There are a lot of special deals around at this time of year. Trading officers always give some basic advice, if it looks to good to be true, then it probably is. I suppose those types of thoughts were going around in my head when I got a call from Ian Parsons, a friend of mine who has been working with us on some special shows at The Hyst on Swansea High Street.
Over the past few months Ian has pulled off some pretty big coups for us at the Hyst. Mike Doyle regularly sells out the Grand Theatre Swansea and the New Theatre in Cardiff as well as venues right across the country. When Ian suggested we try to get Mike to do a small intimate show for 100, people at the Hyst I wished him the best of luck. Mike is a friend and although I don’t mind calling in favours I just thought he’d be too busy. What do you know, Mike said yes, we sold out and because he was having such a good time we found it hard to actually get him off the stage.
Then Ian suggested not one Phantoms but 2, for a show to be called ‘Mask to Mask’. Peter Karrie and Swansea born Mike Sterling have played some of the biggest roles in Musical Theatre right across the world. To get one would be great, to get 2 would be amazing. Again, they came and we Sold Out. Then he managed to persuade Ceri Dupree to perform at the Hyst and not wear a Dress. I should point out Ceri did wear a suit for his show but to persuade an artist to take risks in a small venue seems to be right up Ian’s street.
It was only a few weeks ago that Ian called me to say he’s been asked to help promote some shows at the Brangwyn Hall by a very talented Hungarian Pianist named Adam Gyorgy. Adam is now based in New York and has regularly played at Carnegie Hall (and I don’t mean the one in Skewen). How would I feel about trying to organise a special Masterclass at the Hyst which we would then broadcast on facebook Live to Adam’s fans across the world.
The first thing I did was go online and check out Mr Gyorgy. I’m not sure if I said it out loud or whether I just mouthed the word, ’WOW’. The guy was amazing. He had over 1 million likes on Facebook and his latest video for his own piece of music entitled ‘A Day In New York’ had been filmed with him at a Grand Piano in Grand Central Terminal. Firstly, I was blown away by the beauty of the music and secondly, I thought what sort of guy is this that manages to get permission to film at such an incredible location.
From that point on I have to say I kept hearing trading standards ringing in my ears. To have an artiste of Adam’s calibre perform in the Hyst seemed just to good to be true. Having said that I started to put the pieces in place. Swansea is blessed with one of the finest Piano Shops in the whole of the UK, in fact to call it a shop seems to me a bit like calling Big Ben a nice clock. It is wonderful and when I visited Coach House Pianos in Fforestfach for the first time earlier this year they almost had to drag me away kicking and screaming.
If we were going to have a world class pianist perform at the Hyst we needed a world class piano. When I called Tim Rusling at Coach House I had my script prepared.
There’s this great Hungarian Pianist who lives in New York and sells out Carnegie Hall in New York (not the one in Skewen) and he might be coming to do a masterclass at the Hyst but it probably won’t happen but if it did happen could you provide a 7 foot Steinway please.
As soon as I mentioned the name Adam Gyorgy Tim said to me ‘Oh, we are going to get him a piano to play at the Hyst next week aren’t we!’. Now I knew Adam was a ‘Steinway’ artiste so must have good connections but boy that took my breathe away.
We did have a lunch party booked in at the Hyst and because I was convinced this wasn’t going to happen we decided not to cancel them. Ian Parsons wanted us to start out Facebook broadcast at 3pm GMT so that we connected with Adam’s audience in New York as they woke up and with the Far East as they were heading for bed. I think Danny Evans who runs the Hyst didn’t quite believe it all either but felt it was a good idea to give the lunch party a heads up that we night have a world class pianist setting up as they tucked into their food.
I called Ian at regular intervals during Monday and Tuesday expecting him to say everything was off. But no, firstly Adam was catching a plane from New York, then he had arrived in the UK, then he arrived with Ian where he was going to stay for a couple of days. The final message I got came through at 8.22am on Wednesday morning, the day of the broadcast. ‘Good news, I have a Hungarian pianist in my possession!!! And he is great’.
I got to the Hyst on Wednesday morning nice and early to set up the cameras for the broadcast with the help of a couple of 3rd year students from UWTSD. At one o’clock the piano turned up. You could tell the piano removers were professionals, even looking at getting the piano up onto our stage didn’t phase them at all.
Then Dan the young Piano tuner turned up and then Adam. As he tried out the piano for size, and as we looked at all of the different camera angles I almost pinched myself to make sure it was all really happening.
We went live at 3pm and people joined us for the broadcast from New York to Bali, from Hungary to Morriston. Everyone in that room that afternoon had an experience that we will never forget.
As Adam played his beautiful music on a wonderful piano the people of Swansea passed by our windows little knowing that there was magic on High Street that day.
After the event, as people left and we packed down our gear, Adam returned to the piano just to play, and he played and played. Then I stopped and asked some of my colleagues at the Hyst what were we thinking, here was Adam Gyorgy the world famous pianist playing some of the most heavenly music I had ever heard and all we were doing was collecting glasses and putting away microphones. We all agreed that we should stop, glasses and microphones would still be there when Adam left but that magic was only there for a moment.
This week you have to chance to hear Adam Gyrogy play his full concert programme. In fact you have 2 chances to hear 2 different programmes. He has concerts at the Brangwyn Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday. The best way to sum up this opportunity is to take the words of Trading Standards and change them slightly, this offer really is too good to be missed.