Watford Park

Study Group Show 2016

Our regular monthly meeting on Tue 22nd November 2016 at St Lukes was dedicated to what has become our annual showcase of performing talent.

This year four study groups stepped forward to perform and entertain.
1) Folk Music of the British Isles
2) Senior Moments (the Guitar and Ukulele group)
3) The Fun Singers
4) All In The Same Boat ( Rockin the Boat and Rock Bottom joining forces)

Mr Showtime FMotBI FMotBI sharing joke Senior Moments 1 Senior Moments 2
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Fun Singers 1 Fun Singers 2 All In The Same Boat All In The Same Boat Ladies
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L to R top:-
Mr Showtime Alan Rose, FMotBI in action, FMotBI members sharing a joke, Senior Moments 1, Senior Moments in action 2

L to R bottom :-
Fun Singers 1, Fun Singers 2, All In The Same Boat 1, All In The Same Boat ladies only

You can download and look through the 2016 Show photographs in dropbox, courtesy of Peter Prosser.

Videos of each group performance are available on Youtube through the following links (with thanks due to Tony Yates) :-

FMotBI group performance 2016 (Folk Music of the British Isles group)

Senior Moments group performance 2016

The Fun Singers performance 2016

All In The Same Boat band 2016

The report of the show in the monthly Newsletter was written by Max Black and is re-published here on the website to give you a flavour of the event.

In the summer of 2013 we crossed the Shenandoah River and drove up into the Blue Ridge Mountains in our hired gas guzzling Chevy Blazer. With a John Denver album in the CD player, we enjoyed the views of the hills and forests of West Virginia. It was almost heaven. These happy memories were brought back when the Fun Singers sang Country Roads, one of my all time favourite songs. In fact many of the pieces performed at last month’s meeting brought back good memories from different times and occasions in my life, and I suspect I wasn’t alone here. Special for me were childhood and student memories from the 1950s and ‘60s invoked by the Senior Moments Guitar and Ukulele Group when they played “Worried Man Blues” from the skiffle era and “The Last Thing on my Mind”, another of my all time favourites which I’ll always associate with José Feliciano. My school days were recalled by “Jackie boy; Master; Sing ye well?; Very well” from the Folk Music of the British Isles Group, and the 1960s generally by “Will you still love me tomorrow?”, one of the highlights of last year’s show reprised by our youthful rockers.

The show included many musical genres, it’s not often you’ll find 17th century works and the Beatles music on the same programme. In the U3A however, there’s no limit to the range of interests. I thought the British Isles Folk Group with piano accordion accompaniment, in their first public performance, presented a minority interest very well. Their programme was wide ranging and included “Are we nearly there yet?”, their own composition about traffic jams on the M25. One and a half years after their formation it’s clear this group is prospering, but I’m sure they’d welcome a few more men.

The Fun Singers are definitely going from strength to strength, now with about 40 members. They’ve come a long ways since their inception 5 or 6 years ago when they used to squeeze a 10 minute performance into the end of our normal monthly meeting. They too included original work with their leader’s own harmonised arrangements of “This little light” and “Rock my Soul”.

Our two rock groups combined into one to perform as All in the Same Boat: 4 guitarists, 3 singers and a drum machine. Times change, people move on and groups evolve, sadly this was the valedictory performance of Rockin’ the Boat but Rock Bottom will continue. I thought the performance of “Streets of London” was outstanding. The only performer who stepped out of line in the entire show was the drum machine, consequently it’s been fired. Rock Bottom are looking for a replacement drummer, usual U3A rates apply, anyone interested should contact the group.

When the ukulele revival started a few years ago I couldn’t understand why, but I’m now converted. The Senior Moments guitar and ukulele group featured the widest range of instruments, including harmonica, banjo, tambourine and kazoo. I hadn’t heard “This is my Land” for years, I wonder if Donald Trump wakes up in the morning singing this? After some careful reflection, I’ve decided that Senior Moments was my favourite group this year, so I’m putting them through to dance at Blackpool. (Am I at the right show?)

Since the audience was seated early, there was some time for warm-up before the main event. The now (almost) internationally famous Mr Showtime again demonstrated his individual talent by giving us his stand-up comedy act. Good though he was, I don’t think Michael Macintyre or John Bishop have much to worry about yet. Also in unrehearsed warm-up, a singer from South West Herts (Fun Singers is a joint study group) stepped forward without notice and gave us a very good unaccompanied performance of “Run Rabbit Run”. This takes bravery and a good voice. He had both. …...

Group members and study group leaders alike put an enormous amount of effort into learning and rehearsing for this show, and many thanks are due to them for their great performances. Their efforts are appreciated. But I was also struck this year by how well the support organisation came together to make the whole thing work so smoothly. So thanks also to those who did the planning, welcoming, ticketing, registering, refreshments, door control, seating, photography, videography, and clearing up afterwards.

Can we do it all again next year?