Fiona's invitation to take a musical journey across the globe and help two county charities

An online concert and associated workshops this Sunday offer a chance to support charities helping refugees and young people with mental health difficulties...and to enjoy a wide range of music and dance.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 6:07 pm

Former Prestonian Fiona Frank has organised a special online concert this weekend in aid of two county charities.

A Musical Journey Across The Globe will feature 13 performers.

Fiona, a Klezmer dance teacher, researcher and retired events organiser, who now lives near Lancaster, will be compering the event. She said the concert, on Sunday evening from 7.30pm - 10 pm, aims to tell the story of immigration to the UK through English, Irish, Klezmer, Caribbean and Syrian music, song and dance.

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Event organiser and compere Fiona Frank

Fiona, who has been helped by a team of volunteers,said: “It will take you from the UK to the Caribbean via Ireland, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The concert is preceded by optional dance workshops from a variety of cultures - the organisers hope that this will encourage participants to get up and dance during the concert.”

Performers include Birmingham based Syrian virtuoso viola player Raghad Haddad, former Prestonian Zena Taylor, Gospel soloist and Manchester regional director of the BPositive Choir and Berlin based dancer Medhat Aldaabal.

Fiona said: "The evening will start with a medley of English tunes with our Lancaster musicians Jane Lawrence, fiddle and piano and Ben Farmer on accordions and melodeon, followed by an Irish set from Bev Whelan, award winning Irish flautist and dancer. Next is a set of Klezmer tunes, the music from the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Eastern Europe, with Sian Phillips on accordion and kaval, Paul Sherwood on clarinet and Jane Lawrence on fiddle. Then Zena Taylor, acclaimed Manchester-based Gospel soloist, will take us on a singing tour of the Caribbean - with a range of gospel, Reggae, Calypso and call-and-response songs. After that virtuoso viola player Raghad Haddad will take us on a ‘musical journey’ around Syria and neighbouring Arabic countries. And finally there'll be a free Caribbean dance party on Facebook Live for everyone, led by Preston’s award winning dancer and dance teacher “Uncle Phil” (Phil Kaila)."

The afternoon dance workshops cover: Irish set dancing with Bev Whelan, Lancashire Clog dancing with Georgia Shorrock, Klezmer dance with Fiona Frank, Caribbean dance with Phil Kaila, and traditional ‘Dabke’ Syrian dance plus other ways of improvising to Arabic traditional music, with Berlin based dancer Medhat Aldaabal, accompanied by percussionist Ali Hassan.

Medhat Aldaabal dancing

Fiona said: "Medhat will also be teaching some ways of moving your body to Arabic music even if you don't want to get out of your chair - great for people with limited mobility, and for those of us who seem to have spent the last year in our chairs at home. During the evening our dancers will be spotlighted ‘on stage’ encouraging the audience to get up off their feet and join in the dance from their living rooms."

Proceeds from the event will be used to pay the performers, whose income and performance opportunities have been been hit by the pandemic and donate to Lancaster charities Global Link and A.C.E. in Lancaster.The donation to Global Link will be to support its vision of a new centre for refugees and asylum seekers in the city. ACE (Achieve Change and Engagement), a charity which supports young people in the Lancaster and Morecambe area who are struggling with mental health.

Tickets for the evening concert cost £10 and £2.50 for concessions and are free for refugees, assylum seekers and those with limited resources.

There is an additional fee for the dance workshops which run from 1.30pm - 5pm.

Singer Zena Taylor

The event is hosted by Halton Mill, Halton in partnership with the Gregson and Global Link, Lancaster

It is the second Musical Journeys concert Fiona has organised. Some 200 people attended the first Musical Journeys concert in January, which raised more than £1800 for Global Link after paying the musicians.

For ticket details and further information see www.tinyurl.com/lancasterdance

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