Five months ago the grandchildren of Gerald Long - James Long and Sophie and Chloe Stead together with the valuable help of Sophie’s boyfriend Leigh Coleman decided to organise a concert both to honour Gerald’s memory and to raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance who airlifted him to hospital following his September car accident.

Deciding just which pieces of music to include was a lengthy process initially involving discussions with local musician John Webb complemented by their own extensive knowledge of their grandad’s love of musical theatre. It was no surprise that the final playlist featured heavily the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin.

For the occasion, Yeadon Town Hall had been converted to a café layout and had attracted very close to a full house, unsurprising given Gerald’s active involvement in so many local groups

Key to the evening’s success was a group of experienced jazz musicians each given opportunities to showcase their individual talents throughout the evening – Joe Lee on bass, Alex Ridout – trumpet, Leigh Coleman – vocalist, having lately sung with and supported Joss Stone, Matt Carter – pianist and Tim Carter – guitarist and drummer, but displaying the latter skill on the night. Together the group launched the evening imaginatively on its way with individual applauded solos in an intricate instrumental version of Jerome Kern’s Yesterdays.

Leigh Coleman was lead vocalist throughout the evening linking the numbers as well as supplying biographical details of the composers and their prolific outputs and introducing his fellow artists Sophie and Chloe Stead and James Long. Described in the programme as a jazz and soul singer he adapted easily and mellifluously to singing a range of his favourite Songbook numbers beginning with It had to be you and Every time we say goodbye, to duetting with Sophie on The way you look tonight.

There was also the opportunity for James to deliver a comedic version of Rodgers and Hart’s To keep my love alive, introduced by Sophie with the reminiscence that Gerald and Geoff Hall had presented Brush up your Shakespeare on this very stage. Chloe then took centre stage confidently and melodiously with They can’t take that away from me, before joining Sophie in a show stopping rendition of Ivor Novello’s We’ll gather lilacs.

Andrew Long thanked all involved with the presentation of the show but particularly the musicians for making the long journey. He also praised the programme advertisers who had ensured that all income from ticket sales would be given to Yorkshire Air Ambulance taking the original £3200 donation past the figure of £6000. His final thanks went to an appreciative audience who had certainly received value for money from a memorable evening.

By Robert Mirfield.