The last Friday of February saw the opening night of ‘Showcase Spectacular’, an evening of entertainment hosted by Newcastle’s Friends of Medecins Sans Frontieres society, for the benefit of Doctors Without Borders.
It’s no secret that there’s nothing more hit-or-miss than a variety of performance or talent shows, as one need all the cogs in the wheel to step up to the plate to pull one off.
Once a suitable venue is secured, you need to organise sound and lighting, an all-encompassing promotion plan and an emcee of suitable charm with the ability to bridge awkward moments and keep the audience energized, without over-doing it.
Oh and not to mention recruiting a diverse assortment of quality performers with the capacity to actually entertain- a mammoth task entirely of its own.
However, due to the efforts of a large network of individuals and organizations, the night was a resounding success.
Set in the impressive performing arts theatre at the RGS in Jesmond, spectators were treated to an evening of solid performances kicked off by NU Dance, providing an eclectic mix of styles including a dynamic tap routine, which was received particularly enthusiastically by the audience.
Next followed NU’s Tune Army – our resident A Cappella group- with some exciting arrangements and a fun blend of popular music from the likes of Ed Sheeran to Whitney Houston. The audience being particularly in awe of Ifede Osiyemi; the human depiction of cool and with a captivating talent for beatboxing.
Following A Cappella, there was a special performance from Mat Hunsley, a soft acoustic singer-songwriter and city-leader of Newcastle Sofar Sounds.
The spell-binding effect of his “folk-tinged sound and unique brand of storytelling” left the theatre in such an enthralled state, you could hear a pin drop.
After the break, NUJO transported us to a cocktail lounge and had the audience bopping along with their smooth jazz and NUTS whisked us off to the West End with a variety of songs from musical theatre.
Visitors were lucky to be able to see their stellar performance of 525, 600 minutes from Rent, after the cancellation of their highly anticipated production.
Next came the Irish Dancing Society led by Liam Carson, dubbed the “White Peacock” due to his fierce presence on stage.
This act was one that was a pleasant surprise for most onlookers, with a roar of cheer and applause filling the venue on the conclusion of their highly-executed display.
To close the show, we had a powerful performance by vocalist Isabelle Fenner accompanied on piano by the dream-boat that is Tom Kennedy.
Thrilled at the opportunity to sing Sam Smith on stage, all were blown away by her incredible set.
No charity fundraiser is complete without a raffle, and this was a stunner. With the top prize in everyone’s eyes being a bundle of music and merchandise from the local music scene to the North East, there were vinyls, CDs, art work, gig tickets and t-shirts all up for grabs.
Others included a day at the dog races, numerous restaurant, cinema and pamper vouchers and bottles of prosecco, all donated by members of the local community to which we offer huge thanks.
A final thank you to Felix Torrance, Steve Bober, Jill Graham (Christian, Rose, James and the rest of the RGS gang), Wannie, Chisala, Stuart Keenan, all the acts, the FoMSF family and all who came to support our fundraising efforts, with your help we raised over £650 for this fantastic organisation.