"It was at our last Christmas show where I spoke about community, about our place as a chorus in the Brighton & Hove community, the LGBT+ chorus movement, and our Actually family just here. At this point I would like to acknowledge the support that Brighton Gay Men's Chorus has given to us recently, and for those members of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus here tonight, thank you very much.
So at Christmas, I said that it is the music that brings us together, but it is the people that keep us here! And I can tell you that I am endlessly proud of our little family here, out little community, but I have never been prouder than I have been today. You see, at Christmas, there were two more Actuallies singing on the stage with us than there are today:
You'll see from your programme that we lost one of our 2nd Tenors, Roy Perkins, back in February, after a brief period of illness. Roy was a long standing member of our Chorus, including spending time as a director. We had the sad honour of singing at Roy's funeral, giving him a rousing send-off with The Man of La Mancha, which is coming up after our next song. and again we dedicate this to Roy.
More recently, so only Thursday in fact, another member of our family was unexpectedly taken from us, and that was Richard Tredgett. Richard was a 1st Tenor with me, we started about the same time, we're about the same age... and that's where the comparison ends because Richard actually knew the words! He was a dedicated member and the reason he knew the words, I understand, was that the last thing he'd do before going to bed each night was to listen to our rehearsal tracks, so he was genuinely the first person in our section to know the words - as was his fiancé,Joe, who also had to listen to our rehearsal tracks. Joe probably knows our shows better than most of us!
Joe, I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now, but please know that you are loved by all of us here.
So, less than 48 hours ago, Mark broke the news to the Chorus at their tech rehearsal, so we had to decide what to do. And I know that Richard had been intending to perform with us, that he had been rehearsing, and he was going to be here tonight singing with us. We decided that the best thing we could do to honour him was to continue with the performances and do our best to smash it - I hope we are doing you proud Richard. His passing does leave a void in our Chorus, in our community, our family, he is still here in our hearts so we would like to dedicate the next song, One Moment In Time, to our friend, Richard Tredgett."
Alan Baser, Chairman of Actually Community Interest Company, speaking at Showstoppers performance.
My dearest Actually family,
To say that I’m shocked to my core is an understatement!
Richard was a beautiful man, both inside & out.
I remember his reaction when Jason gave him his first solo - terror & delight in equal measure! But he did it & came back for more! He really did ‘shine bright like a diamond’.
Life is so precious, my loves, enjoy every moment & make each moment count.
I can’t imagine how you are all going to get through the concerts, but you will, I’m sure, do yourselves & Richard proud.
All my love to each & every one of you.
Samantha Howard, Patron, Actually Gay Men’s Chorus