It’s great when interests sometimes overlap. I love collecting records and from time to time, thumbing through charity shop boxes I come across interesting items.
Towards the end of last year, I was in one shop, when I happened across a release by The King’s Singers. The album by the vocal ensemble was of 1970s vintage and appeared to include their unique interpretations of songs by Noel Coward and Flanders & Swann. Even more interesting was the albums reverse as it appeared to be autographed.
Having paid my 50p for the record, I took the album home. It wasn’t until getting the album home I realised there was a souvenir programme (collecting vintage theatre programmes is another of my interests) inside the sleeve giving a clue to where it was purchased and how it came to be autographed.
The souvenir programme revealed that the record originated from a concert staged at Newport’s Dolman Theatre on Friday July 16, 1982. The concert, the first visit to Newport for The King’s Singers was staged in order to raise money for The Arthritis and Rheumatism Council.
The event was organised in co-operation with Newport Playgoers Society including their President, Mrs Marion Jones and Secretary Derek Richards. John Morgan staged the show while lighting was provided by John Stratford.
While the souvenir programme included a welcome from ARC chairman, Jean Bartlett. VIP guests attending the concert were the Mayor of Newport, Councillor Mrs Ruby Kempstedtt, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Hornby-Smith DBE, Chairman of ARC Appeals Committee, the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Mr Richard Hanbury-Tenison, The Bishop of Monmouth the Rt. Reverend Derrick G Childs and Mrs Childs, Sir Maynard Jenour, ARC President of Wales and Lady Jenour, Dr Peter I Williams ARC President of Newport, Mr JA Hedges, District Chairman of Barclays Bank PLC and Mrs Hedges and Mrs Marion Jones, President Newport Playgoers Society with Mr DL Jones.
The Kings Singers programme itself appears to be diverse and eclectic. The performance featuring Jeremy Jackman, Alastair Hume, Bill Ives, Anthony Holt, Simon Carrington and Brian Kay began with a selection of songs paying homage to Hoagy Carmichael including I Get Along Without You Very Well and Lazy Bones, Lazy River. Also, a collection of English Madricals including John Willbye’s Lady, Your Words Do Spite Me and William Byrd’s The Sweet and Merry Month.
Another segment, Moans Groans Cries and Sighs by Gian-Carlo Meinotti was a presentation of a piece originally commissioned by the Kings Singers for the 1981 Edinburgh International Festival. There were also vocal throwbacks with The Victorian Collection including Ciro Pinouti’s Goodnight Beloved and Franz Abt’s Laughing.
The show ended with Arrangements in Close Harmony, showcasing a selection of songs from the lighter side of The ‘King’s Singers repertoire.
Programmes and records were sold in the interval by pupils of Liswerry High School. The programme stated that The King’s Singers would autograph purchased records at the end of the concert, while any profit over the price of the records was kindly donated to the ARC by The King’s Singers.
If anyone has any further information of the concert, we’d be delighted to hear from you – you can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Andy Howells’ article on the beginnings of Newport’s Dolman Theatre