25 YEARS AND GOING STRONG
Mid morning on the 17th of June saw a few hardy souls from the PU3A committee descend on the Jack Hunt school to prepare for a gathering to celebrate 25 years of our U3A. Tables were arranged with little posies as a centrepiece and a varied itinerary of entertainment was set for entertainment.
Our Chairman, Jacqueline Casson, had suggested the idea of a get together for those who wanted an afternoon out with friends on a Saturday for a change, and she was kind enough to provide a few nibbles for those attending; although the idea was for people to bring along the food and drink they wanted for themselves or to share.
The day was very-very hot and for the few “acts” performing outside this would prove to make their energetic displays quite a glow-inducing happening (I can’t say sweaty because ladies apparently don’t sweat – they glow 😊 ).
By 12:00 everything was in place with speakers and microphone systems set and people drifting into the venue.
We kicked off with a rendition by the Sing Something Simple Group, singing some of the gentle popular songs from way back when. The Group Leader, Annette Dagless led her group of ladies and gentlemen whilst accompanying them on the piano. The performers were Annette Dagless (on piano), Graham Cheetham, Susie Dagless, Lynda Robertson, Karen Martin, Sue Coaker, Brian Keegan,
Audrey Griffiths, Joan Baker, Norma Maplethorpe, Gwen O’Halloran and Jim Hague. This group are really coming on strong, which is nice to see as Annette joined PU3A and launched herself straight away into leading the group.
There was a short break and the assembled throng took themselves outside of the hall for an al-fresco demonstration of the Line Dancing group. The checked shirts, choreographed moves, synchronization and sequencing were a sight to behold. The dancers were Eileen Neale, Bill Peacock, David Lobley, Liz Peacock, Pat Hallett, Pauline Glasby, Jo Smith, Chris Warren, Hazel McCall, Glynis Fowler, Joe Gordon and Jean Scallon.
After another short break we all went back inside and things became a little more sedate and cultured with 4 renditions from our Poetry Writing Group. Apparantly we were spared Brian Keegans usual poetry topic of sewage, for which I suppose we should all be grateful 😊
Our Harmony for Pleasure Group were up next, and whilst their Group Leader Magaret Smith apologised for being light of any of their male members (prior engagements) for a 4 part harmony performance they gave us some lovely tunes with the ladies present harmonizing wonderfully, and covering for the lack of baritones in their number. They were accompanied by Marjorie Richardson on the piano and the singers were Shirley Chilvers, Mary Tierney, Sue Pearce, Mo Bell, Sylvia Scott, Jill Harrison, Eva Belson and Penny Snape
We then moved on to having some refreshments with Jacqueline and Brian Keegan (past chairman) giving a short chat about our history and how certain members over the years had taken us from less than 100 members in the beginning to a magnificent total of 2800 members today, just 25 years on.
Our Concert Party Group, consisting of Brian and Maureen Murphy, Pat Protherough, Hilary Hatch, Rosemary Knight, Mary Claxton, Mary Gynn and group leader Brian Haswell looking resplendent in his Acker Bilk style bowler hat and bow tie, took to the stage give renditions of some show tunes from the London Stage scene. As I wandered around the hall there were quite a few of the audience joining in where they knew the words, and some even when they didn’t 😊 .
Then we were all off outside again for an exotic display from our Belly Dancing Group. Dressed in all their chiffon and finery and waving their sticks (not the ones for helping you walk – they were to accompany the dance moves 😊 ). Leader Jackie Marjoram has done a wonderful job of leading them to alluring steps which also help them keep fit.
Our closing act was The Rythmaires who took to the stage with a varied array of wind instruments, brass and strings – from a guitar to a Lute and a violin – to give us a few instrumental tunes to take away, rolling around our head for the rest of the afternoon. I think the term for such a tune is an earworm where you can’t shake it no matter what.
The line up consisted of Jan Over on piano (and Musical Director) - Dave Wells on guitar, Bill Purdon playing the tenor saxophone, Jill Harrison and Judith Cooper on treble recorders, Judith Cooper, Sandra Lawson on the tenor recorder, Joan Noble and Annette Dagless on descant recorders, Eva Belson on violin and finally Brian Haswell on the lute. I honestly never realised there were so many types of recorder.
All in all the organising committee members did a fine job of pulling the afternoon together, but a special thanks should perhaps be made to Hilary Keegan for arranging such a tight ship when it came to transitioning the various entertainment acts.
Thanks are also extended, by the committee, to those who came along for a fun afternoon, and to those who didn’t – you missed out on a lovely few hours of entertainment – keep your eyes peeled for the next PU3A-wide event you can attend. We have Activities Day coming up and then a second Quiz Night in November which is always a popular event.
See here for a picture gallery of the 25th Anniversary event