A Rooting Good Christmas & A Jolly Wassail!

Dave Yomans hamming it up at the Mutton!

Dave Yomans hamming it up at the Mutton!

The run up to Christmas proved a hectic and varied experience for ROOTS Community Singers when they were invited to take part in a range of widely differing gigs.  Never ones to back down from a challenge, the choir stepped up to the mark and turned in some sterling performances.  This was in spite of having less time to rehearse Christmas material due to the addition of the Only Remembered concert staged during November.

National Forest Leaving Do!  The National Forest said

goodbye to its current director, Sophie Churchhill, at the beginning of the month and invited ROOTS to sing her out!  With very little notice, (less than a week!) a cut down version of the choir managed to complete the brief and had a lot of fun in the process and even persuaded Sophie to join in with a rousing rendition of Nelson’s Blood!

Sophie Churchhill joins ROOTS for a drop of Nelson's Blood!

Sophie Churchhill joins ROOTS for a drop of Nelson’s Blood!

Soupa Saturday Christmas Special – The mobile classroom at Newbold school was bursting at the seems for the start of the festivities with the choir entertaining villagers and visitors while they enjoyed homemade soup, fresh rolls and delicious puddings all made by the good ladies of the parish.

Deck The Walls saw the first airing of the choir’s range of folk carols which introduced the original versions of old favourites such as While Shepherds Watched to a largely uninitiated audience.  This concert took place at Viscount Beaumont school, Coleorton and ROOTS were joined by the school choir and several individuals who together, produced a lovely, traditional Christmas experience.   The concert proceeds were split between the school and a project to restore the walls of the adjacent, historic St. John’s church.

calkeCalke Abby Christmas Lights Labyrinth was the first of the season’s out door venues for ROOTS.  The cold and damp not withstanding, this proved an enjoyable occasion with members out in force and lots of great feed back from the public.  The choir sang in two sessions, the second entertaining children and parents lining up for a visit to Santa!

Staunton Harold Stables Festive Sunday featured the choir alternating with a brass band which proved a lot of fun and was well received by the visitors.  Another bitingly cold day, but this didn’t seem to detract from the singing which was jolly enough to provoke a few of the younger audience members to dance around the Christmas tree!  The choir’s band of loyal supporters was out in force which was very much appreciated especially as one quipped that there had originally been more of them, but a couple had needed airlifting to hospital due to exposure!

Solstice Walk & Party – A really great day when choir members, friends and supporters turned out in force

Dancing down the sun on Breedon Hill

to see the sunset from Breedon Hill.  The walk began at the Noon Pillar at Staunton Harold and finished at the lofty high point with some morris dancing and a rendition of May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You.

Singing May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You at the Breedon Hill Solstice

Singing May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You at the Breedon Hill Solstice

Mumming At The Mutton – This was a last minute edition to the gig list, but proved a great evening of singing and slapstick fun!  The Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe is no stranger to folk music as it hosts the Scragg End Folk Club so a contingent of Roots

Singing and performing mummers play at the Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe

Singing and performing mummers play at the Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe

members and supporters were delighted to take part in this Christmas Eve event.  They performed a short mummers play whose actors managed to spin out their three or four lines to great effect and led some community singing both outside the pub and inside.

The pub showed its appreciation by supplying mulled wine and mince pies which went down very well on a cold night!

 

A few more photos …

Storyteller, Sophie Snell preparing to scare the living daylights out of the company with the Hand of Glory!

Storyteller, Sophie Snell preparing to scare the living daylights out of the company with the Hand of Glory!

Sue & Dave Yoemans entertain at the Solstice party

Sue & Dave Yoemans entertain at the Solstice party

 

Calling Time in full swing at the Solstice party!

Calling Time in full swing at the Solstice party!

 

Sue & Ruth prepare to dance down the sun at the midwinter solstice on Breedon Hill

Sue & Ruth prepare to dance down the sun at the midwinter solstice on Breedon Hill

Article by Widdershins

Widdershins Morris dancer, writer, part time farmer and melodeon player. Author of several sheep keeping books and also Kindle fiction stories including THE INBETWEEN THE DIGFIELD CONJUROR HOW TO BOIL AN EGG    

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