September usually conjures up images of dappled sunlight, falling leaves and a crisp chill in the air marking the start of autumn, not the grey, soggy, dreary weather we had on Saturday! Just as well, then, that Elmbridge Ladies Choir and Cobham Players were on hand to lift the spirits of Cobham’s community as they packed into the village hall for the Grand Finale of Cobham Heritage Day.
During the first half of the evening the audience was treated to Cobham Players’ brilliant performance of ‘September in the Rain’ by John Godber. With superb acting from the cast of only two – Jason Lambert and Samantha Myers – it is hardly surprising that the play won the Leatherhead Drama Festival in May of this year. Reliving poignant memories of their annual rainy holidays in Blackpool, husband and wife Jack and Liz took the audience back to the ‘glory days’ of British family seaside holidays, engaging the audience with an amusing script and a touching performance.
After the interval it was the turn of Elmbridge Ladies Choir. Making a grand entrance to their trademark theme tune of ‘Here Come the Girls’, the ladies smartly and efficiently took to the stage in their sparkly white scarves, closely followed by Dale, glamorous in purple. We forgot about the rain outside as the evening brightened up and the audience came alive.
The ladies sung songs to complement the theme of the play, from Kurt Weill’s ‘September Song’, to The Mamas and The Papas’ ‘California Dreamin’’, Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and one of the ladies’ favourites, The Weather Girls’ ‘It’s Raining Men’! The ladies also brought in a couple of contemporary songs for the slightly younger members of the audience (such as myself J) with Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ and Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida’.
There really was something for everyone, however the highlight of the show for me and, I think, for all the audience was the fantastic rendition of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, learnt especially for the evening - although I’m sure they hadn’t anticipated just how appropriate it would be! Three members of the choir stepped forward to dance with their umbrellas in ‘Gene Kelly’ style, while members at the back of the choir held aloft props of a grey cloud and a bright yellow sun! Great fun!
After a short speech of thanks and congratulations from Sir Gerry Acher, chairman of Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, the choir was urged to provide an encore of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, ensuring that everybody left with a smile on their face and a spring in their step - ‘do be doo doo, do be doo be doo doo…’
In all aspects this concert was a resounding success, thanks to Dale’s tireless commitment and hard work, the ladies’ enthusiasm, Amanda’s outstanding concert organisation and Brendon and Cliff’s support with staging and sound. From a public relations point of view the timing could not have been better as Elmbridge Ladies Choir and Elmbridge Big Band move into Cobham Village Hall next week for rehearsals. Dale took the opportunity to ensure that the Cobham community knows who we are and what we are about by explaining a little about Surrey Music and our Get Music Going! grants scheme, and Cliff pointed out that Surrey Music in fact started out in Cobham Village hall 8 years ago - actually as long as Cobham Heritage Day has been running!
When we were invited to participate in Cobham Heritage Day we were of course delighted and felt ‘proud to be part of Cobham’s heritage’. After last night’s excellent performance by the ladies, I believe that Cobham will be justifiably proud to have Surrey Music as part of their community.