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Wickham Hall 24 Oct 63

Town Hall, West Wickham, UK on 24 October 1963

 

 

Unknown newspaper - 1963

WEST WICKHAM STRIKES BLOW FOR THE 'POPS'

By A.C.B.


A ROARING success, but a financial disaster. This is the verdict on what was undoubtedly West Wickham's liveliest evening for many years. Whatever it was, "Wickham Goes POP" struck a blow for "pop" music, which left teenage girls screaming and the sturdy walls of Wickham Hall shaking.

   It also struck a blow for the enterprising youngsters who took part in Wickham's first ever "pop" concert on Thursday last week. Many of them revealed a natural talent for entertaining which should take them some way along the treacherous, if rewarding, patch of show business.

   Cynics who sneer that the younger generation is apathetic and complacent should make a point of seeing Wickham Enterprises' next concert.

   Topping the bill were the Konrads, one of West Kent's leading guitar groups, led by drummer David Hadfield. Lavish scenery and costumes did not conceal the fact that the Konrads had nothing very startling to offer.

   But the girls loved them. Their enthusiasm was not in the least dampened by the fact the Konrads did not take the stage until 11.30 - 3 1/2 hours after the Trubeats had raised the curtain.

   The new "Mersey" sound dominated the show just as it dominates the hit parade. The groups who lagged behind this current rave sounded distinctly "old hat."

   One of the groups who were definitely with it were the Trubeats, led by 17-year-old Alan Chamberlain. They produced a really exciting sound and scored over less ambitious groups by experimenting with vocal combinations.

   The Aces, the youngest group taking part, were surprisingly good, and deserve a word of praise for tackling not only two well-known Shadows' numbers, but also for composing their own.

   Four Scouts from St. Francis', West Wickham, formed the Constrees, but Pip Blakemore was unfortunate in losing his Burnettes at the last moment. He managed to form a new group just a few days before the concert, and although they lacked polish, they were saved by a useful vocalist.

   Singing country and western numbers to her own guitar accompaniment, 16-year-old Christine Conway appeared more than a little nervous before an audience thirsting for the pulsating beat of the Psykons.

   One of the star local groups, they all but brought the hall crashing about their ears with their version of the "Sailor's Hornpipe."

   But they badly need a vocalist. They sound somewhat dated, although their lead guitarist, Robin Hill, and their drummer, John Whitfield, were the best among local amateurs in the show.

   Del and the Panthers, a polished swinging group, were blessed with an exciting vocalist in 19-year-old Derek Weatherley.

   The Rebounds immediately impressed the audience with their obvious professionalism. Surrounded by a forest of electronic equipment, the Rebounds were undoubtedly the highlight of the show. Their vocal numbers were tremendous, and the addition of an electronic organ to the group produced interesting effects.

   Vern Rogers, on the other hand, was disappointing. A "shouter" of the old "rock" school, he was unpopular with teenagers at the show.

   A favourite with Operatic Society audiences, Monica Titmuss was more than a little out of place in a "pop" concert. Her refined soprano voice so favoured in light opera, was barely audible. if she intends taking "pop" singing seriously she must develop a more robust style. Shelia Parsons accompanied her on the piano.

   "Wickham Goes Pop" was devised and produced by Mr. David Meyer. Compere was Brian Showell and interval music was provided by pianist Hilda Holt.