On Friday 11 October, York’s very own chart-topping soprano, Rebecca Newman, will return to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre for her first concert there since becoming a mum. Alongside her special guests, mezzo-soprano Danielle Thomas and Lucy’s Pop Choir Rebecca will use the opportunity to raise money and profile for the child mentoring charity, The Island.
As a former child mentor herself, and with increased determination to help children since becoming a parent, she hopes the evening will raise not just money but also promote awareness for the mentoring charity to encourage more adults to come forward and mentor a child. Rebecca says “I mentored a child in 2008 through The Island and would meet with my ‘mentee’ every week or two for a short activity that gave the child a chance to open up and chat to me if she wanted. The important thing was that it was a relaxed and positive experience and there was no pressure to talk about troubling subjects, or even to talk at all. It was about being available and having fun. Usually we would to go to the cinema or go for a hot chocolate. I would urge anyone with a little bit of spare time to give it a go.”
Child mentoring has proven benefits, as the charity’s website explains: “In terms of educational achievement, mentored children and young people have better school attendance, a better chance of going on to higher education, and better attitudes towards school. In terms of health and safety, mentoring appears to help prevent substance abuse and reduce some negative behaviours. On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships.”
Rebecca will be performing a number of operatic arias, musicals songs and popular classics including some brand-new pieces she has been working on since her singing took more of a backseat and being a mum took over. She says: “people are in for a few surprises with pieces they will never have heard me sing and, no doubt, some new stories they’ve never heard me tell!”
Joining Rebecca will be York based Lucy’s Pop Choir and Liverpool’s ‘Singer in Residence’, the mezzo-soprano Danielle Thomas. Lucy’s Pop Choir performed on the community stage at this year’s York Proms in the Museum Gardens and are already keen on supporting The Island with fundraising events planned in the run up to Christmas. The choir does not hold auditions and has an ethos that centres around having fun, singing pop songs and songs from the shows. It is even branching out into other areas around Yorkshire and beyond. For those who went to the first York Proms, they may remember Danielle Thomas when she sang with a heavily pregnant Rebecca Newman, who had taken a smaller role in the show than originally planned. Rebecca and Danielle have sung together before and will be singing popular soprano duets like The Flower Duet, by Delibes. Danielle made her national TV debut at the tender age of 11, when she sang on BBC’s Songs of Praise, and has since gone on to become a high-profile name in Liverpool, performing at countless civic events and supporting the armed forces.
Tickets are £16 for adults, £14 for concessions and £6 for children and are available at http://www.josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk or call 01904 501935. A bucket collection for The Island will take place on the evening.