Sunday February 8th 2015.
February 8th - the battle of the bands! For reasons we might never know this club night introduced us to four groups we had not seen previously. Big groups too - it felt like about half the people there were members of one or other.
First of all, a seven piece band called Klez who played Klezmer music on a range of fiddles, wind instruments, accordion and percussion. A totally new sound for the club!
Then there was Strung Together: six assorted stringed instruments - mainly ukuleles but with a sprinkling of guitar and mandolin - and a harmonica! This was their first outing and they made a pretty good job with their catchy sing-along songs.
Next up was 'In Any Order', a trio of men who sang with a very lively style and accompanied themselves on guitar, melodeon and mandolin. Good, strong voices and great song choices!
Lastly, another trio - of women this time - called Birds on the Wing. Very nice singing from this trio - they took turns to lead the songs and added some lovely harmonies, with good musical accompaniment to back it up. Great stuff!
Regulars Ally, Juliet and Rick joined in the trio theme - they have recently started collaborating in this form anyway - and were excellent, as always.
But it wasn't all groups, and we had a great turnout of solo singers and musicians - including an unusually large contingent from Leicestershire. Thanks to Bill Wilkes, Lyn Cooper, Alan Price, John Stephenson, Malcolm Goodall and Dave & Julia Taylor for making the journey and singing for us.
More local and regular Poppy singers were Phil Mountain, Trevor Marriott, Jim Helliwell, James Strawbridge, Dave Collins, and the Poppy Squad of Dave, Phil, Julie and Claire. We also welcomed back second-time visitor, Carol; and first-timers Hugh, Mick & Val Scott, and Dave Ball.
It was a very full night, but Phil got round the room twice and found room for the groups to play a couple of extra songs each - no mean feat! It was also a very unusual night with a number of definite themes - the unprecedented number of groups; the flood of singers from Leicestershire; and even a little cluster of singers from the north-east trying to out-Geordie one another!
With so much variety there were several high spots for me - Jim's singing of Jim Boyes' 'Goodnight my Friends'; the great singing from everyone in 'Bright Morning Star Arising';Ally's singing of 'Bridget O'Malley'; and Dave Taylor's 'quick finish' song about famous Belgians - one verse and about 20 seconds long!