Cuckfield concert will help vital work in Ghana

Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben – composed in his prolific Year of Song (1840) – is the centrepiece song cycle in mezzo soprano Jane Haughton’s recital with Howard Beach (piano) at Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield at 7pm on Saturday, April 23.

School starters at a rural Bawku primary school with new uniforms and stationery
School starters at a rural Bawku primary school with new uniforms and stationery

The concert will be raising funds for Sussex-based international charity Lovey Foundation (UK), which equips children of subsistence farmers in Upper East Ghana to go into school instead of child labouring.

Spokesman John Melvyn Walmsley said: “The programme’s theme of Women’s Lives and Loves ranges from musical theatre to modern classical song. Whether your favourite songs are by Rodgers and Hart and Jerome Kern, crossover works by Gershwin and Satie or classics by Barber, Chaminade or Poulenc, there will be plenty of transatlantic fare to entrance your ears. There’s also a unique musical bonus: a video of the specially composed Lovey Foundation Song, sung by children helped by the charity into life-changing education in rural Bawku.

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“Jane is well known in Mid Sussex as a teacher and music director of three community choirs.

“Following six years in the chorus at Covent Garden and international touring with Garden Opera, Jane, as vocal animateur, has been running workshops at venues including the ROH, Welsh National Opera, and Glyndebourne (and a project there, Raise Your Voice, for people living with dementia).

“Like Jane, Howard is an accomplished international musical all-rounder: teacher, repetiteur, accompanist, concerto soloist.”

Admission is free. All donations most welcome.

Melvyn added: “The photo has (above) been sent by our charity’s partner organisation (slightly longer established than ours, in 2013), Lovey Child Workers Foundation in Bawku Municipal District, Upper East Ghana.

“The children, sons and daughters of subsistence farmers have their sandals, school bags and personal stationery including exercise books shipped from here; we are able to source the ‘tea and bread’ unisex uniform materials in Ghana, and the uniforms you see them wearing are sewn by local tailors. 312 children so far have been supported by our charity’s partnership with what we call for short Lovey (Ghana) into schools, who would otherwise be child labourers.

“The drop-out rate since 2013 has been nil, and many are progressing through secondary education; the first was a girl.

“The name Lovey (pronounced Low-vay, rhyming with ‘No way, José’) means “kind person” in Ghanaian; it’s the affectionate nickname of the man who set up the Ghanaian community based organisation, Aruk Thomas Lateef. He himself had to wait until his mid-teens to start school, and our international project was very much his idea and that of others in Bawku District, which is the size of Mid Sussex but with a markedly different economic and social profile.

“We believe that Thomas has written the song, and we know he has filmed the video of charity-supported children singing it, just for this Cuckfield concert, with a greeting at the end to the audience.

“After the concert, we shall be selling copies of a little book Thomas wrote three years ago, The Quarry Girl, telling the true story of a young girl who worked in a stone quarry in Bawku Municipal District but who now who has now gone on to secondary education; in fact of those 312 supported children in the District, we are pleased that more girls than boys have been assisted in this life-changing way.

“Much more about all this on the website that the partnership shares: www.loveyfoundation.org.”

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