‘Titanic’ film star in Colne to honour Wallace Hartley in town’s big weekend

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THE musician who played bandmaster Wallace Hartley in the Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic” will perform in Colne this weekend.

He will also pay his respects by laying a wreath at Wallace Hartley’s memorial in Albert Road, including a wreath from the national Musicians’ Union.

Jonathan Evans Jones is to play with Colne Orchestral Society, just as Wallace Hartley did as a teenager.

The Titanic Centenary Commemoration Concert is at Colne Muni on Sunday, at 7-30 p.m.

It will be exactly 100 years to the day the ill-fated liner sank while the band, led by Wallace, played on.

“Many people will have seen Jonathan on the big screen as James Cameron’s Oscar-winning film has just been re-released in 3D,” said Tourism Manager Vaughan Jones.

Jonathan said: “I am very much looking forward to playing in this commemorative concert and paying tribute to Wallace Hartley and his courageous fellow-musicians who perished in the Titanic disaster.

“As well as playing some of the salon music which Wallace would have played during his career in Sunday’s concert, I also intend to pay my personal respects at his memorial.”

Wallace Hartley’s bust and the area around it has been given a spring clean for the Titanic in Pendle festival.

The bust has been in place since 1915. Residents of Colne came together to raise money for a monument to the brave bandmaster.

Vaughan, who is co-ordinating the Titanic in Pendle Festival, said: “This weekend is the biggest in our Titanic in Pendle Festival and we wanted to make sure Wallace’s memorial look its best.

“We are laying our wreaths to Wallace and I’m sure others will want to pay their respects by leaving flowers at his memorial too – in fact some people already have.

“Local, regional and national media attention will be on Colne and we’ve got lots of events planned to mark the centenary in a sensitive way,” he explained.

At Sunday’s concert, Jonathan Evans Jones will perform a number of violin solos, accompanied by Christopher Bevan on piano.

And together with Colne Orpheus Male Voice Choir, he will play the solo part in the premiere performance of a new piece called Titanic 100.

David Foulds, chairman of Colne Orchestral Society, said: “One of our members, Adrienne Fox, has written this piece to mark the centenary.

“It’s based on the hymn ‘Nearer My God To Thee’, thought to be the last tune played by Wallace Hartley and his band as the Titanic sank.”

The society is borrowing the Wallace Hartley Memorial Violin from Lancashire Music Services for Sunday’s concert.

This violin was made in June, 1912 in memory of Wallace Hartley by Arthur Catton Lancaster, who played with him in Colne Orchestral Society in its early days.

David Foulds added: “We’re hoping Jonathan may be able to play this violin for one of his solo items and possibly in the performance of Titanic 100, once he’s had chance to try it.”

Other events over the weekend include:

l The unveiling of a new memorial to Wallace Hartley at the Titanic in Lancashire museum at noon today with a dedication by the Rev. Tony Rindl.

l A memorial service at Colne Railway Station tomorrow at 10-30 a.m. led by Railway Chaplain the Rev. Dr Richard Cook, including a piper and quarter playing “Nearer My God to Thee”.

l The world premiere of a new biopic on Wallace Hartley at Pendle Hippodrome Theatre, Colne, tomorrow at 7-30 p.m. with tickets available on line (www.phtheatre.co.uk) or on the door. The 1958 classic film “A Night to Remember” will also be shown.

l The walk and talk by Wallace Hartley author Darran Ward tomorrow is sold out, but another walk is being arranged soon. Telephone 861833 for details.

l The weekend’s memorial canal cruises from Foulridge Wharf are also sold out but more are planned. People can register their interest by e mailing info@boattrips.info

The Titanic in Pendle Festival continues into May, June and July.

For details about festival events, including where to stay, go to www.visitpendle.com or call Pendle Council’s Tourism Team on 661962.