Heidi Trautmann

275 - The Magic of the Musicals with the Kismet Singers at the Bellapais Abbey

One for all, all for One


By Heidi Trautmann


On the evening of September 22 the concert hall was bursting with people which sets a record, I would say from my experience, in Bellapais. They have come to spend their respect to Francine Ash, the musical director, and the 25 members of the Kismet Singers, a choir which has formed from faithful members of the old Lambousa Choir and some newly recruited ones.

Claire Morley, well known as former action lady at Cyprus Today, who had taken care of publicity during the Girne Festival, came forward to greet the audience, gave us details of the choir, about the Cheshire Home in Girne which will receive the income of the concert, a good figure of over TL 6000, she said proudly, and she did not forget to mention where the toilets were to be found in the 20 minutes break.

The members of the choir marched in, the ladies clad in elegant evening gowns. Francine Ash lifted her hands, from the fingertips of which you could see the fine threads which connected her to all members and they all set in with the first song of their beautifully arranged programme. The Magic of Musicals such as Oliver, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate and Andrew Lloyd Webber in the first act with most famous songs, for example the Phantom of the Opera - it made my skin tingle -  and when I turned around I could see the audience moving their lips to the tunes of their young days.

Medleys of musicals, flowing from one into the next, which takes great musical instinctive feeling to arrange, with soloists stepping forward who did their parts from the depth of their heart.  We must not forget that they are amateurs but at a very high level and the past experience as members of more than one musical at Lambousa Theatre was the basis of their presentation. They believed in what they were doing, in the songs they sang. For nearly one year the choir was regularly meeting for the rehearsals of this programme we have come to enjoy. The frantic applause from the audience was well earned.

As I heard from Francine and Grahame during the break, they did not have the chance to practice in the abbey more often and the acoustic is a very difficult one; the singers had to keep their distance from the mikes to not overdraw the sound;  through the windows we all had seen the approaching thunderstorm with lightning over the sea and many fingers were crossed to hope for the best that it would not cause a power cut which would have left us in the dark and without a piano, as Francine had to use her own electric piano in front of the stage to direct the choir. But I am sure that even in the worst of cases, the choir would have stood its position, as the show must go on, always.

In the second part we got to hear some more medleys and selections from famous musicals and Broadway shows, Promises, Promises with music by B.Bacharach, Moulin Rouge, Les Miserables and many other famous musical ear worms. I would like to mention here, that I found it very thoughtful to see included in the programme booklet the background stories of the music pieces presented.

The Kismet Singers have won our hearts!

It was a most enjoyable evening, and, in case you were unable to get a ticket, you should not miss the repetition concert on October 21 – same place, same time, same price of TL 25. Booking reservations for the events can be made at Molly’s on a Wednesday or Carpenter’s Market on a Friday between 11.00 and 1.00,  or by phoning Grahame Ash on 0533 843 3554.


Musical Director

Francine Ash

The Band

Keyboard Francine Ash

Drums /Percussion Chris Clayton

Performing Members

Sandy Askun, Grahame Ash; Denise Bailey, Edward Barrett, Roger Bradley, Ron Brown, Linda Burton, Ian Chennell, Pat Creasy, Eileen Kipling, Jane Griffiths, Amanda Harding, Jessica Harding, Chris Heath, Anthony McCartney, David Miller, Annie Mockridge,  Sandy Pace, Jan Parkinson, Jilly Regan, Alex Taylor & Val Wilce.

Theatre Support

Publicity Manager for Girne Festival 11 Claire Morley

Lighting and Sound Hal Crompton; Choreography Cath Crompton

and Front of the House Cath Crompton, Edwina Clayton, John Mockridge and Neil Regan







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