Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK
We were delighted to be invited to host this year’s AGM of the International Concertina Association, coinciding nicely with our 10th anniversary celebrations.
The day, which was open to all, and held in the lovely Wateringbury Village Hall, began with – well, coffee of course! This was followed by an all-system workshop led by the lovely Iris Bishop. We played a variety of music in parts, from Making Whoopee to Polka Chinoise. Everyone who participated enjoyed the teaching and the music, even though some of us missed a note or two, and all together we created an impressive sound. There was, of course, an interval for coffee – this time accompanied by cake! (Well, we are Kettle Bridge and have a standard to maintain!).
Lunch was followed by the business of the day, but the AGM proceeded pretty smoothly and we were soon able to get on with the fun!
After tea (and cake) there was time for some impromptu playing and sharing of music before everyone repaired to the pub for dinner. The meal had been organised to the last detail by Trina and John, and The Wateringbury did an excellent job of serving nearly 40 people, with John keeping watch to ensure that no one ate anyone else’s meal.
Back to the hall after dinner for an informal concert. Kettle Bridge “big band” started the proceedings, playing Matt Kingston’s “When Johnny comes marching home” and John Hammonds’ arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, Matt Kingston’s “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and our own Clifford Shiel’s arrangement of “Schneewaltzer”. This was our beginners’ first public performance, and they admitted that it wasn’t so scary after all! (or did I mis-hear?)
Next to show their skills were Tracy Tye and John Wild, playing “Come back to Sorrento” from Phil Hopkinson’s collection “Dancing with ma Baby” – after a very short practice together outside by the toilets. Tracy went solo on the next piece – “Dancin’ with ma baby” and pulled off some very tricky moves!
We were then entertained by the talented Paul McCann, playing Hector the Hero, a set of Irish tunes, a set of minuets and finishing with the well-loved Victorian Parade, which he dedicated to our Pat, who has requested the tune at her funeral!
Iris played for us next – Speak softly love, Blue Moon, Attingham Waltz, Solace, Phoebe’s Iceberg and the M1 waltz, all wonderful to hear and enhanced by the history and stories that accompanied them.
Paul was then called up to assist with the Penguin Café Orchestra’s “Music for a Lost Harmonium” (look it up!) – he played the G with such skill! – and “Napoleon’s Grand March”.
To finish the evening, the Kettle Bridge “Thursday group” played Clifford’s arrangement of “The Muppet Show”, Paul Barrett’s “Beatles Medley” and Matt Kingston’s arrangement of “Pastime with Company” – many thanks to Alan for the drum accompaniment.
The final thing to do was to offer everyone a piece of our celebration CAKE!
We were really pleased that everything went according to plan and hope that all who attended, Kettle Bridge and ICA members and their guests, enjoyed the day. A big thank you must go to MFD and her team for keeping everyone supplied with tea and CAKE!