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Issue:- 12 January  2012

A nostalgic celebration of classic animated movie music comes to Manchester

BBC ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ finalist and West End star Helena Blackman is set to come to Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester on Friday, 10 February 2011, from 7.30pm, as part of her first ever UK solo tour entitled Journey to the Past, a celebration of music from the wonderful world of classic animated movies.  The 3 month long tour begins in London and will also visit cities and towns including Birmingham, Stoke on Trent, Cardiff, Halifax, Bath and Helena’s home town of Southampton. Since Disney’s first full length animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarves graced cinema screens in 1937, animated films have touched the hearts and lives of billions of people the world over. From the captivating 1950s portrayals of classic fairy tales such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to the reawakening of the ancient Chinese poem Mulan and the romanticised retelling of the lost Romanov Princess Anastasia during the late 1990s, animated films have continued to enthral audiences old and new through their dream like imagery and use of some of the most famous and magical songs in the history of film. During the 1990s alone, 6 Academy Awards for ‘Best Original Song’ were awarded to animated films including Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast and Tarzan to name but a few. Audiences are in for a treat as they hear songs written by some of the most famous songwriters of the stage and screen including Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, most famous for their collaborations on Disney classics including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, Tim Rice and Stephen Schwartz, who has since gone on to write the lyrics for theatrical favourite, Wicked.  Helena will take her audience on a nostalgic ride through a wealth of timeless songs, including moving renditions of Disney Classics; ‘Part of Your World’ (The Little Mermaid), ‘Colours of the Wind’ (Pocahontas), ‘A Whole New World’ (Aladdin); songs from Disney’s latest animated fairytale Tangled and the Oscar Winning Beauty & the Beast; and songs from An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Thumbelina and the show’s title song ‘Journey to the Past’ from Anastasia; as well as many, many more. The intimate performance, with Helena just inches from her audience, is sure to have most reliving the soundtrack of their youth, whilst allowing younger generations to discover these enchanting musical numbers for the very first time.  Helena Blackman first captured the nation’s attention and the unfailing support of Andrew Lloyd Webber on the BBC’s ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’. Since then, Helena has gone on to headline the acclaimed UK tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific and starred in the West End première of Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night. In 2011, Helena released her highly successful debut album ‘The Sound of Rodgers & Hammerstein’ before going on to perform the unforgettable songs which appear on the album at the prestigious Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall. She has also recently toured the UK as a guest artist with number one charting classical singer Jonathan Ansell.   Helena said that:- "I’m truly delighted to do my first tour as a solo artist and sing songs that I have loved all my life that I know so many other people love, too. I have such fond memories of all of these films, and can’t wait to share those with everyone in Manchester."  More information and Full booking details for all venues on the tour can be found at:-   Helena Blackman: Journey to the Past is produced Speckulation Entertainment.  Tickets:- £15/ £12.50 concessions.

New lease of life for arson attack parish centre

A Liverpool community centre which was destroyed by fire has been reopened with an attractive new look thanks to Cassidy and Ashton building surveyors and architects.

The leading North West firm was appointed from the Archdiocese of Liverpool’s partnering framework to survey the damage at Our Lady Queen of Martyr Social Club, Croxteth, and design a new-look interior.  The fire was started on the roof of the building, on Stonebridge Lane, just before Easter 2011. An accelerant was used, resulting in substantial damage to the roof and throughout the interior. The centre was closed after the fire, meaning that parish and community had to find alternative accommodation, until it reopened shortly before Christmas.

Director of Cassidy and Ashton, Dave Owen, said:- "Our brief was to repair and restore the club to its original condition, while bringing a more modern look and feel. The finished project looks great and will be something that the community can be proud of for many years to come."

Club manager, Julie Gannon, said the new centre looked fantastic. "It is great to have the club back up and running and we have had lots of lovely comments from visitors about the modern new look."

Work on the 800sqm building took around 15 weeks to complete.

Man's body discovered at Southport Pier

ON Thursday, 5 January 2012, at around 10.30am, a passer-by on the Southport Coast Road spotted a body on the Pier and called the emergency service. The area surrounding the pier was cordoned off for a short time while the man's body was removed. The death is being treated as unexplained at this point and a post mortem will be held to establish the cause of death.

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