Sometime near the beginning of 2006 some of us had a crazy idea of putting on a wupadupa gig with singer songwriters, or other performers, accompanied by a string orchestra. We mulled the idea around for a short while, contemplating whether our efforts would be better served trying to put together a successful bid to host the Olympics on the moon, then decided that was even sillier so went ahead and booked a lovely big church to do the gig in.
We didn't have an orchestra at the time, so we phoned around some string players we knew, and others that we didn't know at all and somehow managed to get around 30 musicians willing to give up a Saturday afternoon and evening in May to play string arrangements of songs they'd never heard before as an accompaniment to various wupadupa artists playing, singing or reciting poetry. The whole event was put on as a charity fundraiser. The first being for Friends of the Earth and the last two for Amnesty International.
May 13th: the day came and everything just somehow came together. Visually the already beautiful Kingston Parish Church was transformed by some fantastic lighting courtesy of Mark Hellewell, a mini art exhibition displaying some art by local artists was setup in the corner of the church, all the arrangements sounded lovely in the rehearsal and the whole day was filled with the sense of something rather wonderful happening.
The gig was a huge success - the church was packed, the songs and performances were both magical and inspiring and we raised around £700 for Friends of the earth.
We repeated the gig with a slightly different set of songs later that year at the annual Kingston Amnesty Freedom Festival, with much the same effect as the first, this time raising almost £1000 for Amnesty International. The third string thing (again for amnesty) also included storytelling and film (the orchestra sounded better than ever too!). This time it raised around £1300.
A huge thank-you to all the Musicians, Artists and Volunteers who gave their time, talent and patience to such a beautiful event.
If you weren't there, or were and would like to be reminded of some of the magic that happened during the first 2 events then the above short film, put together by Matt Kelly should hopefully suffice until the next wupadupa string thing gig. (Film of third string thing coming soon!)