IT'S never too late to organise a reunion.

Just ask the four members of guitar group Fourtissimo, who, after 30 years, have decided to pick up their instruments once more for a very special concert.

That takes place later this month at the Headgate Theatre in Colchester and if Chris Garrington's enthusiasm is anything to go by, it will be quite the event.

Along with Martin Smith, Ian Ridgley and Rod Protheroe, Chris made-up the four-piece who began as part of a classical guitar club but when on to perform concerts all over the area back in the Eighties.

Chris says: "It originally started off at Essex University but then quickly moved to Wivenhoe itself and then people's houses. I started going as a teen and then popped back into it after I graduated from university.

"In terms of the performing, initially it was just Ian and I performing duets, but before long we had recruited Martin and Rod into the band.

"We played for four years together which was quite a feat as we all led busy lives and our last concert was when I was six months pregnant with my daughter, who is now 26!"

After exploring the repertoire for four guitar, which was surprisingly quite varied according to Chris, the group played all over Essex mainly in Colchester but also down in Upminster where Ian was based.

"Life took over," she adds. "Rod moved to Kent and we all sort of drifted apart. The only one I stayed in touch with was Ian and we used to chat every now and again.

"Last year he and I got together to play some duets and have a social and that's when we started to talk about whether it might be possible to get Fourtissimo back together.

"We agreed we should try to track the others down and see if they would like to meet. Fortunately Martin still lived in Great Bentley but we didn't have a number for him so Ian went and knocked on his door. Then we found an e-mail address for Rod and sent him a note asking whether he would like to play again.

"It could have easily fallen flat with Martin or Rod saying they weren't interested but thankfully they were."

To start off with the four got together just for a meet-up but it wasn't too long before the guitars came out and they started playing.

"It was just like old times," Christine smiles, "we mostly laughed but we did play a bit.

"After all those years doing our own thing, it was a little weird but also very wonderful. After a few rehearsals the idea was mooted we might want to play a few concerts so we did."

Following one in Upminster, they're now lining-up a special fundraising gig at the Headgate in Colchester, which will be raising funds for a lymphoma charity after Christine's husband Phil had a rare stage 4 lymphoma which thanks to stem cell transplant he has survived.

"The Headgate's a great venue," Chris tells me, "and I've seen quite a few concerts there so I thought it would be the ideal place to host our concert. We only really got back together at the end of last year so it's no mean feat getting a programme sorted for four guitars.

"We have about 14/15 pieces, some of which are the old ones we used to play, others have got a little tired now, so we've replaced them with some new pieces we've discovered over the last 30 or so years.

"Ian's written a couple of pieces and we're also performing Martin's version of Debussy's Girl with the Flaxen Hair, which I'm really looking forward to.

"It was a bit silly because when Ian first spoke about this we were really worried that Martin and Rod might not be interested but everyone has thrown themselves into the project, it's got very exciting again.

"There's talk of us may be doing a recording next year, which will be a wonderful thing to do. Ian dug out some old recordings of us 30 years ago when we were on BBC Essex, which was lovely to listen to. It would be nice to do something like that again but at the moment we're just concentrating on performing."

Fourtissimo: 30 years on play the Headgate Theatre, Chapel Street North, Colchester, on Sunday, December 16, at 5pm. Tickets are £8, available from the box office on 01206 366000 or on-line at