Magical Katherine Jenkins
by Lisa De Silva
Returning to sing at Proms in the Park, Haywards Heath for her seventh It’s Magic performance, it seems that Katherine Jenkins has been bewitched by the event and the town. Lisa de Silva found out more about this singing sensation.
Since signing the biggest recording deal in classical music history at the tender age of 23 years old, Katherine’s career has gone from strength to strength. Today, she is officially the world’s most successful artist in Classical music chart history, an accolade awarded after her album, Celebration became her 12th Classical number one album in 12 years. It is an amazing achievement for the former choirgirl from Neath in South Wales.
It was back in 2005, that the mezzo- soprano first came to the attention of local businessman and founder of the It’s Magic charity, Tim French MBE. Having seen Katherine perform on television, he called her agent and booked her to perform at the It’s Magic summer charity concert and she has returned on a regular basis ever since. “Haywards Heath is fast becoming my second home!” she laughs. “I’m not sure I’ve returned to a venue anywhere else like this.”
But what is the magical pull that keeps her coming back? “I do so because the audience has always been so fabulous and fun! I genuinely can’t wait for July 14th,” Katherine exclaims.
This is the 25th anniversary of the summer charity concert and to celebrate in style, this year the It’s Magic Music Festival will be a five-day live music extravaganza to benefit three local charities: Woodlands Meed School in Burgess Hill; Kangaroos Fun Disability Clubs and Sussex Autism Support. The event takes place in Victoria Park, Haywards Heath from the 10th to 14th July, kicking off with a free concert on the Tuesday night, which includes a Girlguiding Sing Along, Sussex Harmonisers and local funk and blues band, Unprovoked.
Over the following four nights audiences will be treated to a range of acts including Elvis on My Mind; The Bohemians, a Queen tribute act; The Story of Neil Diamond and Motown Classics from former Drifters vocalist, Roy G Hemmings. Katherine headlines Proms in the Park on the last night, Saturday 14th July, when she will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as presenting special guests, West-end actor and singer, John Owen-Jones and the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. Having recently become a mum for the second time, Tim is delighted that Katherine continues to support the It’s Magic’s summer event, “She has a one-of-a-kind talent and we’re grateful that she is lending her support to these three worthy charities,” he tells me.