Photo by Matt Kent

An Evening of Music and Comedy Raising Funds for Parkinson’s UK
PETE TOWNSHEND, ROB DEERING AND HOST, JASON MANFORDALSO STARRING KATIE MELUA, COLLABRO, JOSH WIDDICOMBE, JACK DEE AND THE I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE TEAM • STARS OF MUSIC AND COMEDY UNITE FOR PARKINSON’S UK • ROYAL ALBERT HALL, WEDNESDAY 19 APRIL 2017 • ONE PERSON EVERY HOUR IS DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON’S Parkinson’s UK are delighted to announce that Pete Townshend, legendary member of The Who, will be performing at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Parkinson’s UK presents: Symfunny No. 2 on April 19. Pete will perform 'Love Reign O'er Me' from The Who album Quadrophenia. Returning to the Symfunny stage is Jason Manford who has just been revealed as host for the evening and hilarious stand-up comedian Rob Deering.   Pete Townshend, Jason Manford and Rob Deering are the latest acts confirmed for the second Symfunny event, that unites amazing musicians and comedians in raising funds for Parkinson’s research. Both Pete and Rob have a deeply personal connection to the cause. Rob’s father has been living with Parkinson’s for the past eighteen years whilst Pete’s late father-in-law, composer Edwin Astley with whom he co-wrote the comedic ‘Football Fugue’, passed away from a Parkinson’s-related illness in 1998.   Katie Melua, Collabro, Josh Widdicombe, Jack Dee and the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue team will also be taking to the stage on the night. They will all be accompanied by the specially created Symfunny Orchestra and Choir, featuring some of the best professional musicians and voices in the UK. Further acts from the worlds of comedy and music are to be announced ahead of the event. This very special fundraising event, hosted by Parkinson’s UK, was the brainchild of conductor, composer and producer, James Morgan who was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2012. James, along with his partner, fellow composer, producer and mezzo soprano Juliette Pochin, wanted to use their connections to help raise money for and awareness of this progressive condition, for which there is currently no cure.   Known as Morgan Pochin, James and Juliette’s work includes hit albums for Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Collabro, films including Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet (starring Billy Connolly and Dame Maggie Smith) and classical stage work at venues like the Royal Festival Hall. James has conducted artists from Aqua to Andrea Bocelli, and Juliette has recorded for Sony Classical and performed with most of the UK’s leading orchestras, including three appearances at BBC Proms in the Park.   Currently working for Pete Townshend on a new project, James reached out to him to take part in Symfunny No. 2. Pete Townshend said, “I’m pleased to work with my friend and colleague James Morgan in the Symfunny concert. My beloved father-in-law Edwin Astley, who helped me break into orchestral arrangements for some of my songs in the ‘80s, suffered and eventually died from Supranuclear Palsy which is a horrible type of Parkison’s Disease. Together we collaborated on several songs, one very silly fugue called ‘Football Fugue’ which I will perform on the night. If I’m allowed to speak, I can be funny too.”   Having conducted Jason Manford when he first revealed his incredible singing talent performing alongside Alfie Boe at the first Symfunny event, James and Juliette had no hesitiation in asking him back to host and perform. Jason Manford said, "I’m delighted to be back at the Royal Albert Hall for this year's Symfunny gala show in aid of Parkinson's UK. This is a fantastic night with a stellar line-up of talent, raising money for a great cause.” Comedian Rob Deering said, “I'm so delighted to be performing at Symfunny again; it's an incredible event - and such a great fund-and-awareness raiser for Parkinson's UK. My Dad's been living with Parkinson's for a couple of decades now. I wish he was well enough to see me perform at the Royal Albert Hall; at least I know that the charity is helping him, and people like him, every day.”   Symfunny made its debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2014 when it was hosted by Al Murray and saw music and comedy stars including Jason Manford, Alfie Boe and Rebecca Ferguson come together to give performances on the night.   For Symfunny No. 2, James and Juliette will be helped in curating the event by actress, author and Parkinson’s UK President Jane Asher, as well as Paul Mayhew-Archer, best known for his work with Mrs Brown’s Boys and the Vicar of Dibley. Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 and recently wrote and presented Parkinson’s: The Funny Side for the BBC for which he won the Grierson Trust's 'Best Documentary Presenter' award.   Tickets from