June 19th was a blazing hot day with temperatures heading for the 30
mark as we assembled the chairs into a big horseshoe layout in the ballroom and
unpacked the music. Of the expected 24 players just 18 actually attended:
Chris Burdett, Pat Lynch, and Sandy Sharp from Kent; Catherine Cruise, Christian
Emms, Maureen Emms and David Lee from East London Concertina Players; Steve
Taggart from Stamford; Janet Thomas from Nottingham; Terry Hutson from Retford;
plus from our own group, Paul and Sally Barrett, David and Elsie Nind, Sylvia
Hughes, Alan Tong, Colin Sleath and Robin Tims. Sadly we missed Gill
Noppen-Spacie, Jane Edwards, Helen Rowland, Jon McNamara, Paul McCann, and also
from the USA, Don Nichols and Paul Hardy, all of whom contacted us to say they
were unable to come. Our group also missed very much our own Kathleen Kessel, a
wonderful Anglo baritone player unavoidably (but happily) detained by duties as
a fairly new mum.
many old friends to meet and greet, lots of banter, and much thirsty tea
drinking before, in high good humour in front of our leader Paul (unforgettably
resplendent in eyecatching shirt and shorts) and after listening to his words of
welcome, we set about the first piece, ‘Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair’.
We demolished this pretty quickly in fine form (we told Paul), so very soon we
were battling with more demanding stuff and making that fine harmonious sound of
a concertina band in full swing. ‘O Waly Waly’ was succeeded by ‘Loch
Lomond’ and then ‘Liberty Bell’ was a huge success with basses harrumphing
along while we navigated the repeats and tripped merrily (?!) through the
accidentals, which come fast and furious, an enormously satisfying piece to
play. We felt reluctant to move on, but our hard-working Paul busily conducting
and instructing in the heat, pressed us, and himself, almost to exhaustion as we
finished the morning with ‘Carolan’s Concerto’.
lunchtime, a few of us sat with sandwiches, chatting and keeping an eye on the
instruments while others sought refreshment and maybe air-conditioning
elsewhere. After that some more work until we had again played all the previous
pieces and thankfully it was time for afternoon tea. Then it was time for
‘party pieces’. The Kent trio gave us ‘William Giles Quadrille’ and
‘Dribbles of Brandy’ with great enthusiasm, then from East London very
accomplished renderings of ‘Three Part Allemande’ (by Brade) plus
‘Overture’ (by Charpentier). Terry Hutson sang us a wonderful
self-accompanied ‘The Bell Song’ before we did our own ‘Andante Tranquillo’,
a favourite of ours.
successfully negotiated the Raffle it was time for some thankyou’s; to David
Nind, together with his wife Elsie, for all his work on publicity and endless
other aspects; their daughters Amanda Hoten, Jayne Palmer, and grandson Samuel
Palmer in particular, for providing us with tea, coffee and soft drinks all day;
Sylvia Hughes for organizing the Raffle; Sally Barrett for gathering in the
cash; Robin Tims for copying-off the music; and finally of course, a very loudly
applauded thankyou, to Paul Barrett for such harmoniously arranged pieces
meticulously presented and instructed, conducted with tremendous enthusiasm and
good humour despite the heat.
day ended, needless to say, with a resounding version of ‘Liberty Bell’,
several times over even though by now Paul had barely enough energy to lift his
arms to conduct, listened to as well by the uninvited but enthusiastic audience
that had by now insinuated itself from the street.
we had lots of feedback showing that everyone certainly enjoyed themselves
enough to plead for a repeat next year. There are a number of photographs on
David’s website. With a generous donation or two as well, we readily covered
our direct costs. The Arts Centre has suggested that next time we include an
afternoon concert performance, and young Sam Palmer has promised to keep us all
supplied with tea again.
= musical term meaning played in an ‘Agreeable’ manner
Robin Tims – July 2005
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