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Well it was actually in the nave of St Bride's Church. but I'm a sucker for a headline!
It seems appropriate, if a little unconventional, to start this piece with the conclusion of Great Balls of Fire - a fundraising event organised to mark the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
At the finish the sight of the Rector, a Senior Churchwarden and members of the congregation dancing to Great Balls of Fire proved to be the highlight of an evening filled with music, song and words delivered by a talented group of St Bride's friends, staff and supporters.
Great Balls of Fire brought hacks and actors, from The French House in Soho, together to remember Fleet Street Journalist Noel Botham and to ensure that the 350th Anniversary did not pass without music, song and dancing!
While there was a serious intent to mark the catastrophe with historical references, it was also vital to celebrate the rebirth of the City and, in particular St Bride's, following the fire of 1666 and the Blitz during the Second World War, both of which devastated St Bride's. And of course there was a very practical aim too - to raise funds for the continued restoration of the church.
A delicate balance was struck, with the hard work of the cast of actors - who delivered the readings - musicians and singers. The music and songs ranged from the 1930's classic Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, performed to perfection by Kenny Clayton and Paul Ryan, to David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes, a poignant rendition by Claire Seaton, a robust version of Ring of Fire performed by James Irving, to Great Balls of Fire, performed by the Firecrackers (a band especially formed by Bob Kidby for the evening) with guest soloist Andy MacKay; interspersed with readings from Shakespeare, the Great Fire extracts from the diaries of Samuel Pepys, and recollections of the Blitz.
But the highlight of the show was the audience, they embraced the historical significance of the occasion while celebrating the rebirth of the City and St Bride's. They also helped to raise nearly £3,000 for the on-going INSPIRE! Appeal - something worth dancing for.
David Battiscombe - bass
Tim Blanchard - sax
Tom Downes - percussion
Bob Kidby - musical director, guitar and vocals
Bob Wootton - guitar
Peter Clark Images