Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK
On Saturday 10th March 2012, Kettle Bridge Concertinas undertook its biggest gig to date. We were invited to provide an evening of entertainment at Bencurtis Park, West Wickham – a retirement village housing over 300 residents. The greatest aspect for us was that most of the Concertina Band members were able to make this date (Pat – we missed you – was otherwise engaged looking after a very special 3 year old, her grandson Ronnie).
Everyone arrived at Sally’s home in West Wickham for a pre-performance final rehearsal at 5pm. Whilst the band played in the lounge, the “other halves” settled themselves in the “Boys’ Bar” in another room of the house. Following some refreshments, the band travelled round the corner to Bencurtis Park, leaving Peter in charge of catering, supported by Tony as sous-chef and Alan as sous-sous chef. Ian was also busy with his own catering indulgences.
We performed to an audience of about 50 people, the largest number to date. Sandy had devised a programme comprising some of our band music, some solo items by both Sandy & MFD (well done to both of them for having the courage to do that!) and some “sing-a-long” medleys. The singing was led very ably once again by Carol who got everyone joining in. The audience all seemed to appreciate the performance and enjoy themselves. We were offered payment of the takings for the evening (about £100) to cover our expenses. As we had already agreed that such community events would be done for free, this money was donated back to The Friends of Bencurtis Park. It was announced at the end that this money would be used to purchase some percussion instruments for the newly formed Bencurtis Park choir in honour of Sally’s mother, Eileen George, who was a resident there for the last 8 years of her life until she passed away at 97½ years of age. For Sally, this was a very poignant moment.
After the performance, everyone returned to Sally & Peter’s house for a well earned supper. Lots of good food and drink and great company was enjoyed by all. It was really good to be all together: a fun evening all round.