Old school friends reunite for Ashington high school concert

Members of Hirst High School youth concert band entertain crowds at reunion concert

Former members of the Hirst High School youth concert band came from around the globe for a reunion concert
Former members of the Hirst High School youth concert band came from around the globe for a reunion concert

Three decades have gone by, but this orchestra still didn’t miss a note as they entertained crowds at a reunion concert.

Former members of Hirst High School youth concert band came from across the globe to pick up their instruments together for the first time in more than 30 years.

After last playing together as teenagers at the now-closed school in the 1980s, the reunion at St John’s Church in Ashington, Northumberland, sparked huge interest among former pupils.

The concert was organised by 43-year-old Chris Ord, a horn player in the band, who started the ball rolling after posting an old picture of the band on Facebook.

Chris said he had been overwhelmed by the response to his idea.

“We sold over 200 tickets and the church was packed,” said Chris, a father-of-four who now lives in Monkseaton, North Tyneside.

“It has been brilliant the amount of support, there has been quite a buzz in the community, and friends and family.”

The idea for the concert started a year ago, when Chris put a picture of the band with their trophies at the Wansbeck Festival in the 1980s on Facebook and people started talking.

From that point, former band members came forward saying they wanted to be involved in the reunion.

The school friends then recruited their music teacher Paul Slaughter and the plans went from there.

On Friday night, the band took the audience of more than 200 back in time as they played some of their old favourites.

They were made up of 42 players with a choir of 12, plus a number of soloists.

Members came from as far away as New Zealand and Moscow to take part in the concert, which was raising money for the “To Africa with Love” charity, which supports destitute children in the village of Nakuru, Kenya.

And the night kicked off with a medley from Jesus Christ Superstar.

“It’s our signature tune from back in the day,” said Chris, who works for Gateshead Council.

“We also had Derek Page, who was in the first sixth form and is now a minister at the second largest Baptist church sing three solos.

“He sang Little Town, This Little Child and a song Paul our director wrote called When He First Came.

“There was also a Henry Mancini medley with Pink Panther and a Les Miserables medley and Christmas medley.”

He said everyone had enjoyed the reunion. “It has been great to be reunited, it is people you have not seen in 30 years,” said Chris.

“Rehearsals have been quite intense this week getting everyone together from all over but it is great.

“We didn’t think we would get the numbers we did, it has been overwhelming really.”

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