Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Musicians could take over old bowls club room at hall

A ROOM at Peppard War Memorial Hall could be used for budding musicians to rehearse.

Morag McLoughlin, of Shiplake Bottom, Peppard, wants to take over the former club room used by Peppard Bowls Club until it folded last year.

She has organised Peppard Unplugged, a monthly music night at the hall in Gallowstree Road, since 2014.

It was started to help raise money for a new roof for the hall, which was installed last summer and cost £60,000.

The events are still being held and are now raising money towards maintenance of the building.

Mrs McLoughlin, a retired teacher, says she wants more young people to benefit from the hall.

She said: “We are hoping to use the club room at the back of the hall in the evenings from Monday to Friday.

“It would be used as a music room for lessons and as a practice room. We need a place for youngsters to be able to go to learn the guitar or drums.

“I’ve shown the room to some of the acts to see what they thought and they think it’s a wonderful facility.”

Up to 12 performers take part in the Peppard Unplugged nights with each act given a 15-minute slot.

Some performers come from as far as the South Coast, Oxford and High Wycombe.

Mrs McLoughlin said: “Performers get a chance to try out new material, whether it be singers or bands. We have even had harpists perform.

“It is open to everyone and their music. Folk musicians have been very supportive. Some bands just want space to practise.” The club room has been vacant since the bowls club closed in January last year after no one could be found to run it.

The hall trustees are currently trying to replace the £923 annual rent they received from the bowls club. 

 Clive Mills, chairman of the trustees, said: “Peppard Unplugged has been quietly going along for three years now and it’s had some tremendous musicians perform.

“I was approached by Morag and two gents who perform there with the idea of using the club room for teaching music and practising.

“Being a musician myself, I have always wanted to develop music as an activity for the hall, so I am delighted this is something that could happen.

“I have a second meeting with the guys from Peppard Unplugged this weekend and we will see how it goes. I’m hoping it’s going to work.

“Morag needs all the praise she can get for being a stalwart and organising it. She does all the work and hopefully this idea will take off.”

Mrs McLoughlin said she hoped to organise a summer music festival. This would use the club room as well as the rest of the hall and gardens.

She said this could be part of The Great Get Together in June, a national event  being organised by the family and friends of murdered MP Jo Cox  to coincide with the anniversary of her death.

Mrs McLoughlin said: “People have said they would be open to the idea of a kind of musical open day.

“It’s the kind of thing that could attract all age groups. Events are what we need, especially in rural communities.”

l The next Peppard Unplugged will take place tomorrow (Saturday) from 7.30pm. Entry is £6 for adults and £3 for children. Performers pay half price.

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