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Events planned for local tribute to composer John Barry

19-Apr-2011 • Event

Plans are being drawn up for a York concert to celebrate the life and music of John Barry, reports the York Press.

Organisers want to stage the event in the autumn at York Barbican, just a short distance from the former Rialto where the Oscar-winning composer started his career.

The news comes a week after The Press revealed that a memorial concert is to be staged at the Royal Albert Hall in London on June 20, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing, Dame Shirley Bassey appearing as guest artist and tributes being paid by Sir Tim Rice, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Michael Parkinson.

York councillor and composer Christian Vassie called last week for something to be staged at York Barbican as well as the London event, following Mr Barry’s death from a heart attack in January, aged 77.

Now the Lord Mayor Elect, Coun David Horton, has revealed that a fundraising sub-committee is hoping to press ahead with just such a concert in late autumn, with proceeds going to the Lord Mayor’s charities.

Coun Horton said “significant discussions” were taking place over the staging of a musical evening which would involve a selection of local musicians and performers. He said: “Unlike the event being held in London’s Albert Hall, with star names and famous endorsements, the York event will be staged in close proximity to where John Barry started his career at the Rialto, now the Mecca Bingo Hall in Fishergate.”

He said contact had been made with the Barry family, both in York and New York, and they had given their blessing and support. “Further details will be made available as and when firm arrangements are in place,” he said.

Singers from a York community choir are also planning to celebrate John Barry’s life.

Prima Vocal Ensemble, led by musical director Ewa Salecka and pianist Greg Birch, is dedicating part of its summer concert at the Grand Opera House on June 22 to Barry’s music, with a James Bond-themed piece. John Barry’s York sister, June Lloyd-Jones, is hoping to be present.

Tickets from the Grand Opera House are priced from £7 to £10.50.

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