Rich McMahon was a Birmingham-based Irish singer song writer and active supporter of SIFA Fireside, teaching guitar skills to our clients and helping them form a band. He also played at several events for us and always encouraged participation of our clients and volunteers. In April we met with Rich to plan a fundraising music event; Rich was really keen that the band, now known as The Firesiders, would have a ‘real’ gig in a music venue and perform alongside other musicians.
In May this year, we were all very shocked and saddened at Rich’s untimely death and the band in particular felt the loss of their mentor and friend. However, we all felt it was important to keep Rich’s legacy of music alive at the Drop In and with the support of Rich’s wife, Maggie, and his friend and fellow musician, Alex Vann, we went ahead with plans for a fundraising music night in honour of Rich.
These plans came to fruition and on Tuesday 22nd September we had a fantastic night of music at the Jam House supported by over 100 people. The line up featured the Firesiders: John, Chris, Lux, Rob, Steve, Darren and Pete who opened the night, (supported by local artists, Alex Vann, Lucy Blaxton, Andy Thomas and Martin Betts). This was followed by a set of Rich McMahon’s songs performed by his friends and fellow musicians: Alex Vann, Louise Kilbride, Andy Miles, Becky Pickin, John Napier and Andy Thomas; with follow on solo sets by Alex Vann and talented singer songwriter Dan Hartland. The night ended with a rousing set from instrumental band Whalebone, who had the audience up dancing to their fast and furious fiddle and guitars. The night was photographed by Paul Mitchell and videoed by Leigh Saunders.
We want to say a big thank you to all the above artists, to the Jam House and to Ben Drummond (promoter and sound engineer), and of course a huge thank you to all who came and made it such a fantastic night and helped us raise £1100! Finally a special thank you to Maggie Matthews for her great support for the night; and to Alex Vann for his work with the Firesiders and directing the event, along with Louise Kilbride. We hope this is the first of many fundraising music nights, as we try to keep alive Rich’s legacy of engaging our clients in music.
Following on from this, a BIG THANK YOU also to the Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone Folk Clubs who came together on 30th September for their own tribute to Rich McMahon and kindly raised £242 for SIFA Fireside.
If you would like to make a donation in Rich’s memory please visit :www.justgiving.com/Maggie-Matthews