Festival Belles

What words do we usually think when we see the words “Music Festival”? Probably of Glastonbury, rain, mud, great music, and wellies?

Well on Saturday 6th August the Pewsey Belles went along with choirmaster Jules and accompanist Melanie to sing at our local Pewsey Music Festival, where there was no rain and no mud to be seen but there was great music- and of course wellies!

The forecast had said sun, but as all Wiltshire residents know, Pewsey has its own weather and the BBC never gets it correct so there are always sensible precautions to be taken such as umbrellas, boots, raincoats even in summer!

We have been thinking that lots of our usual photos are rather staid (rows of ladies in black) so it was decided that it would be great fun to arrive in funky decorated wellies for the Festival! Our members all put in much effort and turned up in glam wellies such as Pewsey had never seen before… Results on show in the gallery above.

For the first time ever, the BBC weather forecast was accurate – it was sunny and 23 degrees so our umbrellas were used as parasols…..After much laughter from us and Jules  as we posed for his welly pics, we changed into posher shoes and arrived at a lovely yellow striped tent in time to hear the Pewsey Male Voice choir performance. We all really enjoyed it, in particular their rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Some of us Queen fans could not stop ourselves joining in quietly….

Then it was our turn to perform in the tent- which was rather hot by now! As we filed in and climbed the rather large step to the stage we bore in mind the useful last-minute advice given by Jules- Smile at the audience, do not sway too much as there is little room, and try not to fall off the stage….

Jules, dapper as always in pink tie, socks and cufflinks to match our pink felt flowers, introduced us to the satisfyingly large audience, our wonderful accompanist Melanie began the first intro, and away we went!

We began with one of our gospel favourites – “This Little Light of Mine”. Everyone seems to know this and there were lots of smiles from the audience. We sounded quite loud in the tent and as we sang more people arrived from outside- some clutching burgers or pints- to see what was going on. It was turning into a picnic concert…

Then it was time to Sway with the lazy ocean ‘cross the floor and we managed this with about 50 ladies on a small stage and no casualties!

And then came Jules’s own arrangement of “Let Me Go” which begins “A roomful of sadness” but has such an upbeat tone that we all enjoy singing it. Even the altos, who get lots of Ah Ah Ah…

Time next for one of our new songs- “Lean On Me”. It does say “we all have pain, we all have sorrow” and honestly there was so much pain and sorrow which went into learning how to click and clap in time with this song we were all a bit nervous! However the audience enjoyed it and even Jules smiled – so much relief all round.

We do love singing “Say A Little Prayer” simply because Jules does all the actions in front of us with his back to the audience- who may wonder while we all grin madly at lines like “put on my makeup” and “wondering what dress to wear”…

It was noticed during our song “Over The Rainbow” that a few members of Pewsey Male Voice Choir were singing along too, maybe a joint concert in the future?

Then came our most emotional song – “Run” by Snow Patrol. The audience was very quiet as we sang this song of loss and separation- but the applause at the end rewarded the emotion we invest in this song.

Lovely to finish with such an upbeat song as “Rhythm of Life”! Lots of joining in from the whole audience and we have never sung “Yeah Yeah Yeah” at the end with such volume and enthusiasm.

We were all delighted with the size of the audience and our reception by them, so we were all on a  high as always after performing. Apparently this is known as “afterglow”….

Picnics were unpacked, burgers and drinks purchased, Jules was given cake, and we all settled down under the beautiful sunshine to enjoy lunch with the great sound of the Kennet Vale Brass band in the background.

It had been a great day, and many of our members stayed on or came back later as the Festival went on until 12pm!

We have had many compliments since the performance, and much appreciation for our welly photos! We all hope that we are invited back next year…..

About the Author: Anne Curry joined the Pewsey Belles in February 2016 and sings Alto. She is also largely responsible for the promotion of the choir on Twitter and publishes weekly tweets of ‘#choirmasterwit’.

To find out more you can follow the choir on Twitter @PewseyBelles

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