Living Advent Calendar 14-16 December – New Star, Strictly & Cracking Up!

14 December – A Bright New Star For Henley

The 14th night of the LAC took place in Henley College, which offered a generous selection of biscuits and chocolates for the audience to enjoy. The surprise performance was by up-and-coming star, Joe Ryder. Richard Rodway, LAC Organiser, said, “we do like to give a platform to up-and-coming young artists at the LAC and tonight is no exception. Some people we have had in the past have gone on to do amazing things and I have it on good authority that the next big thing is behind these curtains tonight.”

Joe Ryder took to the stage and wowed the audience with a beautiful, melodic set. He included a mixture of well-known songs including, In My Life by The Beatles, Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis and Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen amongst others. However, most impressive were his own original songs, proving that he is not only a talented singer and guitarist but also a brilliant songwriter. The final song Joe performed was called, Hold On, and it came with an impressive story.

Joe said, “my teacher, Dave, is good mates with one of my heroes, James Bay, and he actually sent this song off to him and so to have one of your heroes listen to one of your own songs is pretty big.”

It was a great evening of music by a talented young star. Richard Rodway, commented, “Henley’s got talent indeed.”

The evening raised funds for The Henley Youth Festival which supports upcoming performing arts.

15 December – Strictly Comes to Henley

Henley Town Hall opened its doors for the Living Advent Calendar on Thursday evening to the Miles School of Dancing. 

Nicki Schafer, from Nicki Schafer Interior Design, who sponsored the evening, welcomed the audience and gave a special thank you to Richard Rodway and his team for all the work that they are doing with the LAC.

A range of performances was given, including a beautiful performance by Richard Miles and a young dancer, Lucy Herbert, that was worthy of any performance seen on TV. Current pupils from the school, including adults and children, treated the onlookers to a ‘Cha Cha’ performed to ‘One More Sleep’ by Leona Lewis.

Richard Miles, Principal of the dance school said “He can teach anyone to dance and will not accept anyone saying “I have two left feet “on the dance floor”. To make this point, he, together with his assistant teacher, Oscar, invited the audience to take to the floor to be taught a few dance routines to Jive 101 and the Chassis. Lots of fun, together with lots of smiles and laughter were in abundance on the packed dance floor. 

The evening also raised funds for the Chiltern Centre. Ruth Siddorn, Community Fundraiser spoke of the important work the Centre does to support young people with disabilities and their families and how raising funds enables this work to be carried out. Ruth thanked the LAC for supporting the charity.

16 December – Cracking Up!

Night 16 of the Living Advent Calendar took spectators to a brand new venue for 2022, the Eyot Centre. The evening’s entertainment was provided by rock band, Cracking Up, all in aid of the host venue and the River and Rowing Museum.

Living Advent Calendar organiser, Richard Rodway, opened the evening in traditional Living Advent fashion, asking the crowd, “Are we feeling festive, Henley?”, before stating, “It’s always fantastic to come to a new venue, particularly when it’s indoors.”

It was then time for the four man band to take the stage. The group played a selection of classic rock songs, including ‘Already Gone’ by the Eagles, ‘Someday Baby’ by Bob Dylan, ‘Smooth’ by Santana, and the song that matched their band name, ‘Cracking Up’ by Nick Lowe. As it wouldn’t be a Living Advent evening without a Christmas song, the band played ‘Stop the Cavalry’ by Jona Lewie, using kazoos instead of trumpets. Guests were in for a real treat as, after the band performed their eight song set and the raffle was drawn, the musicians stuck around to play a few more songs.

Refreshments on the evening were provided by the Happy Gurkha, which were disappearing off plates as fast as the servers could bring them out! Proceeds from the evening will go to the Eyot Centre and the River and Rowing Museum, the latter of which also had a pop up Christmas shop at the venue for any last minute stocking filler needs.

You can see the full programme at