For our first ever Christmas as a folk club we thought we might try something a little different. Instead of the regular 'round the room' sing a song or play a tune session we thought we would give some of the people who have already become our 'regulars' an opportunity to come up to the front and each perform a mini-guest spot. At the same time, we wanted to make a bit more time for everyone to get to know each other better - there's normally little opportunity to chat at regular club and guest nights. And of course, we wanted a party!
With the upstairs room at the Poppy and Pint trimmed up with garlands and twinkling lights, we got the night underway with a set from singer-songwriter Dave Collins, who has impressed us all with some mighty good songs this year. Dave was away on an early morning trip abroad the next day, so a special thank you to him for coming over to sing and play for us.
The 'Wild While Shepherds' next - a set of four of the less well-known carols sung in something approaching 4-part harmony by Father Christmas, a snowman, a Christmas tree and a beautifully wrapped present; alias Phil, Dave, Michelene and Julie in subtle festive disguise.
On we went, with a lovely spot from Jenny Bell on Lute; Andy & Dave, on guitars and 'plumbing'; and a great set of tunes from the fiddle and melodeons of Nick Murphy and Wil Walker.
After a good break for a chat and the chance to feast on the buffet from the Poppy & Pint kitchen, the next session started with the very first, and probably the very last performance by the Poppy Morris Dancers - carefully hand-picked from the 6 morris men who happened to be in the room at the time. Festive morris music was provided by Claire Halliday, Ruth King, Juliet Woodin and Sandra Tully.
From the slightly ridiculous to the sublime, we then had feature spots from Bingham Folk Club's Annie Smith and Lynn Goulbourn, both excellent guitarist-singers; before a couple of clever and topical items from Lady Bay's very own James Strawbridge. Sheila Bentham told us a story with a Christmas twist; then Claire Halliday brilliantly played us a couple of tunes on the melodeon (the highlight being Andy Cutting's tune, Flat World). Finally, John Bentham finished off the feature spot part of the evening for us.
It wouldn't be Christmas without carols so, to finish off the night in style, the residents led some rousing festive singing from the front, before John Bentham closed the night with the jolly South Yorkshire favourite 'The Christmas Tree'. Ho, Ho!
It had been a great finish to the 2011 season, and a big thank you to everyone who played a part or just came along to join in the fun. We wish you a Merry Christmas, and we hope to see you in the New Year - first club night, Sunday 8th January!