21 December – Nothing Average About This Band
The Average Wife Band were the surprise performers on the stage of the Town Hall on the 21st night of the Living Advent Calendar.
This was the second appearance at the LAC for the 11 piece band which is led by Lucie Henwood. They opened their set with Mary-Anne by Ray Charles, and then followed this with Winter Wonderland. There was a second surprise for the audience when Richard Miles from Miles School of Dancing started dancing with Amelia Ball. Lucie said, “The Reading Swing Band at the Trad Boat Festival had some dancers and it really worked well so I asked if any of the band knew anyone who could come and dance with us at the LAC. Tina Jacobs said she knew Richard but we weren’t sure whether he was going to make as his wife had recently had an operation. We didn’t tell LAC organiser Richard Rodway either – so for once it was surprise for him too!”
Richard and Amelia started the dancing before then inviting some of the audience to join in. Amelia told Lucie that this was the first time she had danced to live music.
The band went on to play Mess Around, Stand by Me, In the Mood and then did an encore of Tequila.
The evening was sponsored by The Head Partnership solicitors and the raffle was raising money for Ronald McDonald House charities.
Lucie added, “It was a wonderful special evening. Coming out of the door to see the big audience was great and the dancing gave it an extra dimension. My son Joe, who grew up in Henley and now lives in London did the sound said he felt that there was wonderful community atmosphere in the room.”
22 December – Tone Deaf Rockin’ Out of the Window
The night at Delegate Conference and Office Services offices in Hart Street is always a unique one for the Living Advent Calendar, with the audience below in two different areas of the lovely courtyard garden. Carolyn Molyneux from Delegate always organises a good spread of food too with help from her friends from the Regatta for Disabled which were also the charity for the evening.
The evening was sponsored by Cannelle Medispa (also in Hart Street) who offered the audience a free lucky dip with prizes of vouchers for different treatments.
The surprise act was Tone Deaf comprised of Barry Rosier on guitar and vocals and Ray Featherstone on vocals and harmonica. Barry is also part of The Crossfire Hurricanes who have previously performed at the LAC. It was Ray’s first time and he said, “I’ve travelled up from Somerset especially today.”
Barry introduced the band by saying “I’m Tone and he’s deaf!” before opening their superb set with Blue Suede Shoes followed by Hi-Heel Sneakers by Tommy Tucker before getting into the festive tunes of Jingle Bells and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The set also included Oh Boy! by Buddy Holly, Get Off of My Cloud by the Rolling Stones. This was the second consecutive night the audience called for an encore with the band obliging by playing Let’s Twist Again.
Afterwards Father and Mrs Christmas gave out sweets to everyone.
23 December – No Fluke About this Band Either
There’s no fluke about the talent of the band Pure Fluke who were the surprise performance on Christmas Eve Eve either which is probably why LAC organiser Richard Rodway asked them back for the third year in a row.
Night 23 was supposed to be in Market Place but with the rain coming down outside arrangements were made for the performance to be inside the Town Hall. The band made up of members Jane and Dave Pindar, Sandra Mathers, Terry Wilson, Sarah Coleman, Ben Keene and Henry Brookes on a mixture of instruments which included ukuleles, a banjo, a double bass, a melodica (keyboard you blow through), a clarinet and a tin whistle.
The excellent musical entertainment started with Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones, after which they played In Hell, I’m in Good Company, Moon Dance, Friday I’m in Love by The Cure,Black Horse and The Cherry Tree by KT Tunstal. They finished their set with Purple Rain with the audience singing along, Galway Girl and for the third night running the audience cheering for an encore with the band finally playing Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel.
The evening was raising money for the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service who opened a new hospice in Maidenhead this month that was officially opened by Prime Minister Theresa May and Sir Michael Parkinson. Susie Knowles from Alexander Devine said: “We now support over 110 families in our local area. We know there’s a huge number more that could be supported by us.”
We asked lead singer Dave Pindar afterwards about performing for the third year in a row, he replied, “Well I think we should probably leave space for others in the future but we absolutely love it. It is fantastic and it is great to play in front of the Henley crowd and obviously raise money for Alexander Devine charity. The work the team to put on this every night is fantastic.”
Tonight’s performance (24 December) as always will be outside St Mary’s Church and will be Christmas carols led by the church choir.