Living Advent Calendar 11-13 Dec – Music School, Belly Dancing & Ukranian Carols

11 December – Henley Music School’s Super Showcase

The 11th night of the Living Advent Calendar started with a beautiful solo by Ava Reineke singing O Holy Night at Trinity Hall on Harpsden Road, one of six new LAC venues this year.

The musical entertainment continued with performances by a range of musicians from the Henley Music School from the very young to adults in the Youthful Orchestra.  They performed a medley of Christmas songs and musical pieces including Silent Night and Deck the Halls by the Flute Group, Eva playing Silent Night on the piano and Eva from Ukraine playing a Ukrainian carol on her violin before they all came together to play All I Want for Christmas and White Christmas. The audience were then invited to join singing along to O Come All Ye Faithful.

The evening was raising money for the new Henley Community Hub which will see the restoration of Trinity Hall.  The Henley Community Hub will become a permanent home for Henley Music School and a hub for a wide range of community groups.  The project needs to raise £1m to completely renovate the building which will include insulating the building and installing low-carbon heating.

12 December – Two Halves of Entertainment

It was another new venue on night 13 of the LAC in the beautiful courtyard of The Relais Henley Hotel.   With the temperatures still below freezing, the audience enjoyed the delicious hot chocolate and mince pies being served.

The evening was hosted and organised by Tom Ryan of Honk!  Opening the show was singer songwriter, Holly Shillito who started her set with her own song Illuminate. She then went on to sing a number of Christmas time hits including Coldplay’s Christmas Lights, Stay Another Day by East 17 and 2 Become 1 by the Spice Girls.

The second half of the show saw belly-dancer Sheb Bamsey strut her stuff. After her solo she then encouraged members of the audience to join her and have a go.

Holly returned afterwards to sing Silent Night and encouraged the audience to join in.

The evening was raising money for the Henley Mermaids charity which this year has been Surfers Against Sewage.  They provided some great raffle prizes including a swimming hat with ‘Cut the Crap’ on it.

Father Christmas made a special appearance too and Alex Maxwell was offering glitter face tattoos.

13 December – Ukrainians Sing Carols

A large audience packed into the d:two, the Baptist Church for night 13 and were served a warm apple drink and Ukrainian biscuits. The night served as a fundraiser for the Ukrainian Lunch Club which meets every Tuesday at the church.

The audience were treated to a performance from a Ukrainian choir, including Carol Of The Bells, before the Baptist Church Leader Jeremy Bray led the church by candle light with renditions of Silent Night and O Holy Night.

It was a very moving night and more than £400 was raised through the raffle – more than every previous amount at d:two previously.