President Connolly takes a bow.
After over 65 years of involvement in organising live music events Declan Connolly has now accepted the honorary title as President of Narberth Jazz..
His enormous contribution to making things happen in Narberth goes back to 1987 when he was part of the group that organised free children’s festivals on the Town Moor for ten marvellous years featuring No Fit State Circus, Benjamin Zephania, Nik Turner and countless others. Eventually he led Span Arts to promote many art events at The Queens Hall and was elected to be the first Manager after the 1992 refurbishment. Due to a huge building overspend he led the appeal to raise £80k to complete the transformation of the hall to a fully equipped multi use venue and art gallery. As Manager of Span Arts for 30 years he founded the famous Plant Sale, The Acapella festival and Spanjazz to provide first class monthly jazz concerts. These included Alan Barnes, Andy Shepard and Tim Garland. In 2021 the Jazz was separated from Span Arts and became Narberth Jazz which continues at the Plas Hotel every month.
Declan has accepted the honorary title as President of Narberth Jazz. Ben Morris, Chair of Narberth Jazz said ‘Declan has been the focus of performance art in Narberth for decades and responsible for bringing famous names to the Queens Hall through the 1980’s to 2001, as well as continuing enthusiasm for music in general’. These included storytelling, puppetry, and theatre as well as music. Folk stars Martin and Eliza Carthy along with Dave Swarbrick and Robin Williamson being featured. African and world music was a particular interest of his and during the ‘90’s The Bhundu Boys, Quatre Etoile, Santana Mondolay and many more played on the stage.
With Todd Sharpeville he brought many famous bluesmen and women to Narberth and went on to work with Chris Osborne and Malcolm Cawley to found the Tenby Blues Festival. Later he helped found Narberth Food festival and always included a chance for performers to display their talents. Many people remember Nils Lofgren and Richie Havens were among the high light concerts he organised.
The Narberth Jazz next event featuring Simon Spillett with John Gibbon is on the 20th April at the Plas Hotel, Narberth, will likely see Declan with his usual smile to welcome to all.
Declan is proud to accept the title saying ‘What an honour! I am pleased to see Narberth Jazz going from strength to strength and will be doing everything I can to help the organisation into the future.’
It is worth adding that his partner Maggie Moss has been a continuing stalwart support by the side of the new President