Cheadle Arts Festival Week

Joint Handbell concert with the Cheadle U3A Ukulele Group at Cheadle Guildhall, Sunday 19 March 2017 in aid of The Donna Louise Trust.

What a great afternoon of entertainment we gave to a packed Guildhall!

When the audience started arriving at 1.45 pm, for a 2.30 start, we were still putting out the chairs and had only just finished a none-too-great rehearsal!  You know what they say: you need a bad practice to concentrate the mind on an excellent performance. We certainly did that.  

The Ukulele Group opened the programme with a lively rendition of "Rock Around the Clock", dressed in their colourful Hawaiian Shirts and straw hats.  They had passed out song books which got the audience into the spirit of singing along to the many well-known songs that followed.

We were the filling of the sandwich in the first and second halves, providing a great contrast to ukuleles, a harmonica, a kazoo and a tambourine.

Our programme was varied and we processed into the hall playing “The Processional Celebration”, which was certainly different.  We finished our first session with "Over the Rainbow" with the supporters singing along enthusiastically - Judy Garland would have been proud!  Tea and scrummy cakes followed.  Many comments: "I didn't know handbells were so versatile", "what a lovely melodic sound", "can't wait for the second half - it is so good".

Second helping and the Ukuleles were back with a loud, foot-tapping session and much rousing applause. What an act to follow!

We started with "Celebration" - a piece of music written especially for handbells, very bright with an amazingly upbeat finish.  Our "I've Got The Joy" tune, played by beating the bells instead of ringing them, seems always a hit with the audience even though we give our conductor, Wendy, much consternation as she has a job keeping up with us as we always want to go faster than her!!

We finished with a brand new arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine" accompanied by team members Sarah and Jean on percussion (drum, whistles, rattles, and that kazoo again) who, on this first performance, brought the house down, leaving us poor bell ringers in the doldrums!  “When You’re Smiling” found us accompanying the Ukulele Group - minus the percussion - as the finale to a wonderful afternoon's entertainment, clearly enjoyed by one and all.

It was also a fine debut for Callum, the newest and youngest member of the team, who rang extremely well in his first concert.

To quote Lynne: "1, 2, 3, I love handbells", whilst taking a bow!

Judith Denning 19.3.17