Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Purple Angel Singers Tour, 2017: Part Two

The World Rocks Against Dementia 2017

Those tour members who stayed at Penni’s house in Blakeney, rose to a hearty breakfast courtesy of the lovely Kimberley. After that we packed up and made our way to rendezvous with the rest at their guest houses before embarking on the trip to Hannah’s at Seale Hayne.

Oh, that reminds me! I forgot to tell you about a slightly odd occurrence on arrival at the guest house yesterday. Just as we parked up and began unloading baggage I sneezed and was rather shocked to find my tissue covered n blood. My poor nose proceeded to pour what seemed like pints of the red stuff at an alarming rate, way too long for my liking. "Pinch your nose and keep it pinched for ten minutes" was the consensus from the tour Doctors and it duly dried up after, well, about ten minutes. Weird!
Okay, moving swiftly on. You could say that Caroline Sharpe Singers are an eccentric bunch and just about anything can happen, especially on an away trip. Well, motorway journeys can be pretty tedious experiences at the best of times, so why not liven thing up a bit? Oh dear! I’m not sure who suggested doing a flash-mob type impromptu performance at Taunton Deane Services, but singers were surprisingly ‘up for it’ apart from Anna who was like soooooo embarrassed! Vic recorded the truly delightful performance of Almost Like Being In Love  on her phone and onto Facebook it went! The response of fellow restaurant users was varied – some enthusiastically watching while others showing complete indifference! One guy was particularly keen to know what prompted it and wished us well with our tour which was nice!

Today was the 'main event' and the purpose behind the whole trip, the World Rocks Against Dementia - WRAD 2017!
Now I’m not sure whether the satnav route to the WRAD venue was quite what it ought to be, with the last little stretch proving something of a challenge for Granville to negotiate. Thank the Lord we weren’t all in a 50 -odd seater coach!

Anyway we had arrived in good time, which is more than can be said of Norman H who was, how shall we say this ‘was delayed a bit’? With our set start time of 3.20 pm rapidly approaching, I started to run over Norman’s solo line for Do You hear the People Sing in my head – just in case. He wouldn’t let us down, would he?

Nah, course not. Shortly before 3 pm in he strolls. Phew! T’was a relief to have the full thirty quid in that tenor section! Strangely we had all been directed into a room away from everyone else so had no idea what the concert hall was like or what to expect when we got in there. Word came back from Chris Hill that everything would be obvious when we got there including which mic I could use for FBG. Well I hoped so. We were called forward by the somewhat over worked Kirsty-ann Johnstone who seemed to have run over to get us and it was ‘green for go’! After a speech from Mary Sherwood (4Dementiacarers) we were on! The whole event from beginning to end was to be live streamed on Hannah’s Community Radio station so there were a plethora of microphones set up on the stage, leaving not much room for manoeuvre. Definitely no chance of ‘Freddie’ going on a wander this time! The onstage sound man pointed out the microphone I was to use later and we were off with I Will Sing With The Spirit.

Thankfully, Fat Bottomed Girls was our third piece and I think I can say it went well. Alright, it went bloody fantastically! After an agonising 10 days of at times paralysing fear and anxiety, as soon as Chris Hill’s piano started all nerves pretty much disappeared. I got the audience clapping a fair bit and it was over in a flash. What I didn’t know until later was how much the radio presenters enjoyed it! In fact they were very complimentary about our whole set which was fabulous! I thought One seemed particularly good, but then we’ve won awards for that previously, dontcha know? For once, us tenors got Blue Moon almost right, which was something of a miracle. And well done to Norman with his solo. High five! 

I even made a decent stab at Tell Me It’s Not True, which I have struggled with up to then. And the grand finale of Ibuleve, sorry, I Believe was a suitably epic way to finish. We even took a proper bow as well, or did I imagine that? Before we were allowed off stage Ruth was presented with a certificate, recognising her as a Purple Angel Ambassador. Bravo!

Ruth's certificate, confirming her appointment
as an official Purple Angel Ambassador.

After that, the choir returned triumphantly to the 'Green Room'. I was feeling pretty euphoric and everyone else seemed quite chuffed too! For those of you who haven't heard it yet, here's a link to the live radio broadcast of the  show:-

Our bit can be found at about 86 minutes. It’s well worth a listen, especially for the presenter’s comments. Enjoy! A 20 minute video excerpt can also be found at top right of this blog
Ruth and I returned to the hall to meet the inspirational Norman MacNamara, better known as Norms!

Ruth with the inspirational Norman MacNamara, aka 'Norms'.
Norms was the founder of the Purple Angel Dementia awareness campaign. Despite being diagnosed with early onset dementia at age 50, he has written books on the subject and can be found on YouTube presenting numerous campaign videos. And, he's a Bolton lad! He knew as soon as I started singing FBG that I was from Bolton as well! You see, you can take the lad out of Bolton, but you can't take the 'Bolton' out of the lad!

 The only thing I regret about the day was not having more time to enjoy some of the other artistes performing at WRAD, but at least there's the radio broadcast available to get a taste of what went on. As it was, we hopped back aboard the bus and headed for The Palace Hotel. At least some of us did. One person who shall remain anonymous (Michelle) tried to check in at the wrong hotel. LOL! The Palace Hotel was just fabulous. It was like stepping back in time to the 1970's! All it needed to make it complete would've been a drugs bust by Gene Hunt! Sorry, but if you never watched 'Life on Mars' you won't know what the hell I'm on about, but it was a uniquely atmospheric hotel that me and Ruth just loved.
Well, we were at the seaside which obviously means FISH 'n CHIPS! Well, the 'Award Winning' Hanbury's fish 'n chip restaurant, was full when we got there, so we had to make do with another 'Award Winning' fish 'n chip restaurant a mere stone's throw away. Rarely has fish & chips tasted so good. If Hanbury's was any better than this place it must've been something else! Bloomin' lovely!

And that was just about that! A fabulous day was had by all I think.

Stay tuned for Day Three and the breakfast. Oh, the BREAKFAST!!!!!
Cheers for now,

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