Christmas Party - Sunday 18th December 2016
The now traditional format for the party night - with Poppy regulars each getting a short spot on the stage - was continued for Christmas 2016. The only real change from previous years was that instead of a rather ad-hoc carols session at the end of the night, there were a couple of more formal sets of carols performed from the stage to punctuate the evening.
The Poppy Folk Club organisers have a real love of the 'Village Carols' tradition. These are not the ones you normally hear in church, on the radio or drip fed over the supermarket sound system. These are (mostly) older carols that were once sung in communities all around the country until they were 'rejected' by the church authorities in favour of the ones we now think of as 'traditional'. Fortunately, in a few rural parts of the country (notably in Cornwall and the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire Peaks) the villages carried on regardless, and still sing them today in pubs and community centres (but mostly, thankfully, pubs!).
We were aware that some Poppy regulars were unaware of the existence of these carols, so we put on a few Village Carols familiarisation sessions during the year. The result was a small group of singers who could make a good stab at several of these unusual and rousing carols. Together with a similar group of enthusiasts, we were asked to sing at events in Lowdham and at Staunton Harold - and so, the group 'Lowd Harold' was born (blame Phil for that one!). It was the core of this group that sang carols and the start, middle and end of the night. If you enjoyed it, watch out for more intro sessions in 2017!
Back to the Poppy party traditions, and the interval break featured mince pies in abundance, followed by the annual performance of the Poppy Morris Dancers.
But the meat and drink of the evening was the array of talent presented by a host of regulars who performed from the stage.
Wil Walker played fiddle for himself to dance a morris jig, then added lovely accompaniment for Jenny Bell's follow up to the 'Mistletoe Bough' (Chris Sweeney having sung the original version just before to complete the story). Rosa's Lovely Daughters sang a set of delightful and funny Christmassy songs, and Brian Franks told the story of how the fairy got its place on top of the Christmas Tree. We also heard from Trevor Mariott, Jim Hellewell, Steve and Julie Wigley, Ian Price, Andy and Dave, Dave Walters, James Strawbridge, Claire Halliday, Steve and Yvonne, AJAR, Jenny Bell, Michael and Val Scott - all enjoying the opportunity to show off their talents from the front.
A lovely end to a great year (at the Poppy, at least!).