I've written about both 'The Calstock Singers' and 'Under the Fingers' before (revision time: 'Under the Fingers' are 4 of our local talented instrumentalists who between them play recorders, cello, harp and guitar). They combined last night to delight their audience with 'More Mulled Music', a Christmas Concert at the Peterloo Poets hall in Calstock. Three friends and yours truly arrived early and were able to bag seats in the front row this time. The programme started at 7.30 and with a half hour break in the middle continued through to 10 o'clock. When I reported on the three previous concerts they performed at this venue I was full of praise for them but there was always the thought "can they keep this incredible standard going" knowing that they had to look at a new programme each time. No need to worry, as ever they were on absolutely cracking form! By the way when I say "three previous concerts" I mean the last three, the ones I saw, because I have a feeling that they may have performed there previously - must check on this sometime.
So far as the instrumentalists were concerned there were a few variations this time: while waiting for the concert to start a clarinetist whose name unfortunately eludes me played some gentle music from up in the gallery, in some of the items Rosie did some drumming in addition to playing her more usual recorders and guitar, there was more accompaniment than before from Nicola on the Xylophone (though sadly no 'Tamar Broom Dance' or 'Tico Tico' from her - I love its sound as a solo instrument), and we had Peter, new to these concerts, playing the piano. As ever Liz and Jenny were there playing guitar and harp in their usual brilliant manner and Pauline was alternating between conducting the choir and playing her electric cello.
One or two comments on the singing now: we had Cliff and Nicola combining together to sing 'The Final Barge' one of the pieces from 'The Song of the Tamar', their voices blended beautifully in this lovely song and I hope we shall see them duetting together in future. I have to say that Cliff is one of the larger members of the choir and Nicola the smallest but with Cliff sitting down and Nicola standing head height wasn't too different! There was a very funny Cornish take on 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and a few dance steps ably performed by our MC Richard and two of the ladies in the choir at the end of 'The Woodcutter's Song'. Richard as usual kept proceedings ticking along gently and his jokes are as awful as ever. Once again performers and audience were indebted to Harry Chambers for the use of the 'Peterloo Poets' building and Harry read four short poems during the course of the evening. I should have mentioned too the brief appearances from Rob adding extra comedy twists to the proceedings as well as demonstrating what a fine singing voice he has.
There was a raffle in aid of that most worthy of charities 'Shelterbox' which in my book is the nearest thing yet devised to the perfect relief organisation. When the first two tickets drawn were those bought by members of the Singers we were joking that something funny was going on but then members of the audience started winning prizes so that was all right then! I don't recall the exact figure raised but it was certainly in excess of £100. As usual we could avail ourselves of a glass of mulled wine and a delicious mince pie, all included in the ticket price of just £5.
Now if I only I had known I could have stayed at home and watched the final of 'The X Factor' - I'm jesting of course. As with 'Strictly Come Dancing' I've never watched the ITV alternative on Saturday evenings. I did have a quick look today on the internet at a video of the lady who won on this TV show so that I can be a little informed. I'm sure that she's very talented in many people's eyes but for me such offerings can't in any way be compared with the marvellous show I was privileged to witness in Calstock yesterday evening.
I'll just add a couple of links here and here for Peterloo Poets and Shelterbox. Finally if you live in the Calstock area and would like to join The Calstock Singers they resume their rehearsals on Monday evenings in January (starting at 7.30 pm) at The Old Chapel in Sand Lane.