Sunday, 13 December 2009

Festive weekends 1 & 2

Going into December things always start to get a little hectic Christmas is approaching, printer deadlines at work and as is customery in years gone by on a weekend near the start of December we hold the Oxford folk festival carols at the castle, This years concert was on the 6th December held (as the name would suggest) at the most excellent Oxford castle (we call it a castle, it looks like a castle it is in fact an ex jail...) it's a chance for us all to get together, get freezing, and get well and truely into the Christmas spirit. Having helped organise this event for the past few years I've now got a good idea how cold it;s going to be before I leave the house. Wrapped up to the nines (and this year with my own latern) I made my way into Oxford. The service started at three o clock with the vale islanders (olden style dances done whilst in costume) and Mason's apron clog dancers taking it in turns to do dances (my side Cry Hvoc danced last year, diswasher salt had to be put down as otherwise we would have been literally dancing on ice!). At about 4pm we had a few carols from the rising voices choir and a group sing around lead by magpie lane's leading man Ian Giles. Then the laterns were lit and doled out and we accended the mound. The photo at the top is various mambers of the OFF committee and ye Oxfordshire public singing on top of said mound, I was on stewarding duty (and was following up at the back of the party) so missed the best of the light, but I think this photo has a certain something about it anyway.
The second event was the folk band Kerfuffle playing the Hollywell rooms. We had put on a carol concert for some local school choirs earlier on in the day with the Oxford waits also playing. Our headliners for the evening Kerfuffles were ably spported by the hardworking rising voices choir. Kerfuffle are all still quite a young band but have been playing together since they were twelve. The two standout members for me personally are Sam Sweeney (who also became a full member of Bellowhead last year) and Hannah James. Hannah is one of the best step dancers I have ever seen, Every time she dances her feet are just mesmerising, As well as being a very talented dancer she can also sing and play the accordian very well Indeed. Sam meanwhile learnt the bagpipes to get into Bellowhead, is a very accomplished violin player and suprises us all again tonight by picking up a concertina. Kerfuffle play a variety of tunes and songs (as well as stuff from ther latest album light up the dark, fittingly an album full of Christmas tunes) and the audience is also treated to a fair showing of Hannah's step dancing. As I'm involved in the organising of this event I unfortnately missed the first half on the concert, but the band more than made up for it during the second half. Sam said they had had a briliant time (he'd never played the Hollywell before so he was quite taken with the room and it;s acoustics) and now him & Hannah head off on tour as a duo, I definitely recommend catching them if you can. More details can be found here

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