Back in May we held The BBS MIX – a concert of mixed genres and abilities. Proceeds support a bursary at the Royal Academy of Music and in particular people who have invisible disabilities, something we wrote about recently. In its 4th year the 2018 version was no exception, having supported Fiona Joice who is a soprano with dyslexia and dyspraxia, this year we raised funds for Stephanie Wake-Edwards, Contralto, who suffers from epilepsy, as she says…
“…this kind of award is extremely important for students like myself living with an invisible disability. I take strong medication that can make me lethargic, temperamental and cloudy. Despite this, I refuse to let my disability control the thing that is ….terrifying and exciting to me….becoming a singer………When I am singing there is nothing wrong with me. I choose instead to see my disability as an exceptionally vivid colour on the canvas of my artistry, and would like to dispel the stigma and mythology that come with the epileptic label.”
This encompasses the philosophy of both Blue Badge Style and BBS MIX. Our audiences are always appreciative and generous, every year we raise money from the food, tickets and of course drink/champagne. This year and we raised nearly £1000 thanks to some amazing talent who performed and were in the audience:
A Stand in (someone let us down the day before! Eek!) and stand out performance, came from Rupert Gillett. Great cellist with a comical side and songs that were instantly playing in your head. You can hear them on this link but our favourite was Pre-Madonna Ballerina.
Christina Bloom actor/singer/composer/guitarist, also delighted with her voice and songs of love and desperation. This was her second appearance at BBS Mix having wowed at our 2017 concert. There was a song about vampires that was beautifully delivered. You can hear her music on ITunes.
The concert was held at Charlie Allen Bespoke in Islington, the acts performed amidst a working menswear designer showroom. Dress suits, bowler hats and pattern cutters like Mr. Moto were scattered amongst the audience and created added interest.
Our favourite soprano, Maud Millar, who’s given her time at every BBS MIX, this year performed some old favourites from La Boheme along with some beautiful songs about love and loss. Her voice silenced the then rowdier audience, (too much champers), it was both powerful and emotional.
Fran and Flora were also a big hit as they played a genre of music we hadn’t featured before – Eastern European Roma and Klezmer music. Played on Violin and cello their sound was somehow familiar and rhythmic but like nothing we’d heard before. They were an instant hit as their energy and dance rhythms excited the audience to joyous applause.
Mark Pampel a deaf blind pianist, played classics in the intervals, he’s been a favourite at BBS MIX every year and this time he was persuaded to play his own composition which was dramatic and amazing.
The concert was the culmination of our May Fair 2018, that showcased the inclusive products we’ve curated in the ADDITION Collection pop-up shop. They included colourful and ergonomically comfortable sticks from Indesmed, easy to wear Jewellery from Wright & Teague and vintage sunglasses from Peep Eyewear. We of course had plenty of DRINK on show – the universal glass holder, the result of our first foray into producing stylish and useful accessories for people with their hands full!
But back to the glittering audience, Mik Scarlet entertained as he introduced the acts, Oliver Lam-Watson the disabled YouTube guy (you should look at his work it’s very entertaining) & GB Fencer, found DRINK attached to his stick, Samanta Bullock, model & paralympian loved the jewellery from Wright & Teague and couldn’t resist the vintage Peep sunglasses. Pol Roger again supplied champagne and the lovely actress and campaigner, Samantha Renke, dazzled with her sparkling wit and wheelchair. A wonderful night and although we always say never again as it takes nerves of steel to organise…….these pictures and the sentiment from Stephanie Wake-Edwards means we will be supporting the talent of musicians with invisible disabilities in 2019 and beyond.