Sing-along seal of approval for Stan

WHEN an audience starts singing along with the overture, further judgment begins to seem futile. Such was the case at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford, at the weekend when Stan Stennett, of Black and White Minstrel Show fame, presented a variety concert m

WHEN an audience starts singing along with the overture, further judgment begins to seem futile.

Such was the case at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford, at the weekend when Stan Stennett, of Black and White Minstrel Show fame, presented a variety concert mainly recalling the songs of the 1940s.

Barely had the piano struck up It's a Long Way to Tipperary when the matinee audience joined in. This show succeeded when it had barely begun, wrapping the punters in a warm blanket of tuneful nostalgia.

On it rolled with the crowd singing along happily, if a bit quietly, with Shelli Dawn on You Are My Sunshine and Run Rabbit Run, and with Peter Lewis on Sailing and I'll Be Seeing You.


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Of course, this show was for the survivors - those who came back from exotic places and harrowing danger, those who may have found the loves of their lives in those chaotic days.

And nothing evokes past times more effectively than music. It's a matter of "the neural architecture of music-evoked autobiographical memories".

That's a phrase coined by psychologist Petr Janata, who probed the reactions of human brains, while the subjects were listening to music from their youthful days. He found the brain was reacting in the medial pre-frontal cortex, the bit right behind your forehead.

That part of the brain, while tracking the music, is also looking for personal connections in the past - how "autobiographically salient" it is, Janata said.

Saturday's show was salient enough for the KMT audience. They had been there, they were still here.

Or as Stennett put it: "It's nice to be here. It's nice to be able to be here."

- BOB BARR

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