Day 7 – Rock Choir Rock at Cricket Club
Night 7 of the Living Advent Calendar saw Henley Cricket Club open their doors out of season for the hugely popular Henley Rock Choir. Spectators flocked to the clubhouse to hear the choir’s toe-tapping renditions of traditional Christmas carols. The performers put a spin on old classics with mash-ups, combining The First Noel with Silent Night, and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with White Christmas. Not stopping there, the singers surprised their crowd with modern anthems Don’t Stop Believing and Beyonce’s Halo! Irresistibly energetic, the choir complemented their songs with beautifully co-ordinated dances, and even encouraged the audience to join in!
Richard Rodway, Chair of the Living Advent Calendar, was delighted to feature the group once again. He said, “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas and the Living Advent Calendar wouldn’t be the Living Advent Calendar without these wonderful local folk. They embody the look and feel of the event. They bring some festive cheer to it and a real sense of community spirit.”
The evening was sponsored by Gill and Phil Chapell, of GPC Marketing, and Lawlors Bakery, who provided some tasty nibbles. All proceeds will go to Badgemore School, one of the Mayor’s charities and the third local school to be celebrated. Mayor Kellie Hinton commented, “I’m really grateful to the Living Advent Calendar for taking each school on individually, and having a night for each of them as well as the combined show at the end.”
Day 8 – Highly Strung Strumming the Beats at Bull on Bell Street
It was the second appearance for local band, Highly Strung lead by Ian Desmond at the Bull on Bell Street on a very cold Friday night. They played some classic tunes including Stereophonics “Dakota” and the Stones’ “Paint it Black”.
Richard Rodway, Chair of the LAC said, “It was the second year in a row they have performed, both outdoors, and it was particularly chilly on this occasion with a chill wind adding to the zero degrees, but fair play to Ian, Bill and the lads for their spirit and I said to them that if I can persuade them to get involved again they have definitely earnt an indoors night next time!”
The evening was sponsored by BNI Regatta Chapter and was raising money for Headway Thames Valley.
Day 9 – Firefighters Keep Their Hats On!
Watch video here taken by Barry Taylor
The ladies in the audience on Saturday night thought they were in for a real treat when the opening of the fire station doors revealed the firefighters dancing to Tom Jones’ Leave Your Hat On replicating a scene from the Full Monty film. They were stopped by the Chief Fire Elf saying “Whoa, you can’t do that show tonight, that show is for tomorrow night. Now you have finished fooling around get on parade for your Elf & Safety Check.”
Nine volunteers from the audience were then picked to hold up a letter card which saw the firefighters check the Chimney kit, Hose, Reindeer Traffic Collision Gear, Ice Cold Water (thrown over Firefighter Staines), Siren, Thermal Imaging Camera (checking Firefighter Staines body heat), More Water check, Alarm and Speedy Get Away (sirens on the engine turned on). Spelling out the word Christmas.
Families were then invited to get on board the fire engine.
The evening was opened by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Lorraine Hillier and money raised from the raffle was going to Fish Volunteer Centre which offers support services and community transport for the senior residents in the Sonning Common area. The refreshments were provided by Tesco Henley.
Day 10 – Super Steph’s Dancing Divas & Dudes & Rupert House Dance Club
With Market Square still a bit snowy and cold, night 10 saw the Living Advent Calendar performance move inside the Town Hall. The surprise performance tonight was children from Steph’s Disco Divas & Dudes Dance Academy perform a funky version of We’re Walking in the Air followed by the Rupert House School Dance Club performing Underneath the Tree and a big finale which saw 26 Henley Divas and Dudes aged between 2-10 years performing to Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
Steph said afterwards, “I was so proud of all the performers and happy they had made the effort to venture out in the snow! For some of the younger members it was their first time performing in front of a large audience and they were so confident. It is the highlight of our year at DDA performing at the Living Advent and I’m so grateful to Richard Rodway inviting us again and giving the children this wonderful opportunity.”
The evening was sponsored by Hoopla Property Services and the charity for the evening was Wyfold Riding for the Disabled Group.