Singing for the Hairy Bikers and Meals on Wheels

Tuesday 5 April 2011 Cobham Day Centre and Saturday 9 April 2011 1230 Brooklands College, Weybridge (Mixed Choir and Ladies Choir)

This week saw us take two more momentous steps on the slippery stairway to stardom with two encounters with the BBC no less – albeit both at very short notice – but that’s show biz!

The first was on Tuesday evening when Reporter, Tom Bateman, came to our rehearsal and interviewed some members of the Mixed Choir – not, as you would expect, about our views on singing with such a prestigious and popular choir – but about the rather unlikely and somewhat unpopular subject of the recent tax changes!

{multithumb}The choir sang the appropriately titled song “You Raise Me Up” and a short edited version was broadcast the next day on the BBC 4's early morning, ‘Today’ programme.

The second encounter with ‘celebrity’ was at Brooklands College on Saturday 9 April. It was a beautiful sunny day and the Hairy Bikers (Si King and Dave Myers) were being filmed attempting to create the world’s largest meals on wheels with help from the catering students of Brooklands College. They were trying to get as many people as possible to pledge some of their time to help with the Meals on Wheels service.

So why were we there? Answer – to entertain the crowds of groupies and onlookers at what they hoped would be a big community event and to provide some background music as the Hairy Bikers arrived in their convoy. In fact, both the Mixed Choir and the Ladies Choir were considerably depleted in numbers due to the short notice of the event, but I think that we, plus our friends and families, constituted a large proportion of onlookers.

After a quick sound check and warm up, we eagerly awaited our cue for action. We waited and we waited – one has to be very patient in show biz! Tantalizingly, we could see the Hairy Bikers’ truck in the distance but it was not coming our way so we did what we were there for – we sang a few songs and, just to keep us on our toes, not in the order that we were expecting but, hopefully, we did sing the notes in the right order! Then the word came through that it would be all happening very soon but – problem!, panic! – we must not sing any music that was copyright! Problem!, panic! All the music we had with us was copyright, what did we know that wasn’t? Thinking on his feet (or was it the seat of his pants!) Cliff came up with Uthe-Wena but, panic again, could we remember it! A quick rehearsal and digging deep into our dormant memories brought it all back to us (or some of us!) and where there was no recall la, la, la had to suffice!

At last came the cue for action and we sung "Uthe-Wena" (or la, la, la!) with all our usual gusto over and over again until the whole entourage had driven past with our Hairy heroes waiving from their truck, followed by a posse of leather-jacketed bikers on mean machines from the Royal British Legion Riders Branch. That was that then! That was a wrap for us – about 2 hours of patiently waiting for about 30 seconds of glory – but that’s show biz!

However, our podium in the shady corner was then taken over by the Ladies Choir who had been patiently awaiting their turn all this time. They entertained us very melodically whilst the BBC technical crew erected a platform and some steps leading up to the huge cottage pie (or was it shepherd’s!) and a very large cake. Good! Lunch! But, no, it wasn’t for us – it was only for those who signed up to pledge some time to helping with Meals on Wheels. What a good idea! It had the desired effect and a huge queue of hungry people (including several choir members) quickly formed to make their pledges and receive their rewards.

Later, the Hairy Bikers took pity on the rest of us and as a token of their appreciation for our support and participation, we were allowed to partake of the left-overs – and very delicious they were too!

So that was it, mission achieved, end of event. But, no! Exciting! The Hairy Bikers were going to mingle with us as they had nothing better to do! They came down from the safe haven of their ivory tower (truck!) and mingled in the sun with we lesser mortals and they too became ordinary, charming, down to earth, human beings happy to chat and be photographed with all and sundry.

Finally, with a roar of exhausts and a flash of black leather, the British Legion bikers sped off down the drive – I did try thumbing a lift but, sadly, no takers! This had been a great opportunity to raise our profile and show that we are a true community-spirited organisation.


The Mixed Choir Sang: Two Too Wet; When You Tell Me That You Love Me: I Walk the Line; Let The River Run; Sway; Uthe-Wena
The Ladies Choir Sang: Breakaway; The Rose; Broadway Ladies



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