American visitors enjoy successful Eric Coates concert in Hucknall

Hucknall-born composer Eric Coates.
Hucknall-born composer Eric Coates.

Visitors from the USA were among the audience when the Hucknall-based Eric Coates Society hosted its annual concert last Saturday afternoon.

What’s more, it transpired that they were related to the family of none other than Abraham Lincoln, president of America from 1861 to 1865.

Geoff Sheldon, the society’s president, explained: “A lady from the States came to visit her mother and, upon arrival, she picked up a copy of the Dispatch.

“Opening the paper, she saw an advert for the concert and so rang us for tickets.

“We obliged, and she came with her husband, who had the surname Lincoln. Sure enough, we discovered he is related to the Abraham Lincoln family.”

The concert, held at the Central Methodist Church, was the 11th staged by the society, and proved a huge success.

For the first time, the show was headlined by Newstead Brass, whose conductor was Jim Davies. The band were supported by mezzo sporano Laura Roberts, who sang numbers such as ‘Danny Boy’, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘Seguidilla’ from the opera, ‘Carmen’, by Georges Bizet.

An enthusiastic audience also enjoyed tunes by the Hucknall-born composer Coates (1886-1957) himself, most notably ‘The Dam Busters March’ and ‘By The Sleepy Lagoon’.

To demonstrate the diversity of music on offer, songs from the king of pop, Michael Jackson, rubbed shoulders with Claude Debussy’s ‘Nuit d’etoiles’ and songs such as ‘Mack The Knife’, ‘Feed The Birds’ and ‘Let There Be Light’.

The concert, which was compered by Trevor Lee, also offered for sale a new CD of Eric Coates music that has been recorded by the society’s president, John Wilson, in association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Released by Chandos Records, the CD proved very popular and a copy was even bought by the visitors from America.

Mr Sheldon thanked everyone who supported the concert, particularly Central Methodist Church.

Plans are already in the pipeline for next year’s concert, which will be he held at the same venue on Saturday, September 26 (2.30 pm).

The main performers will be Hucknall Torkard Ensemble and Pye Hill Male Voice Choir, with tickets available from Hucknall Library.

In the meantime, anyone interested in joining the society is welcome to attend its bi-monthly meetings, which are held at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street, Hucknall.

The next meetings are earmarked for Wednesday, November 27 and Wednesday, January 15 (2 pm to 4 pm). Admission is free.