The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Phuket Music Scene: Having fun for a good cause

Phuket’s got talent! A Night at the Popra, held at Underwood Art Factory’s new Junkyard Theatre on Dec 4 was the third of a series of charity shows run by Gary Crause of Legend Music and the Phuket Academy of Performing Arts. This time the show was centered around music from films, covering 36 songs from 34 popular movies. 

By Andy Tong Dee

Saturday 18 December 2021, 11:00AM

Putting on such a spectacular show inevitably involved a huge amount of work from the cast, its producer Gary and his wife Debbie who managed the show’s many costumes. As well as raising a considerable amount of money for charity, the show also provided a fine opportunity for young new talent to gain experience and perform alongside seasoned professionals.

The raunchy chords of the AC/DC song It’s A Long Way To The Top opened proceedings and featured the ever-popular George Cordeiro dressed in schoolboy uniform as Angus Young. After that, the tight backing band of Chakrit Bilangload (drums), Rob Cooke (bass), Noel Trinadad, (keyboards), Blaze Crause (guitar) and Laura Sun (sax) took us through a rollercoaster of sing-a-long standards such as Purple Rain, We Will Rock You, Fame and I Will Survive for nearly four hours including breaks.

But if the backing band was a cake, then the singers inevitably were going to be the icing, with Rannze Davies, Cherie Horne, Dasha D’Aria, Ruby Redl and Bella Yongsakul all professionally delivering strong, confident vocals. However, for me, my good buddy George pipped them all to be the cherry on top with his energetic performance of some 1950s rock and roll standards such as Rock Around The Clock, Jailhouse Rock and Great Balls of Fire. George soon had everyone on their feet and ably showed the young pups that, at a spritely 72, he still has got more than what it takes! After an intermission for the charity auction of prizes generously donated by many local businesses, the fifth and final set finished with Gary himself singing “Let’s Do the Time Warp” and the whole cast dancing on stage. 

Born in Zambia, Gary grew up in a family which had a keen interest in supporting others charitably. He did his two years national military service in South Africa in the mid-80s, during which time he fought in the Angolan civil war’s Battle of Quito Cuanavale. This, as we used to say when I served in the British army, was a Really Big Scrap as he was up against professional Cuban soldiers supported by heavy artillery, ground attack aircraft and armour. Having survived such an ordeal, Gary then went on to work in IT for Standard Bank, IBM and AT&T before starting his own record label and production company Legend Music in 2000. He relocated to Phuket with his family in 2010.

Gary has since become well known here for his charitable work, and if there were three words that I would choose to best describe Gary, they would be altruistic, organised and energetic. He was a founding member of One Phuket, which was formed last February this year to help those in most need of assistance as the COVID economic crisis battered Phuket’s economy. This charity was supported by other local charities, Class Act Media, 5 Star Marine and Prince of Songkla University. Some locals were suffering extreme poverty and others were literally starving. Something urgently needed to be done, and done quickly.

So Gary used his music production skills to spearhead local releases of the Phil Collins’ classic  Another Day in Paradise, Bill Wither’s Lean on Me and Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, all performed by local musicians and singers, and all to raise money and increase awareness. However, his greatest triumph until this latest show was the Lean On Me Live Festival held at the Blue Tree Arena last March, featuring many local bands which raised B250,000 to feed and help those most in need.

QSI International School Phuket

The Night at the Popera show alone raised B470,500 through the ticket donations and B455,000 through the Auctions and Silent Auction, giving a total raised of B925,500 to go towards One Phuket initiatives to help provide food security to people in need across Phuket and on nearby islands.

So who should be applauded as Star of the Show? George? Dasha? Cherie? Rannze? Perhaps Gary’s son Blaze gave us a clue when he told me backstage after the show, “It’s been a huge amount of work, with the show postponed four times because of COVID, but it’s been worth every moment for such a fantastic show. My dad did a terrific job picking people for their strengths and organising things. None of this would have happened without him. He’s the show’s unsung hero.”

OK, Gary… So maybe you weren’t the best singer of the night, maybe you didn’t play a blistering guitar solo, and maybe you really should have bid for those dancing lessons in the auction, but I’m 100% sure if it came down to a vote by the cast or audience, there would be no contest.

So Phuket Music Scene’s Star of the Show? It could only ever be you, Gary.

Time to take a bow, mate!

Andy Tong Dee is a local expat, musician and live music enthusiast. Follow him at www.phuketmusicscene.com

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Australian man dies in fall from Patong resort

Kurt, too much drinking and drugs. Already many people selling Cannabis and drug foods on the stre...(Read More)

Australian man dies in fall from Patong resort

The area in Patong around Rat-U-Thit Rd is very unhealthy for foreign tourists to stay. Monthly aver...(Read More)

Foreigners charged with fatal recklessness in Russian’s death

@Christysweet, you are right. I should have written 3 persons, not 3 men. But we still don't kno...(Read More)

Phuket Immigration responds over visa extension scam

@Capricornball There are two kind of people using those services. The dodgy ones as mentioned by Fa...(Read More)

Man fined B500 for ghost-driving on Thepkrasattri Rd

@Nasa12 Crazy suggestion about exorbitant fines ! Take a look at the average income in Thailand ! ...(Read More)

Man fined B500 for ghost-driving on Thepkrasattri Rd

Perhaps a Thai solution for solving the unlawful ghost riding. Make it legal! 1: It saves face o...(Read More)

Special insurance coverage for COVID-19 patients to end

Fix insurance problems. Retirees and business visa holders mostly have a health insurance. Plus tha...(Read More)

Man fined B500 for ghost-driving on Thepkrasattri Rd

The reason cops are reluctant to leave their AC boxes is the absurdly tight, polyester blend, long...(Read More)

Phuket Immigration responds over visa extension scam

After reading comment of Capricornball I understand that the Immigration miss out more than 60 x 5,0...(Read More)

Man fined B500 for ghost-driving on Thepkrasattri Rd

Yesterday, after blocking the left hand lane to cars turning left at the light, westerner in a whi...(Read More)