After the "Christmas at Cobham's Farmers' Market" performance at the Leg o' Mutton Field, Cobham (19 December 2009 10.30am)
It seemed that no sooner had I gone to bed after returning home from the Cabaret Party the night before, it was time to get up again and prepare for ‘Christmas at Cobham's Farmers' Market'!
I had set my radio alarm to wake me up gently with BBC Radio Surrey and whose familiar dulcet tones did I hear? - those of the Elmbridge Ladies Choir singing live on air on the Joe Tolbert Show. They had had an even earlier start, having to be in the warm and cosy studio in Guildford by 7.30 a.m!
In Cobham, about 50 members of the Mixed Choir should be commended for turning up on this cold and frosty morning. We were considerably depleted from our usual numbers but there were still about 5 times as many of us as there was audience - and that's including our own supporters, dogs and babies in buggies!
Although we were bundled up in our winter woollies, top coats, boots, Prague red hats, scarves and gloves, our extremities were still suffering. Rudolph wasn't the only one with a red and very shiny nose and I don't know how Frosty the Snowman manages to be such a jolly happy soul under such circumstances - but then he doesn't have to try and turn over pages of music with numb fingers with his gloves on!
Having said that, the sun was shining and provided a little warmth but, best of all, it made the Leg o' Mutton field look quiet and magical with the snow glittering in that kind of light that filled the sky - we know, we've seen it before - last year - when our efforts then only raised £250 for the charity, Crisis Christmas Appeal in association with Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust.
So, we were trying this year to improve on that figure for the same charity - but I have my doubts - why? - recession, wrong time, wrong location, weather? Anyway, undaunted and despite the noise of the generator, we sang through 13 songs - and with a rush a whoosh of wand'ring wind our words flew in the air, there was effort in our rendering and the sound went goodness knows where!
Every so often Cliff begged and bribed passers-by with the promise of free mince pies if they would come and listen and, what's more, stay to the end! There was also optimistic talk of mulled wine and a tantalising aroma of bacon cooking on a nearby stall - but none seemed to come our way - so there was nothing for it but to have a short break and go in search of sustenance!
When we resumed, we seemed to have gathered a few more in the audience, including a fleeting appearance of Father Christmas, so song sheets were handed out and Cliff and Lisa Woods lead us all in 6 Christmassy songs. We made the audience work for their mince pies by getting them to accompany us on a selection of jingly bells. Then we started to get more demanding and insisted that we wouldn't go until someone brought us some figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer.
Nobody did, so we wished everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and good tidings to them and their kin, abandoned our second scheduled performance and headed off into town in search of steaming hot chocolate with naughty mountains of cream and chocolate flakes on top!
We sang: Everywhere Christmas Tonight; A Glad Noel; Feliz Navidad; Can You Hear the Christmas Bells; Winterlight; Follow That Star; Away in a Manger; From a Distance; African Star Carol; Bethlehem Hallelu; Do You Hear What I Hear; Holy Night Silent Night, Christmas Auld Lang Syne
Audience Carol Sing-A-Long: Ding Dong Merrily on High; Silent Night; Hark the Herald Angels Sing; Frosty the Snowman; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer; Jingle Bells; We Wish You a Merry Christmas