5 December – Robbing Williams Rocks Hotel du Vin
Hotel Du Vin hosted the fifth evening of the Living Advent Calendar, welcoming singer Marc Hockley (also known as stage names ‘Robbing Williams’ or ‘Mike All Buble’) to entertain the crowds in their courtyard. The Robbie Williams/Michael Bublé tribute act opened his lively set with a Robbie classic, Go Gentle, as the audience feasted on Christmas pudding and mulled wine.
Marc played a number of Robbie Williams and Michael Bublé hits, including Somethin’ Stupid, Rock DJ, Angels, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Despite freezing temperatures, he kept the crowd warm with his energetic performance and fun sense of humour, joking with the spectators between (and even during) songs. Before ending his set with ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’, Marc said, “I’ve been here a few times over the years when Richard has asked me to help out, and it’s always a pleasure.”
LAC organiser Richard Rodway said, “I have likened this year’s line up to a greatest hits, a Living Advent greatest hits if you will, to welcome back the event. Tonight is no exception. The very first Living Advent performance that I presided over in 2014, [I was] delighted that he came and performed in Falaise Square that evening, and I’m delighted that he has agreed to return this evening.”
Day 5 of the Living Advent Calendar was in aid of the Henley Talking Newspaper, which provides a free audio version of local news every week. Richard Hodgkin, Chairman of the Henley Talking Newspaper, said, “It goes out by memory stick to a lot of people who are mostly visually impaired, but not only. We do also send it to people who can’t read for any other reason such as a stroke. We are independent, we do raise our own money, so please give us as much as you can. Thank you very much — we need it.”
6 December – Pig Foot Band Let The Good Times Roll
The Pig Foot Band were the surprise act for night six of the Living Advent Calendar at The Angel pub where the audience were treated to a Copas turkey bap and warm Winter Pimms.
The Blues band who have previously performed with Ma Bessie. Andy Wilkin on percussion said, “Ma Bessie she’s in Jamaica refreshing herself in the sunshine whilst we’re here in the freezing cold. She usually grabs people to come up and dance. I can’t because I’m sitting down!”
The audience enjoyed hits including Bring it on Home to me, Let the Good Times Roll and Call it Stormy Monday and finishing with a blues version of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
The evening’s raffle was in aid of Riverside Counselling and a Hobbs 12 seater boat hire for the day was auctioned off raising another £350 for the charity.
Richard Rodway said afterwards, “How difficult to play in these cold conditions, thank you so much.”
7 December – Wacky Mix of Humour & Costumes
The seventh night of the Living Advent Calendar was packed full of music and jokes as Yoko Mainwaring Experience took to the stage in The Catherine Wheel, a new venue for this year. LAC organiser, Richard Rodway, said “The band are habitual Living Advent favourites and royalty.” The large crowd, described as a ‘posh pit’ were full of good cheer and enjoyed free festive pizza while they sang, danced and laughed despite the extremely cold evening. Richard advised, “If you whoop and applaud it warms you up.” Singing Christmas classics like Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Merry Christmas Everyone, Silent Night and crazier songs like Dominic the Donkey, the band entertained with a wacky mix of humour and costumes. They even got away with a cheeky, political, festive joke. “Why isn’t Teresa May in charge of the Henley Living Advent Calendar? She couldn’t run a stable government.”
The evening’s raffle was in support of Headway Thames Valley, a local brain injury charity.
Tonight’s venue is Holy Trinity Church and it starts at 6.15pm with a raffle in aid of Regatta for Disabled.
You can see full the programme at https://www.livingadventcalendar.co.uk/