Carol Singing - 19th December 2017
25th Anniversary Concert
A record breaking 150 residents arrived at the village hall in Crazies Hill to enjoy the 25th Anniversary Carol Singing Concert, led by the village's own Kapellmeister, Mr Paul Whitmarsh. Once chairs were found for most of the audience (for some though it was literally, 'standing room only'), the concert started in traditional manner with 'Once in Royal David's City'. The first verse was sung solo by one of our very talented schoolchildren, Lewis Gabb, the second verse was sung by our volunteer choir and then the rest of the guests joined in for the final two verses.
Once the music had died away and those who had chairs were seated again, Paul gave a brief introduction as to the origins of the event from 25 years ago. He also explained that as in all the concerts over the intervening years the choir and 4 piece 'wind' orchestra were all volunteers and had only come together that evening, with no rehearsal beforehand. Thus there may be the odd pause whilst order papers were shuffled and the orchestra would need a break every now and then to catch their breath.
As is usual the singing programme was divided into several parts including audience participation. The first group to be brought forward were the children who sang 'Away in a Manger', led by a solo first verse performed beautifully by another local girl, Scarlett Bennett.
The men were tasked with singing 'We Three Kings' and split into three competing groups, one for each king. there was certainly much lusty singing, but the Melchior group were declared (mainly by themselves) to have won the competition.
The ladies had a more difficult task with the rather higher pitched 'Holly and the Ivy'. Despite a more genteel competition, the 'Barks' were declared the winners. Interspersed in the evening was a fine Christmas medley performed by the band and a fine rendition of 'In the Bleak Midwinter', by the choir.
Paul once more showed his versatility by accompanying the Caribbean version of 'Mary's Boy Child', on the bongos. Everyone got their pre Christmas exercise standing up and down with the various parts of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' and then we were into the final carols, finishing off with, naturally, 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'.
Paul thanked, the soloists, the choir, the orchestra and also Peter Fife who compiled and printed off the carol sheets for us. Chairman of the Residents' Association, Dave Smith, then thanked the RA committee for organising the event, including decorating the hall, brewing the mulled wine and all the ladies of the village who had baked mince pies which were soon to be consumed. Last but certainly not least Dave thanked Paul for a brilliant 25th anniversary concert and presented him with a card and gift to mark the occasion. There was then just one last announcement to make. The mulled wine and mince pies are provided for free by the Residents' Association but we do like to collect for a local charity. This year it was Camp Mohawk and thanks to the very generous nature of our audience we were able to hand over £410.72.