Saturday, 13 August 2022

Composer wants to save his music for future generations

A FOUNDER of the Henley Youth Festival has launched an appeal to have some of his

A FOUNDER of the Henley Youth Festival has launched an appeal to have some of his musicals professionally scored and printed.

Alfie Hay will be remembered by thousands of people who as children took part in some of his works, including Orpheus, Tales of the Chilterns, Give us Space and Zircus as well as Jewel of the River, which was performed by 800 youngsters on the banks of the Thames in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium.

One of his pieces, The Henley Seasons, will performed by the Henley Youth Choir at this year’s Henley Festival.

Now the retired headteacher wants to have his musicals permanently recorded so they will be accessible to future generations.

Mr Hay 71, who lives in Bix, said: “My music isn’t written down properly — some of it is in my head and some of it is half written down.

“It would be lovely to be able to give it to primary schools and hopefully get it recorded so they do it themselves and then I can come and just sit in the audience.”

He needs to raise £5,700 to get his 13 best works scored and printed and has launched an appeal on the online funding platform Kickstarter with the help of his youngest daughter, Bethan Adelekan, 34, from Brighton.

All the money raised will go towards paying a professional arranger to score each musical and then printing copies.

Any money pledged above the target will go towards making high-quality recordings for use by schools.

Mrs Adelekan said: “I want my dad’s music to live on past both of us. I’ve got a one-year-old son, Ravi, and I’d like him to be able to perform the musicals at school.” Mr Hay is a self-taught musician who, as a teenager, was inspired by Lionel Bart who claimed that he had used a toy piano to write Oliver! as he was “musically illiterate”.

He went on to write musicals that were performed in schools throughout Oxfordshire and Berkshire as well as at the Kenton Theatre in Henley and the Hexagon in Reading.

He taught his songs to the pupils and teachers personally and played the piano by ear.

Some audio and video recordings were made of the performances but these were never completed or of a professional standard. In 1993 Mr Hay was headteacher of Trinity Primary School in Henley when he helped organise a festival of the arts involving local primary schools and Gillotts School.

Later the same year, representatives of schools, clubs and other organisations held a meeting where they decided to hold an annual youth festival, starting the following spring.

Mr Hay left Trinity in 2001 after 21 years and then worked as an education advisor in Reading for eight years before retiring.

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