Following on from the success of her first “For Joanna” concert, Jennifer Tierney organised another to be held in memory of her friend Jo on the Battersea Barge on November 10th. The afternoon was full of immense talent, emotion and all for a fantastic cause.
Kicking off the afternoon was Andy Coxon with a slick medley of Christina Aguilera songs, accompanied by pianist and musical director of the day, Craig Adams. Going from an upbeat positive medley we were then treated to a mellow rendition of Scott Alan’s “Home” from We Will Rock You’s Katie Paine which was stunning, the song itself has such power anyway but when sung so beautifully it certainly resonates. Jack Shalloo, currently in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory then took to the stage with pint in hand to perform a very different arrangement of “Who Will Buy” originally from Oliver!, but Craig had created an arrangement so refreshing and well suited to Jack’s voice that it worked incredibly well.
Jennifer then spoke about how her and Jack had met which was through working with Craig on the concept album for the musical “Lift”, which they’re currently in New York for to see it’s off-Broadway premiere! As well as talking about “Lift”, Jennifer thanked Craig and Christian Sutherland (in advance) for them helping her musically with the concert. She then introduced Joanna’s husband Andy up onto the stage to share some words about Joanna and how special the world of musical theatre was to her. Joanna was able to attend the concert that Jennifer organised for her last November, however sadly passed away earlier this year which made the concert so much more heartfelt, especially for those who had attended both of them. While talking about Jo, Andy explained for those who weren’t fully aware about the charity the day was raising money for which is the St. Christopher’s Hospice. This hospice aims to give as much care and comfort to those dying, and it was where Jo was taken care of before passing away after battling breast cancer.
Following this emotion-stirring talk, Andy welcomed his cousin Matt Elson to the stage who gorgeously sang “Some Other Time” from “On The Town”. Sarah Ingram was then introduced with a quip from Matt about how as she couldn’t be part of the concert last year as she was starring in “Taboo” she had charity buckets taken around the show on the day to raise money for St. Christopher’s Hospice which I thought was incredibly touching, she then performed “Teach Me Tonight”, effortlessly going from soft vocals to powerhouse notes. Jennifer then jumped up to introduce her next performer by joking that as she had done her a favour in performing at her wedding recently, Stevie Tate-Bauer owed her one in performing in her concert. Kerrigan-Lowdermilk’s gorgeous “Say The Word” was then sublimely performed by Stevie before Kieran Brown brought the tempo of the afternoon up with “Use What You’ve Got”, injecting a bit more humour with a printer error causing some issues that him and Craig styled out!
Closing the first act, Jennifer was joined by Rebecca Trehearn, Lauren Varnham and Sabrina Aloueche to perform Scott Alan’s “Always”, accompanied by Scott Morgan on piano. This perfectly put-together quartet have performed “Always” at quite a couple of gigs I’ve been to now, and their rendition of it can also be found on Lauren’s album “Astonishing”, and it never ceases to lose its magic. Not only that but it’s an incredibly impacting song, with emotional attributes so suited to the cause of the concert. The collection of these four incredible voices is a sure-fire win and every time they come together you can’t help but be amazed.
After a short interval we were welcomed back to the incredible talent on show with Caroline Deverill performing “Fever”, Caroline and Jennifer have been friends for quite some time now having been a team for singing backing vocals with Kerry Ellis, as amazing as that is I have to say it’s even better seeing these talented performers getting their own time in the spotlight and Caroline certainly impressed everyone on the barge. Brian McCann then followed this with Elvis Presley’s “It’s Easy For You”. Next to perform was Andrew Bryant who is currently in rehearsals for Oliver! at the Sheffield Crucible theatre, who was accompanied by Christian Sutherland on guitar for a very pleasing rendition of Jason Mraz’s “Love for a Child”.
It wouldn’t be a charity event without a fantastic auction opportunity which was hilariously presented by Owain Williams. A pair of tickets to We Will Rock You as well as a backstage tour, donated by Katie Paine, ended up going for a fantastic £200 after some persuasion and encouragement to up the price with trays of muffins and Andrew Bryant appearing topless (the things people will do for charity…)!
Sabrina Aloueche then returned to perform Shontelle’s “Impossible” accompanied by Christian on guitar. I’m always blown away by Sabrina’s vocal talent and at this concert it was no different, she has such a pure voice with ridiculous amounts of strength. Thomas Sutcliffe then joined the stage with Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” which was absolutely stunning. Any one whose read some of my blogs before will know that I’m a huge fan of Rebecca Trehearn, so her being a part of this concert was a massive win for me. On this occasion she sang Beth Nielsen Chapman’s “How We Love”. I’m sure I’ve run out of adjectives for Rebecca’s voice, but especially with this song the ethereal quality of it was spellbinding, she truly captivates an audience.
Going from the smooth ballad we were then taken to “Catch Me If You Can”’s opening number, with Owain William’s performing the upbeat “Live in Living Colour” including some twerking that had been promised as part of the previous auction win. Matt then joined Owain to perform “The Way You Look Tonight”, which they disclosed had been the song they sang for Jo and Andy at their wedding. These little anecdotes that were scattered throughout the concert truly brought us all back to the reason for being there and made the songs even more heartfelt. Jennifer then took the spotlight having sat at the back of the stage watching her friends perform in the afternoon, and spoke of fond memories her and Jo shared. She specifically spoke of the nights they spent dancing to 80’s music, Whitney Houston in particular, at Strawberry Moon’s in Central, and she then performed the most emotional rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. I never thought this would be a song to make me cry, but Jenn, accompanied by Christian, Craig and Caroline made it so touching. It was the perfect finale song to a beautiful concert.
Huge congratulations need to go to Jenn for organising a sublime afternoon, the only rocky element of it was the barge lifting and that most certainly can’t be helped! She had such a strong collection of performers put together with faultless vocals, songs and arrangements. Also well done to Craig, Christian and Scott for providing music and direction, and to Paul Smith for taking some stunning photographs throughout the concert.
What really struck me about this concert was the willingness of all involved, everyone really wanted to be there to help and raise as much money as possible. I spoke to Sarah Ingram briefly afterwards and she mentioned how lovely it was to be a part of something that really mattered and would make a difference, and I think that nicely sums the afternoon up.