Milnrow Band Annual Christmas Concert at Milnrow Cricket Club

Date published: 19 December 2017

In this annual event in aid of band funds, Milnrow Band, under the direction of MD Mark Bentham, treated a capacity audience at the Cricket Club to a well chosen and well received programme consisting solely of festive music on Sunday evening, 17 December.

To the delight of those present and in keeping with the time of year the first half of the programme, had the audiences` full attention and vocal participation from the outset.

The band took to the stage at 8.00pm and opened up with the fast moving ‘Troika’. Based on the fourth movement of ‘Lieutenant Kije’ by the Russian composer Prokofiev, the listener can imagine the troika, (a sleigh drawn by three horses) racing across the snow covered Russian steppes.

The audience was in good singing voice with the following items, ‘A Christmas Festival’, which included ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’.

‘The Christmas Song’ featured next. Probably better known as ‘Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire’ this favourite has been recorded by Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, Christina Aguilera (1995) and Justin Bieber (2012) amongst others and who could resist joining in with the lyrics of the Noddy Holder (Slade) hit ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ from their 1995 album ‘Crackers’(Christmas Party Album).

‘Away In A Manger’ was followed by a selection from ‘Christmas Swingalong’,
which included ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘My Two Front Teeth’ and ‘Have Yourself A Merry Christmas’

‘Stop The Cavalry’, written and recorded by John Lewie was released in 1980. The lyrics of this item reflect the futility of war and the desire to be home for Christmas.
‘Snowman’ (Walking in the Air) (Howard Blake) and ‘Jingle Bells’ (arranged by Derek Ashmore) brought us to the interval.

The music then continued with ‘Santa Claustrophobia’, and then ‘Let it Go’ from thye recent film ‘Frozen’.

The Christmas atmosphere was well and truly alive at this point and everyone joined in with actions and voices to ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’, a noisy and frantic ‘12 Days Of Christmas’, ‘Sleigh Ride’ (with off stage whip crack supplied by Mick Morris, a listener for the evening due to being incapacitated) and ‘White Christmas’.

The swinging and swaying finale of the German ‘Snow (Shnee) Waltzer’ was played as the encore item in which the audience whole heartedly joined in with the actions ‘left and right, forward and back, stand up sit down’ etc.

Ken Watts, Band President said: “After such a pleasing couple of hours of festive entertainment, it was inevitable that the standing ovation accorded to the band would result in a ‘curtain call’ item which was ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ yet another crowd pleaser.

“During the evening a successful raffle was held with an enormous array of prizes and in addition a collection for the band was taken.

“A band ‘Christmas CD’ and various other items of merchandise were also available.
Mark Bentham (MD) brought the array of silver ware the band had accrued in the year 2017 to the attention of those present and assured them that the band was well prepared to continue its efforts to be successful in 2018 Milnrow band members, officials and committee wish to express thanks to Milnrow Cricket Club, officials, committee and staff for use of their facilities for the event

“We also extend thanks to all of our supporters, and as your local village Championship Section Band we will continue in our endeavours to keep Milnrow on the map.

"Here is wishing everyone seasons greetings and all the best for 2018.”

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