Alton Village Hall
Saturday 3 December 2022
After two early Christmas concerts and several 12 bell appearances, our third and final full team concert of the season was upon us – our annual fundraiser at Alton Village Hall for the Donna Louise Hospice for Children & Young People (now part of the Douglas Macmillan (Dougie Mac) hospice).
In 2021, because of Covid, we restricted our audience numbers to family and friends and changed our traditional pie-and-pea supper to bring-your-own food and drink, with donations instead of a fixed ticket price. There were also no guest musicians. This worked very well, taking the pressure off our organisation and preparation, and we still raised a goodly sum. We really liked this arrangement which made it a more social evening and decided that this year we would do the same but encouraging a bigger audience, and they came!
For the first half of the concert, we rang a range of non-Christmas music, some especially written for handbells and including a Morris dance piece (Shepherd’s Hey) played using only mallets with jingle bells accompaniment, and the wonderful Highland Cathedral, which we all love and performed with gusto! Wendy and Alan then rang two four-in-hand (two bells in each hand) pieces to take us up to the interval.
During the break we were able to join our guests at their tables and enjoy some festive fare; then there was a whisky roll, and the very popular raffle was drawn.
Fully replenished, everyone started off the second half with a rousing singalong of The Twelve Days of Christmas led by Peter Walker on his accordion, and then a return to bells and Christmas music, starting with an arrangement of the (Native American/French Canadian) Huron Carol called ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (with percussion accompaniment by Sarah) and finishing with Frosty the Snowman. There was rapturous applause from the audience and calls for an encore, which we hadn’t expected, so we rang Frosty again. Next year perhaps we’ll be prepared!