Saturday 17 April 2010 7.30 pm - Cleves School, Weybridge Charity - Woking and Sam Beare Hospices
Elmbridge Mixed Choir and Elmbridge Big Band
Everything having been efficiently set during the afternoon by Cliff and his helpers, we had more time than usual to get our positions right and run through at least part of most of our numbers. All the tickets had been sold well in advance and the full capacity audience were in for a treat!
The 30 members of the Big Band set the pace with a bang - anybody in the audience who thought they might have a quiet doze during the concert must have had a rude awakening. Unfortunately, the choir was deprived of the pleasure of hearing the first 4 numbers played by the Big Band as we were closeted away in a dressing room where we had the luxury of a TV on which we could watch Britain's Got Talent but I'm sure there was more talent in the Big Band - the audience applause said it all!
After the initial build up from the Big Band, the Mixed Choir of over 100 followed suit with Build Me Up Buttercup and then Oo, La la la la there was plenty going on Under the Boardwalk! Were those naughty ladies going to paint some graffiti under there? No, they were going to paint the town instead, as well as having a great time getting up to all sorts of fun shimmying and shaking and all that jazz. One man in particular was singled out to shape up as he was the one that was wanted, although I'm not sure who it was that wanted him as we kept singing "you are the one for hoo hoo hoo"! Then there was a bit of Peace like a river - a sweet melody compared with the frantic pop-rock shuffle of the previous number.
There had been a few moments earlier when some choir members were unhappy with the lighting - too much or not enough - but by the time the glimmer had begun with one candle then two, three, four, five up to 6 - each candle increasing the light - there were no more complaints.
The first half was rounded off with a medley featuring 13 favourite songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals - songs of every style and emotion, songs that will last forever!
All the proceeds from this concert will go to Woking and Sam Beare Hospices and grateful thanks were expressed by a representative and interval drinks were then served.
The audience consisted of a wide range of ages, so in case some of them were too young to remember, the second half began with a little story that they wouldn't want to miss about the ‘60s being a time and place where music had a wilder pace and tales of love were told with a different twist. The story must have been so compelling that one couple in the audience immediately got their motors running and got up from their seats and started twisting and jiving in the aisles.
Although there were over a 100 of the choir members present, there were some notable absentees - all their bags were packed and were ready to go ‘cause they thought they would be leaving on a jet plane back from their Easter holidays in far flung places abroad but, no, they don't know when they'll be back again - thanks to mother nature inconsiderately grounding all aircraft by erupting a volcano in Iceland!
We then told another little story about singing and dancing in Africa. I'm not sure whether the audience completely understood it as much of it was in Swahili but as we sung "we sing it, we dance it" at least 20 times, I think they will have got the message. And to make it worse, the next 2 songs had no English words at all to help them except for a few Mms, ohs and ahs which, I presume, mean the same in any language!
Following these 3 African songs, back in Liverpool John Lennon was imagining all sorts of ideals and how it would be if there's no countries, if the world would be as one and there would be no need for greed or hunger. However, during the next song, I wonder how many people in the audience looked at their partners wishing it applied to them when we sang "and I'll bring you anything you ask for" - perhaps a diamond ring? - or even a cup of tea in bed sometimes would be nice!
Then we had come to our last number (ah!) - even though Cliff had thought that the previous one was our last - so we did our best (it wasn't much) to tell him that it goes like this and - Hallelujah - he soon realised his mistake!
The Mayor of Elmbridge then said a few choice words in praise of Elmbridge Music, mentioning that we have raised about £75,000 for charity since we began just over 4 years ago. He had heard that many of us do not live in the Borough of Elmbridge and questioned if not, why not! He then drew the winning ticket for a cash prize of £3500, a substitute for a flat in South Africa for which not enough tickets had been sold to make that viable. A further 25% of the ticket monies would be going to Elmbridge Music for the purchase of a much needed all singing all dancing sound system which was in use this evening.
But the concert was not all over yet! The Big Band returned to put us In The Mood with a change of tempo; and then there was a lot of shouting "Pennsylvania 65000" whenever their conductor, Georgi, rang a little bell! They then Picked Up The Pieces, featuring several soloists, with what is described as an ultra funky and ultra cool chart in "horn band" style showcasing familiar licks and hot rhythmic groove! If we are to do more concerts with the Big Band, I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to add some more words to my vocabulary and understand what they mean!
Next the highly infectious tune of one of pop music's funkiest bar lines and great groove was a Thriller for the audience, especially some younger ones who were waving their arms around and moon walking as far as possible in their seats!
Then came the pièce de resistance of the evening - what we had all been waiting for - the first performance ever of the Elmbridge Mixed Choir accompanied by the Elmbridge Big Band. We all braced ourselves, took deep breaths and cleared our throats ready for a Tribute to Queen like there had never been before! It was indeed a very big noise and, I am assured that the fears of the choir biting the dust and being drowned out by the might of the Big Band were unfounded and it was indeed a very rousing end to another exhilarating concert proving that, once again, We Are The Champions!
The Big Band played: Birdland; Mas Que Nada; Li'l Darling; The Nearness of You; In The Mood; Pennsylvania 65000, Pick Up The Pieces; Thriller
The Mixed Choir sang: Build Me Up Buttercup; Under the Boardwalk; All That Jazz; You're The One That I Want; Peace Like a River; One Candle; Rodgers & Hammerstein On Broadway; Sixties With a Twist; Cheza Ngoma; Ute Wena; N'kosi Sikelel' i Afrika; Imagine; When You Tell Me That You Love Me; Hallelujah
Choir accompanied by Big Band: A Tribute to Queen