Get ready to rock one last time with the stars of Norfolk’s Golden Years
- Credit: Angela Sharpe
The original Norfolk rockers are getting together for the very last time to let the good times roll again and help the next generation of musicians.
The stars of the Evening News Golden Years had 'retired' after re-forming 20 years ago and raising more than £125,000 for charities and good causes across Norwich and Norfolk at annual dances and concerts which attracted thousands of people.
But when they heard about the work of Sistema in Norwich they decided to strap on their guitars, plug in their keyboards, reach for the drum sticks and microphones... for the final 'One Last Gasp' gig and it will be held at the place where many started their musical careers in the 1950s – The Talk in Oak Street.
Sistema, chosen by Lord Mayor Brenda Arthur and Sheriff Beryl Blower, as the civic charity for 2015/16, is transforming the lives of young people by introducing them to the magic of music and teaching them to play an instrument, something which can really change young lives.
A number of Norwich schools have now joined Sistema. This gives the children the chance to learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an orchestra with a mixture of instrumental lessons in school time and after school orchestral rehearsal.
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'This is such a good thing. Music – from classical to rock and pop – is a magical thing giving such pleasure to others. Teaching children to play an instrument and be part of an orchestra is so worthwhile,' said Terry Wickham, who organised the first Golden Years reunion gig at The Talk in 1996 and went on to run them until 2012.
That 1996 get-together was supposed to be a one-off revival night but, with more bands coming forward, the concerts turned into annual events at the bigger UEA with help and support from the late, great Nick Rayns who loved the concerts and did all he could to support them.
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A dozen bands played at the first concert almost 20 years ago raising several thousand pounds which was shared between the Care for Clare Appeal at Clare School, Priscilla Bacon Lodge and Hospital Radio Norwich. It was the start of an extraordinary musical rollercoaster ride. Most of the big local groups from the 1950s, 60s and 70s re-formed to play again.... and brought the house down.
Among those who took part in the gigs was the late Tony Sheridan, the Thorpe boy who taught The Beatles how to rock'n'roll in Germany, and our very own chart-busters Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers.
Praise for the idea also came from former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, and Neil Innes, a former Norwich Art School student, who became a brilliant musician and entertainer with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and The Rutles. 'Just look at everyone having a good time - wonderful,' said Neil when he turned up to make a special presentation to ex-Zodiac Terry Wickham.
Others who loved the idea of the Golden Years included the original skiffle kid Tommy Steele and guitar wizard Joe Brown who said: 'What a great idea – and helping charities at the same time.'
Now the rockers are back for one last time. The Last Gasp will be taking place at The Talk on Saturday April 16 next year. Watch this space for news of who will be taking to the stage again.
The night will be dedicated to great Norfolk musicians we have lost in recent years, such as the likes of Larry Pye, Alan Caalf, Malcolm Hooper, Micky Woodcock and Tony Dee. Their memory and music lives on...