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Snelston neighbours band together for charity gig

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: September 03, 2014

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A MUSIC teacher who has played alongside the likes of Il Divo and Blondie is set to lead neighbours into a concert this weekend after weeks of practice.

Sophie Freeman, who has lived in Snelston for only half a year, has organised a concert at Snelston Reading Rooms on Sunday at 6pm.

The saxophonist said: "The concert will give people a platform to perform in a friendly atmosphere, and raise a bit of money for charity at the same time.

"We will be playing all kinds of music from classical to jazz to contemporary pop."

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Sophie previously played alongside big names such as Il Divo, Scissor Sisters and Blondie at the Lovebox festival, while on tour with Mark Almond from Soft Cell.

She will bew starting a tour later this month with her fiancé, Tony Young, who is in the current line-up for the famous 1960s band, Gerry and the Pacemakers, as pianist and guitarist.

Gerry and the Pacemakers will be visiting Buxton Opera House in November as part of a UK tour alongside The Searchers and PJ Proby.

Sophie and Tony have managed to persuade some of their neighbours to join in the performance and they have all been practising together in the run-up to the show.

Sophie said: "I found out that many of them were secret musicians, or harbouring ideas for many years about playing a certain instrument.

"It's amazing how everyone just seems to come out of the woodwork."

One neighbour, David Ashington, 62, has been enjoying his rekindled passion for the saxophone, digging his own one out of the shed after more than 10 years of lying dormant.

He said: "I loved the saxophone and playing it was at the top of my bucket list, but I couldn't get a note out of it – I even thought it was broken – so I put it down and forgot about it.

"As soon as Sophie moved in she'd come down and after 10 minutes with her I could play a few notes, I couldn't believe it."

According to Sophie, the village's reading rooms was ideal for keeping the concert within Snelston.

She said: "I had been told by locals that the lovely reading rooms did not get much use, so I wanted to use and support the local facilities."

Entry to the concert will be free and there will be homemade refreshments and a stall selling loom band bracelets made by a local school pupil to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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