SUPERB feedback and a host of requests prompted Bacup-born singer Sean Ruane to invite his friends back on stage for a second concert in the town.
For the last two years, international opera singer Sean has just been holding a ‘Sean and Friends’ night at Bacup Royal Court Theatre.
Sean said: “We had such good feedback from our May concert on social media and people were asking us if we would do a Christmas show that we decided let’s do it. It will be a true variety show with a host of home-grown Valley talent showcasing the amazing singers and talented musicians and performers that we have in Rossendale.”
May’s show opened with St Anne’s Community Choir and the singers, from primary school age to pensioners, will be back at Christmas to delight the audience.
Sean said: “I think having the community choir performing made the last concert extra special because the audience could see themselves in the performance. The choir was set up initially to combat isolation and it now attracts people from all over Rossendale.
“Since performing in Bacup, members have gone on to sing at Wembley in front of 70,000 rugby fans where they helped to keep a tradition from 1929 alive by singing ‘Abide With Me’. This concert, on Saturday December 7, will have traditional carols and Christmas songs for the audience to interact and sing along with and some surprises.”
Sean, who grew up on the Pennine Road Estate, loves returning to the theatre where his career started, especially when he sees familiar faces.
He said: “Chrissie Donnelly and Mrs Daley were always on the front row when I was younger; they used to look after me as a child when my mum died when I was four. Both Chrissie and Mrs Daley are sadly no longer with us, but now Chrissie’s daughter Theresa takes up a front row seat and I look forward to seeing her again in December.
“These concerts are all about connecting the community and it is amazing how many people tell me that is just what happens when they come along.”
As well as the choir, cruise ship artists The Lomax Brothers will be on stage along with singer Rachel Spencer, who owns Sophia Management and Casting Agency. Twelve-year-old Danny Dunning will be singing again at Sean’s concert. This time he will perform a solo of ‘Walking in the Air’ with piano accompaniment and, as part of a trio with Sean and Max Lomax, 12, Danny will be signing ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’.
Classical pianist Joanna Garcia will be accompanying Sean and brass trio Josh Brown, Thomas Kershaw and George Hanson and ‘The Band’ of Liam Spencer, Dan Connolly and Roger Hindle will be playing.
Sean now runs Chant Productions, working with young people, groups and businesses to create choirs and perform.
He said: “It has been a busy year and although not performing live at The Ashes, the England cricket team did walk out to my recording of ‘Jerusalem’. We are also working with Blackburn charity Child Action North West and BBC Children In Need.”