A Musical Marathon!
For 24 long hours, from 4.00 pm on Sunday 18th August to 4.00 pm on
Monday 19th August 2007,
Fr Neil Kelley played the organ (and sometimes the piano) at St Mary's
in aid of church funds.
Supported by doorkeepers and refreshment sellers, as well as a steady
stream of spectators and well-wishers,
he worked his way through a wide range of sacred and secular music,
including request numbers, and,
at the time of writing, the money raised, taking into account Gift Aid
to be reclaimed, is around £6,000.
This magnificent sum, to be
divided equally between our two churches, is a fitting reward for the
vicar's dedication, talent and stamina.
Your website manager, who spent some hours in the pew, including Monday
breakfast, can bear witness to this marathon achievement,
and renders his thanks and congratulations, together with all those who
supported the event, to our Marathon Man!
Fr Neil, now recovered, and rashly
offering to repeat the event, writes about the experience as seen from
the organ console.
END IS NIGH…..
When you are planning to get through 1,440 minutes of music the end
seems a very long way off! It all started well at 4pm on Sunday 18th
August and it was encouraging to see when I had a quick (necessary)
break around 9pm that there were some 20 people in church including
three members of the local constabulary! (And they left a donation!)
But as midnight came and I felt as if I had done a day’s work, I
released I wasn’t even halfway there!
When I performed Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle in Birmingham back in
1987 (with one Lesley Garrett as soprano soloist) little did I imagine
I would be tackling a version for piano (made up by my good self) at
4am one Monday morning twenty years later in a Waterloo Church! But
when it got to the wee small hours of that 24 hour sponsored event I
was prepared to play anything just to keep myself awake. I went through
Handel’s Messiah twice and those there in the 23rd hour accompanied my
playing of just about every hymn in the hymn book.
As the last 30 minutes loomed people were sending encouraging texts (I
had mastered the art of texting and playing at the same time by then)
and the goodly number who were there for the final piece, the Widor
Toccata, gave a most moving standing ovation. It was all very worth
I have to say that writing this in the knowledge that just over
£6,000 was raised from the sponsored event in question is very
gratifying. I am enormously grateful to those within the church and
those who are “friends” of the church for all their support which of
course came in many and varied forms. If you were there for breakfast
or lunch you will know what I mean! People kindly kept me going with
fruit, coffee, Red Bull, Pro Plus tablets and the promise of something
more exciting to drink at the end!
When I was interviewed for BBC Radio Merseyside on the Sunday morning
in question I said how fortunate we were in both our churches to have
so many people who work so hard to make sure we keep the show on the
road. We do have, and we are so lucky. I was just glad to be able to do
my bit and would gladly do it again (so long as we make more money next
time, not less!).
So once again, many, many thanks!
Neil Kelley: September 9th, 2007
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