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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Musical Milford

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Milford on Sea is not only a great place to live, visit and eat, but is also the home to a plethora of talented people.

Behind the scenes, the village has quite an amazing number of musicians, artists and authors.

One is a local band named Allegro, a Female Contemporary Trio. Jo Vezey formed Allegro in 2008 when she couldn't find a local group who performed her type of music, so she set about forming her own!

Allegro are a contemporary trio who enjoy performing both together and as soloists, singing all types of music from Chicago to Eva Cassidy, from Adele to Paloma Faith.

Jo says: "For as long as I can remember, I have always loved music and grew up listening to my Dad strumming his guitar and singing 'Puff the magic dragon', (Ed: They don't sing this one any more!) 'Mull of Kintyre' & 'Yesterday'. This is where my love of music began."

The group started through an advert in the Lymington Times, from which Jo met Joy & Pam who immediately committed to regular rehearsals. From those somewhat erratic meetings, 'Allegro' was formed.

Agreeing a suitable name for the group was their first challenge. They all put several suggestions into the pot, and because they particularly wanted something related to music, they chose 'Allegro' - which is a musical term for cheerful or brisk, & also a term that most definitely applies to the girls at times!

Sadly, shortly after 'Allegro' formed, Jo's Mum, Anne, who had been in remission from skin cancer, became ill again, and she passed away on the 21st August 2009. 

Anne became the focus and inspiration for 'Allegro's' first charity concert, 'Seasons of Love', in her memory. 'Seasons of Love', was a huge success & something Jo is immensely proud of.

At the time, Jo was a member of Milford on Sea's Total Voice Choir & she asked choir leader, Christine Mulgrew, if the choir would like to support Allegro at the brand new Community Centre in the village centre. The collaboration worked brilliantly, and they raised almost £3,000 on that very special evening.

Since then 'Allegro' haven't looked back, and they have raised close to £5,500 for their favourite local charities; Oakhaven Hospice, the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton Hospital & Wave 105's Cash 4 Kids appeal.

Jo originally moved to Milford on Sea with her Mum, Anne Metcalf, her Dad, Keith Metcalf, & two younger brothers just before she turned 16. Jo say; "I think I sulked for several weeks after leaving all of my friends behind!"

Anne worked at Milford Medical Centre in Milford for around 20 years & was well known to many in her role as Practice Manager. Not only could she pronounce all sorts of seemingly impossible medical words, but she could also spell them! Keith is Parish Clerk in Milford on Sea & has many other hobbies outside of work that keep him extremely busy. Not least, the Milford Conservation Volunteers.

Jo said: "When we first moved to Milford, he and my Mum ran one of the youth Lymington Sprite teams & would often fine the boys for not tucking in their shirts! I'm sure it stood them in good stead for the real world!"

Jo initially trained as a Dental Nurse, a job she really loved & returned to briefly after she had her children. After meeting her husband, she made a career move to Imports/Exports & she is still happily commuting to Southampton each day. (Except on the days when the traffic is appalling & Jo is feeling a little grumpy!). Jo and her family moved to Hordle in 2000, when her daughter, Emily, was barely a year old. As her family continued to grow, so did her house and the long term extension project is nearly completed!

Because Jo has a full time job in Southampton, Joy, who travels to rehearsals in Hordle from the other side of Southampton each week, acts as 'Allegro's' Admin Assistant. Joy is the bands right hand and provides a huge amount of support in organising events & dealing with all sorts of communications. Even more importantly than this, Joy has always loved singing musical theatre and pop songs, and she is viewed as a talented vocalist. Allegro has provided Joy with a great platform to experience the buzz of performing and to share her vocal talent.

Pam has always been involved with local bands and musical theatre, and in the 70's toured the UK, Europe and the USA as a session singer. Her experience gives 'Allegro' a unique flavour, as well as her very honest opinion!

The musical talent continues in Jo's family, and 14 year old daughter, Emily has a wonderful talent for singing. This would be confirmed by anyone who heard her sing at The Milford's Got Talent Night at the Marine. Emily made her debut performance at 'Seasons of Love'. As well as singing 'Castle on a Cloud' from Les Miserables beautifully, she sang the duet 'For Good' with Jo in tribute to Anne.

The group goes from strength to strength & as Jo says: 'It is a great hobby to have!'

You can catch Allegro performing live at The Marine on Saturday 15th June:
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The Marine:
Milford Conservation Volunteers:

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