An Amazing Devizes Concert for Opendoors

All images used with permission of Gail Foster

If of recent I’ve been critical about counterproductive steps taken to solve the rise in youth crime, favouring encouraging events designed for our youngest, it doesn’t mean any age demographic should miss out on live entertainment. Therefore, it was a blessing last night to see the Corn Exchange jam-packed, predominately with middle-aged and elders, enjoying a cracking musical variety concert in aid of Devizes Opendoors.

A massive congratulations goes to the organisers, especially Dora Kan, who slaved to create an amazing rosta of entertainment and sizable raffle. Acts were tried and tested; Dora is an active member of the humongous PSG Choir, who shone for the finale with zest, ardour, and a selection of pop classics; my favourite? Well, no child of the eighties can argue with such a wonderful rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours, now, can they?

One personal particular highlight of the event was to witness PSG members’ bubbling smiles of enthusiasm as they lined the doors awaiting their turn to shine. At one point I was nearly encased within them, praying I wouldn’t be dragged in by the crowd and expected to sing too, for this could’ve been the disastrous consequence which spoiled an otherwise unspoiled evening!

The pop gospel choir is a local amateur community-driven choir, which doubles as social group, with Will Blake as the mentor and conductor. But if the concert acted as both showcase and advertisement for this open choir, prior to this, Will was given the opportunity to also showcase himself and his trio.

Covering an era-spanning range of sing-a-long pop classics merged into a non-stop medley, The Will Blake Trio enthuses any audience with a showy display of accomplished precision. Will himself takes to a grand piano, carrying off the act in true Jerry Lee Lewis standing position. He even has the tendency to kick the stool away. To begin with The Jungle Book’s King of the Swingers is bold, to infuse it with the Jackson’s I Want You Back is surely just showing off, isn’t it?!

Will Blake Opendoors Concert 2023

It was the most amazing burst of energy to rouse the crowd after the interval, but if Will has class and style, and the choir can hold the audience in a certain awe, with the sheer number in the choir one could argue it’s not so tricky as doing this solo. This is where I came in, apologies to the amazing multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and music teacher Andrew Hurst, who I unfortunately missed.

Andrew Hurst Opendoors Concert 2023

I’d rushed home after a Devizes hockey 1sts away game in Portishead, and by the time dinner was finished I checked the listing on my own event guide to see it started ten minutes ago, an hour ealier than I’d imagined. Fancy that, I run the blasted event guide and still messed up! I heard a great response to Andrew’s set, knowing him, it’s hardly unexpected. Pre-lockdown Andrew was teaching my son piano, and his perfected work method engaged him throughly, and he’s no easy kid to engage. Dora is also tutored by Andrew. As I said, the entertainment has personal connections to Dora, which gave the evening this wonderful community ambience.

Anyway, I disgress, you don’t need to hear of my first jog up Dunkirk Hill since turning fifty, and how I suspect someone extends that hill a few extra yards everytime I scale the mountain, you need to hear, everyone needs to hear, what greeted me at the summit. As I say, a choir, yes, solo to hold a crowd spellbound, that’s another thing entirely.

Chloe Jordan was already on stage, perfectly accompanied by Susan Braunton on keys, but my inexperience in wording a critique on opera, on classical singing will show through here, in only being able to compare it to the very best of rock, blues, indie and folk singers of our usual haunts. However amazing they might be, this is way beyond. The pitch and note changes, the enriching power of this soprano holds you, encases you in the same awe as an entire orchestra.

It is, in a word, breathtaking. If the phrase using ones voice as a musical instrument is cliché, there’s no better way to describe Chloe Jordan in full flight. It’s something amazing, a something to summon angels down from the heavens to listen, I kid you not!

Chloe Jordan Opendoors Concert 2023

Though we’ve not touched base on the overall joy this evening will bring, as the sellout crowd donated to the local homeless charity Devizes Opendoors; such a worthy cause. We’ve heard a staggering sum has been gratefully received, and this is the cherry on top of a wonderful evening and a testament to what can be achieved.

Chole, though, with her entertaining covers of sing-a-long classics from musicals and films, my personal highlight of which being Doris Day’s Deadwood Stage, which wowzers, if I’ve not heard for an age, I’ve never heard it performed so absolutely sublimely, I thank you, you are staggeringly amazing!


One thought on “An Amazing Devizes Concert for Opendoors”

  1. THANK YOU for such a lovely write up.
    I had a lot of help from Devizes Opendoors, Andrew, Chloe, Will and his band mates and PSG Choirs, and many others such as Sandi Jordan as in Chloe’s mum.
    Together, we did something AMAZING in Devizes for which I am truly grateful!


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