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Curtains for the Saturday Morning Concert

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A FAMILY concert series dating back almost half a century will hold its final performance on March 23.

The Saturday Morning Family Concert has been a regular fixture at Fairfield Halls since its creation by Arthur Davison in 1966.

Arthur's son, Darrell, took the reins after his death in 1990 but is now ending the performances because of financial constraints.

Darrell said: "My father was given lessons by the great violinist Albert Sammons but when he came to pay, he couldn't afford it.

"But Sammons just waved his hand and said 'pass it on'. My father wanted to continue that."

"We still get good crowds but it is probably not as busy because children have become busier and busier on Saturdays, so it is no longer feasible."

Darrell, from Purley, is also conductor of the Croydon Symphony Orchestra and has taken his family concerts to places as far flung as Kuala Lumpur.

More than a third of a million children and adults have watched the concerts, which used to take place at least seven times a year.

Now they have been scaled back to three or four a year, although they are still popular.

"A woman sent me a letter to say she was shocked how her very active young boys were able to sit still for a couple of hours," Darrell said.

"We hope to have entertained many children like that over the years."

The final concert has a sci-fi theme and is titled "From Infinity To Beyond", featuring music from Star Wars, Dr Who, E.T. and Star Trek.

The end of Saturday mornings may be in sight, but Darrell believes the show will go on.

"We are looking at reviving the format for some Sunday afternoon performances and see how those fare," he said. "I will call this 'The End. Question mark.'"

Tickets are available at £7.50 (concessions at £6.50 for groups of 4 or more) from the Fairfield Box Office on 020 8688 9291, or online at www.fairfield.co.uk


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