Ken Fitt, a retired head teacher and honorary member of the Rotary Club of Henley-on-Thames, was keeping himself amused during the pandemic lockdown by singing and playing the saxophone of his coronavirus adaptation of Vera Lynn’s iconic song “We’ll Meet Again” and he’s now recorded the above video.
Much like the original — and coinciding with VE Day — the song talks of hope for the future:
We’ll meet again, when this virus starts to wane
And we won’t have to refrain from being near.
We’ll hug every friend, in the shops we’ll spend, spend, spend
To celebrate an end — to this awful year
Ken sent his recording to a few of his friends at the club just for their amusement. They recognised the potential to use his talents in support of their fundraising for local charities. The video is now on a JustGiving fundraising page and is hoping to raise £5,000 to support people in the Henley-on-Thames area who are suffering as a result of the current crisis.
Ken, who is 92 and an accomplished jazz man, has been the driving force in running the Jazz Night in Henley each year in aid of the Rotary Club. This year, the event became the victim of the ban on public gatherings and the club was looking for alternative fundraising initiatives.
The new recording provided an ideal opportunity to replace the concert with a topical song and still be able to support people suffering as a result of the current crisis.
Commenting on Ken’s song, Barry Prior, president of the Henley Rotary Club said: “We are having to rethink the way we raise funds during the lockdown and Ken has provided us with a great opportunity through this song.”
As well as his work with the Rotary Jazz Night, Ken regularly takes his music to care homes and to the local Mencap club for Down Syndrome.
“I’ve been playing jazz for the last 77 years and am missing the opportunity to perform live at the moment” Ken said. “So I’ve been using the lockdown period to research into the music of the late 19th and early 20th century, the music halls and the popular music of the 1930’s. I’ve recorded some of the songs and am also producing a commentary to emphasise their social context. These songs are not in my usual comfort zone but I have very much enjoyed learning them and playing them.”