Thursday 28th November 2019 was the date for our second Full Team Christmas Concert. The Methodist Hall in the lively metropolis of Longton was our venue. The event was run and organised by Stoke-on-Trent South U3A. A mid-week early afternoon is not a usual time for our full team but everyone gathered for our 2.00pm start. The parking faculties were superb as we had to use the Tesco/Argos/Next site which was at the rear of the Methodist Hall. I must say it was very pleasant using this park without the necessity of having to endure hours of shopping!!
However, it turned out that this resulted in a route march carrying tables and all that we require a distance of some 115 yards and climbing 21 steps for each single journey. It really was a workout before we even started.
After setting up we were ready in good time for our performance.
The fact that we were to play our full programme without an interval meant we all had to be mentally charged up for a full hour of high concentration. Thoughts, reinforced at practices, begin to flash through each of our minds before the first note: Watch Wendy our conductor. Have I got all the correct bells and chimes? Do I need a mallet? When convinced you have the correct bells in hand, look up and smile at Wendy; a signal to lift bells and a count in from Wendy, then like the start of an F1 Race, we are away!
Our first piece ‘Little Drummer Boy’ gave us lots of confidence as some in the audience began to hum and sing along. We must have been playing it correctly therefore for the audience to recognise it. This singalong continued when we played ‘Feed The Birds’. Good applause was given at the end of our numbers from the audience of just over 100. Three other numbers were played before we played our Christmas selection,
The singing continued with our rendition of 'White Christmas'.
‘Still, Still, Still’ was listened to by a very hushed and appreciative audience. The ‘West Indies Carol’ was exceptionally well received and interest shown in all the techniques used in playing the piece.
‘O Holy Night’ was so much enjoyed that before we played our last three bars the audience was already applauding. They must be used to watching 'Strictly'
Our final number again produced much singing as the audience sang along to 'Jingle Bells’ and gave very enthusiastic applause at the end and shouted for more. We gave them another rendering of ‘Jingle Bells’. We had not foreseen the eventuality that an audience might request more, as we had no additional music!!!
Thanks for our performance was given by the Chair of the Group and we were invited to enjoy a really great selection of food from their buffet. This time of relaxation was welcomed before we had the task of dismantling everything and going through the workout of getting everything back to the cars. After a job well done and a busy journey home I am sure everyone was pleased to reach the tranquility of our own homes.
Peter Walker 28.11.19