St Albans Band Aid raises cash for charities

MUSICIANS went the extra mile to raise money for local cancer charities last weekend.

The Swanvesta Social Club kicked off the fourth annual St Albans Band Aid in St Peter’s Street, on Saturday, in aid of two hospices.

Describing themselves as “the UK’s number one inauthentic Anglo-Cuban band”, they played self-penned songs, traditional Cuban numbers and Latin-esque interpretations of contemporary chart music.

Highlights were Guantanamera, Ella Muchacha and a quirky Caribbean take on Jessie J’s Price Tag, before finishing with an amusing fabulous rendition of Spice Girls hit, Spice Up Your Life.

Other acts included 16-year-old Rosie O’Regan – who appeared in a live broadcast on BBC Three Counties breakfast show earlier that day, to promote the event, and perform her own heartfelt song, I’m Sorry.

Two members of talented emerging folk trio, Don’t Tell Johnny, are organiser Dene Rosewarn’s cousins and travelled from Wales to play a fantastic set, following their festival tours. A favourite, delivered beautifully by vocalist, Samantha Brown, was Patience of Angels, made famous by Eddi Reader.

Vince The Singing Barber, aka Elvis Shmelvis, delayed his trip to Sicily to celebrate his 50th birthday to perform his superb Rat Pack set. The Revivals, from Hatfield, brought their modern Brit-pop covers. And Laura Jeanne Smith (guitar/vocals) gave away CDs for donations, wowing the crowd with her version of Alicia Keys’ Falling.

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Guitar legend Pete Waters stepped in at the last minute to complete the line-up. His renditions of Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison) and The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon went down a storm.

Previously at the Clock Tower, St Albans Band Aid has drummed up �6,000 for cancer charities, since it began in 2009.

It was supported by Ladbrokes, which will add to the �1,241 raised on Saturday. Staff from the betting shop also collected in the street and helped count the total.

The money will be split between Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice, St Albans, and The Peace Hospice in Watford, where Dene’s late father received “wonderful” treatment last year.

Dene said: “I am pleased and grateful to the acts and public for giving generously and am looking to add a celebrity next year to help raise even more.”