DURHAM-BORN opera star Ian Storey and Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowell will have plenty to sing about at a special concert in Newcastle tonight.
The pair are joining a line-up of local talents, including actor Tim Healy and Lindisfarne’s Billy Mitchell, to celebrate Christmas with songs, readings and all-round entertainment – all in a good cause.
The concert is to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, helping young sufferers in the region, and is being held from 7pm in the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas.
Anyone without a ticket can still book one, but seating is unreserved so those wanting to bag the best spots should remember that doors will open at 5.30pm.
The cathedral interior will form a majestic backdrop to what promises to be a thoroughly festive evening.
Over the course of two hours, music lovers will be treated to performances by renowned opera tenor Storey, who was raised in Chilton, County Durham and has appeared in some of the world’s leading opera houses, and McDowell – the 26-year-old Scot who won the TV talent show last year – who will be joined in a duet by 14-year-old Shauna Gallon from Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.
Shauna was the winner of regionwide music competition Teenage Kicks and her success has led to the NSPCC Christmas single.
Then there’ll be readings by local actors David Leon, who co-stars in Vera, Charlie Hardwick from Emmerdale, and Healy, who promises plenty of laughs with Geordie Nativity.
This comedy short, specially written by local playwright Ed Waugh with the help of his writing partner Trevor Wood, imagines how Mary and Joseph were helped by the people of the North East on that historic night more than 2,000 years ago. “It’s a five-minute piece and it’s hilarious – Tim can’t wait to deliver his sermon!” says Ray Laidlaw, of Lindisfarne, who is producing the show, which also features fellow ex-band member Billy Mitchell, as well as Ian Payne, of ITV North East, and pianist Ian Shaw. The evening, sponsored by Newcastle law firm Clarke Mairs, will also bring together supporters and those with national, as well as regional, connections to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The Trust, for which South Shields pop favourite Joe McElderry is ambassador, is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of 13 to 24-year-olds with cancer.
The hope is that tonight’s concert will raise thousands of pounds to help with the running costs of both the cancer unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, caring for those aged 18 to 24, and the one at the Great North Children’s Hospital at the RVI which helps 13 to 18-year-olds.
The Christmas at the Cathedral concert takes place at the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas tonight from 7pm.
:: Book tickets on www.ticketweb.co.uk or call 0844 477 1000. And look out later in the month for The Whodlums – The Who tribute band endorsed by trust patron Roger Daltrey himself, no less, – who will be supporting the charity with a special gig at Newcastle’s 02 Academy on December 22. For details, call 08444 772 000 or visit www.ticketweb.co.uk