Stanley one day…. Broadway the next….
On the afternoon of Sunday 19th February, our town dared to ask a rather large question… has Stanley Got Talent?
And to find out, locals from as nearby as almost-next-door and as far away as just-down-the-winding-track (and a bit beyond!) clamoured for tickets on what proved to be a not-even-standing-room-only day in the intimate setting of our very own Stanley Soldiers Memorial Hall.
So how did all this begin?
A few months ago, Salomon Lane resident Mel Tompkins consulted a list he’d been secretly compiling and started making phone calls. “I have this idea,” he said. “I want to put on a concert, for Stanley people, by Stanley people. I want to showcase the fabulous creative talent that we have in our town. Do you want to be involved?” To which many shy and retiring local closet musicians replied “Ermmm…. me?…. talented?…. do you really think so?…. gosh! Well… ermmm… in that case… absolutely!”
And so, with a coaxing song here, and an encouraging tune there, he gathered around him a group of mild-mannered eccentrics now collectively known as The Stanley Music Makers.
The final product was a three-hour artistic extravaganza, packed with variety, good humour, warmth and generosity, featuring performers as young as the delightful Isabella Humphreys, and as old as her adoring dad Peter (possibly some were even older than that). And not only musicians, but local artists were celebrated too as their work adorned the walls and tables of the venue, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Mel’s irrepressibly effervescent partner, Terri Standfield.
One highlight was the fortuitous appearance of an international celebrity, right here in our little hamlet – none other than Dame Edna herself.
What strings Mel had to pull, what corporate sponsors he had to wine and dine, what numbers of gladioli he had to sacrifice in the spell-weaving cauldron of his creative fire, no-one is certain.
We only know she came, she blessed us with her wit and charm, and like a cork bursting from a bottle of cheap but tasty champagne, off she popped again, leaving us all giggling merrily in the wake of her diamante-studded vapour trail.
Finally, after all the singing, and all the playing, and all the laughing, Mel stood up on stage and dared to ask…. “So, has Stanley Got Talent?”
And came the answer, a resounding “YES!”