A PACKED York Barbican last night celebrated the life and work of one of the city’s most famous sons, John Barry.

More than 200 musicians performed iconic film scores created by the late Oscar-winning composer, from the James Bond theme and Dances With Wolves to Zulu and Born Free.

All the performers, including the York Railway Institute Band, Prima Vocal & Millegro, The Steve Cassidy Band, Ewa Salecka and York Guildhall Orchestra, had a York connection.

Another musician who took part was Johnny De Little, performing Not Guilty and The Knack, who was tracked down by concert organisers after The Press ran an appeal for him to get in touch.

He said in the concert programme that working with John Barry had been one of the highlights of his 50-year career in showbusiness. “John was always very impressive to work with,” he said.

“He knew exactly what he wanted and how to get the best out of his musicians and singers.”

The concert took place only a short distance from the site of the former Rialto cinema where John, who died of a heart attack in January, began his musical career.

The sell-out audience, which included fans from as far away as Sweden and Canada, was expected to raise about £10,000 for the Lord Mayor’s charities, York Against Cancer and York And District Mind.

The event began with a short film, called June’s Homecoming, which showed John’s sister June Lloyd-Jones going back to the property in Hull Road where they were born and lived in their earlier years, and then the larger property in Fulford – now the Pavilion Hotel – where they lived later.

Concert-goers heard Pray To the Lord, John’s final composition, which he dedicated to former York Minster organist Dr Jackson, under whom he studied.

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On song for John

THE Barbican was packed to the rafters last night for York’s own tribute to one of its most famous sons.

John Barry’s music lit up the film world for decades. He won five Oscars, and penned countless unforgettable themes – including the music for several Bond films and for classics such as Out of Africa.

There have been many tributes to the great man already: including a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall. But it was absolutely right that York should say its own fond farewell to the man who cut his musical teeth at his father Jack Prendergast’s Fishergate cinema/venue, the Rialto.

Absolutely right, too, that among those performing last night was York’s own Steve Cassidy, who once made a record with Barry. It was a great evening, in memory of a great man.

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