Rocking it at Tractorfest in 2019
Anyone who came to Biddenden Tractorfest and Country Fair last year cannot have missed some of the wonderful performances from the Rockits (formally the known as the Tuesdays) and the Rubies rock and pop Choirs founded and run by Max Wilson. Combining the feel good factor of singing, meeting new friends and doing things never dreamed possible, they rock it to their own original arrangements of uplifting songs past and present.
Max Wilson, the dynamic and talented musical director was totally absorbed with music as a child and has been writing and composing from 8 years old. Later, she taught piano but always wrote and performed original music too. Her career took her into artist development for a well known producer and she also co-produced many tracks. For many years she had her own music studio in France and was involved with vocal coaching.
We asked her what inspired her to start the group, “I was chatting with a friend of mine, Jeanie Osbourne (who is still a member), who said she would love to sing for fun and asked if I would consider starting a group. I had never taught choirs before but thought it would be lovely and so we started in Jeanie’s front room with a dozen or so of her friends. I could instantly see what a valuable thing it was for our community – it’s not just about singing, it’s about socialising and having support from friends too. Within two months we had so many people coming that we had to move to a hall. The Tuesdays was born – so called because we rehearsed on Tuesdays!”
She added, “The Ruby Tuesdays, who are now known as just The Rubies, are our performance choir. All the members have come through The Tuesdays and have over many years, gained experience, confidence and worked hard to become good singers. The Rubies perform all over the South-East – Guildhall in London, Rochester Cathedral etc., raising thousands of pounds for charities. Every penny from every one of our events will be donated to charity. I love arranging music and all the songs the Rockits and Rubies sing are my own original arrangements.”
Now 160+ members strong they’re a non-profit group who pride themselves on raising thousands of pounds for community and national charities. Last year they were also one of the recipients of a donation from Tractorfest. One of the charities they support is the Pilgrims Hospices and that support went towards buying them a custom-fitted van last year. It proved so useful to the charity, that they are now on a mission to buy them a second van. They’ll have enough money for this by April this year after they’ve completed another big fundraising event. Other beneficiaries of their fundraising efforts also include West View in Tenterden – in particular, their dementia unit, Abigail’s Footsteps (a national stillbirth and neonatal death charity) and the Inner City of London Police Children’s Charity (annual events).
This year Max will be running the whole music entertainment programme at Tractorfest. She’s keen to get together a variety of good local music that’s perfect for a country fair. “We have already had lots of local artists contact us AND we are looking for many more! I would like a variety of local talent in all genres. Local bands, solo artists, musicians, community groups – PLEASE contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our facebook page if you would like to take part.”
Sue Boon, Chair of Tractorfest, said “we’ve enjoyed Max’s work for a long time and we’re delighted she’s agreed to run our musical entertainment this year. She will be encouraging local talent to perform at Tractorfest and we’re really excited about that.”
There’s also another special plea from Max, “If it’s possible, can you please mention our next big fundraiser – every year we get 500 people to come (each donating £10 to the Pilgrims Hospice) for a brilliant evening’s entertainment. This April it’s Beatlemania and the highlight of every one of these events, is a 500 strong singalong at St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden on the 6th April! It’s great fun. Hopefully we will raise well over 5k and this will complete the money we need to purchase another van for the hospice.