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Those of you who couldn’t get here or couldn’t get a ticket, look at the photos and see what you missed! Shame I can’t reproduce the sound on the site.
Following the success of the last time Barry Hammett’s Swingshift Band appeared at the Choir Hall in May, we were delighted and thrilled that Mark Stocker arranged for them to appear again, not only to welcome in 2013 but also to kick start the celebrations of the Choir’s 50th Anniversary! What a way to start! To a packed house of over 160, young and not so young, the Band opened with ‘Fly me to the moon’ and later invited us to ‘Wait till the Midnight Hour’. The choir hall rocked, rolled and swung to a fantastic mix of music right through to the early hours with a mix of ‘Mambo Number 5’, Michael Bublé’s ‘Just haven’t met you yet’, ‘Have you met Miss Jones’, to Bill Hayley’s ‘Rock around the Clock’ and ‘See you later alligator’, ‘Crazy little thing called love’, and Georgie Fame’s ‘Yeah, yeah!’ There was something for everybody during their three headline performances. Particularly special was their trademark Blues Brothers’ welcome to New York including fabulous audience participation. Faithful to the sights and sounds of “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues, the band gave a riveting mix of soul blended with rock and jazz in true Blues Brothers styles of ‘Everybody needs somebody to Love” ‘Gimme Some o’ lovin’, ‘Shake it baby’, ‘Hold On’, ‘Minnie the Moocher’ ‘Jailhouse Rock, ‘Soul Man’ and ‘Papa’s gotta brand new bag’ among others. No wonder this Band is arguably one of the finest function bands in the country. If you want to learn more about the band then please click on http://www.swing-shift.co.uk/
After time for a few drinks, piles of sausage rolls, sarnies and Pringles and more chat while listening to music from the sixties (remember them, lads) and between the performances, the audience was treated to a selection of music chosen by our own chairman, Leon Jones, who is not considering a change of career as a result. The raffle was expertly organised and conducted by Mark and volunteers with a large number of donated prizes. Surprise, surprise, but no entry ticket had a number printed on the back, so the £500 prize went unclaimed.
The final session started with ‘Burn, baby burn’, ‘I don’t feel like dancing’ (most did), ‘Johnny be Good’ and finally climaxed with Amy Whitehouse’s ‘Valerie’ just before midnight. During a short break in the band’s incredible performance and the reveler’s enthusiastic dancing, the New Year was welcomed in by a cascade of balloons set high in the ceiling and a chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ sung with traditional fervour and swaying until the bar re-opened at 12-10am with complimentary drinks for all. With continuous gyrotic dancing to ‘Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours’, the Beegee’s ‘I should be dancing’, appropriately ‘Give me just a little more time ‘ as the bar closed at 12-30, ‘Burning love’ , ‘Play that funky Music’, ‘Ride Sally Ride’, ‘Down to New Orleans’ and with the echoes of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ echoing in their ears, everyone left in the early hours of 2013 knowing (or perhaps not at the time) that they had truly enjoyed a night to remember. The Band played for an exhausting two and a quarter hours and went through an incredible 34 different songs during the evening.
Without a doubt, this was the most enjoyable and entertaining New Year’s Eve at the Choir Hall for many years. It was heartening to see a full house so thoroughly enjoying themselves and it sets the standard for the future. Barry Hammett’s Swingshift Band will be a hard act to follow. The scene has been set – watch out for our other 50th Anniversary concerts and events!
Not only an appreciation of Barry Hammett’s Swingshift Band for an awesome evening’s entertainment, but once again, many, many thanks to the bar staff, Dave Kirton, Wyn Goodwin, Sian Hatton, Dave Gould, Phil and his wife and to all those unsung volunteers who turned up on Tuesday morning to clear up the debris and get the hall ready for practice on Thursday. Tribute and thanks must also go to Kirsten and Steve of Inanda Events, Magor for giving up their time and efforts to decorate the hall so wonderfully for us. The deluge of balloons at midnight ensured the New Year was brought in with several bangs! Last but not least, most of all our applause and thanks must go to Mark for organising a truly fabulous night, well worth all the stress suffered, time and hard work that he put in.
More to follow as the information and feedback come in. Keep posted. I’m sorry if you didn’t get your photo taken, but if you weren’t there, I couldn’t take it.