Over six hundred people packed the Temple Speech Room of Rugby School on the evening of Thursday 29th October.

The audience was entertained by one hundred and thirty five Male Voice Choir members plus thirty five bandsmen and women perform a varied programme of music designed appropriately to commence the run up to the Rugby World Cup Finals.

The evening was organised jointly by the Friends of St Cross, in aid of the their Diamond Jubilee Appeal, and the Rotary Club of Rugby Dunsmore to support Tedworth House, a home to provide help and support to injured servicemen and women who have suffered trauma whilst on duty, as part of the Help for Heroes charity.

Vice Chairman of the Friends Willy Goldschmidt said “The hospital’s association with Rugby School dates back to 1884 when the hospital was opened and we are delighted to renew this association tonight and are grateful for the School’s support which has enabled us to mount this fantastic event.  We must also thank the musicians and choristers who have freely given their time to perform tonight. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge and thank Rugby Borough Council for their efforts in promoting Rugby Town during the World Cup tournament and giving charities like us the profile and promotion of events which has helped to make then so successful. I am pleased to announce that we have raised over £7,000 tonight to be divided equally between Rotary and the Friends charity appeals.”

Councillor Richard Dodd, Mayor of Rugby and President of the Rugby Male Voice Choir opened the Concert by welcoming the audience and the visiting choirs of City of Coventry, Northampton and Wigston along with the Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band. He was accompanied on stage by Trevor Wagg, President of the Rotary Club of Rugby Dunsmore and Joan Jesson, President of the Friends of St Cross and Mike Folly the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

A varied programme kicked of with “When the Saints go marching” in performed by the combined choirs and the Band. There followed an amazing programme including the haunting American Trilogy, a medley of the four Home Nations Rugby anthems with the audience joining in the rousing finale of usual last night of the proms favourites. In between there were top class renditions of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “As if we never said goodbye” featuring vocal soloist Laura Moran and “Fly me to the Moon” sung by Jennie Adnitt as well as a soprano cornet solo of “Memory” performed by Alister Rowe.

Fund raising Chairman of Rugby Dunsmore Rotary said “To a person the audience loved the entire evening’s performances and left feeling thoroughly uplifted. We are delighted to be associated with such talented performers. Many of the audience told me that this was probably the best concert they had ever experienced in the Town for many many years, and I have to say it was certainly unsurpassed in my experience. It was a privilege to be part of it and be able to raise substantial funds for important organisations at the same time.”

Willy Goldschmidt, Vice Chairman on the Friends, said “unbeknown to us when we first thought of arranging this event, the Rugby Male Voice Choir and Bilton Silver Band performed together in this venue some 30 years ago and once again it was in aid of an Appeal organised by the Friends of St Cross! The Rugby Male Voice Choir recently joined forces with the Choirs from Coventry, Northampton and Wigston to perform at the Derngate in Northampton and we are delighted to renew these connections and look forward to a fun filled programme as well as raising funds for our charities.”

Trevor Wagg,  this year's President of the Rugby Dunsmore Rotary Club said “we are delighted to join with the Friends to put on this fantastic event! We have been keen to do what we can to support this very worthwhile cause for the benefit of the people of Rugby. We know that both the Choir and the Band sound superb in their own right but when combined together and joined by visiting choristers in this magnificent venue we are sure to "raise the roof!"” 

The Friends Diamond Jubilee Appeal has so far received over £108,000 which will help fund the relocation of the Blood Taking Service at the hospital. The project is underway and it is expected that the new unit will be operational this winter. As a result of the success of the Appeal the Charity is in discussion with the hospital management about projects to support the expansion of Day Surgery and the recently relocated Children’s Out Patients department at the Hospital.

Mark Allen, Musical Director of the Bilton Silver Band, said “the members of the Band are delighted to be invited to take part in this concert and support our local hospital and the Rotary Club.”

Mike Minton, Musical Director of the Rugby Male Voice Choir, said “the choir is proud to have been asked to support the Friends and the Rotary Club and to have the opportunity to join up once again with the Bilton Silver Band and the other male voice choirs from Coventry, Northampton and Wigston in the magnificent setting of the Temple Speech Room.”

Photos by Bob Mercer

Mark Allen, Musical Director of Bilton Silver Band, and Mike Minton, Musical Director of the Rugby Male Voice Choir are applauded by all after a superb evening’s entertainment.

Mark Allen, Musical Director of Bilton Silver Band, conducts the audience, choir and band singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’

L-R Trevor Wagg, President of the Rotary Club of Rugby Dunsmore, Clr Richard Dodd, Mayor of Rugby, Joan Jesson, President of the Friends of St Cross and Rotarian Mike Folly, Master of Ceremonies