Shand 6-20 March along with a few other nostalgic pieces.  “Is there another percussionist out there?” must now be the cry.

No Concert linked to Albert would even have been considered without the inclusion of the indomitable, and horse-loving, Janet Elston and her Triggshire Wind and String Orchestras – these fine musicians opened and closed the Concert with perfection and great, well-deserved, acclaim.  Janet had also found time to bring her Clarinet to the School Hall so she could join in with the Wadebridge Wanabees playing ‘Jambular’; versatile or what?!  Thanks, Janet.

We were given an insight as to how these great Orchestras – now in their 31st year – ‘grow their own’.  The Whirlwinds is a Junior wind and brass ensemble, conducted by Anna Meneer and formed specifically to help players gain that all important opportunity to practise the skills needed for ensemble performances – it’s a skill-set that needs teamwork and many of the Triggshire players have worked their way up from the Whirlwinds.

Poor old Sir T B would have needed to eat his words, his hat and his conductor’s baton – bet he never had a red baton - if he had been present to listen to the magnificent St Minver Band, with whom Albert played percussion on many occasions, especially at those unforgettable summer Polzeath Beach performances.  With gusto, precision and great musicality, this Band held their audience in awe – WOW was the word to be heard ringing round the School Hall afterwards.

Wadebridge Rotary Club are absolutely delighted to have played a part in helping to bring this Concert right into Albert’s beloved community.  The money raised and the number of wonderful musicians taking part were a sign of the affection in which he was held.  “Albert would have loved it” is a treasured comment made the morning after the Concert and one that is so easy to agree with.  We salute you Albert.

The final word goes to Sir T B: “The English may not like music – but they absolutely love the noise it makes”; And We Did!

Report and photo collage by Graham RenwickSlideshow photos by Geoff Nute