5 December – Musical Tale Behind the Christmas Story
d:two was the venue on night 5 of the Living Advent Calendar with members of the Baptist Church being the surprise performers singing two carols which told the tale behind the Christmas story accompanied by Stuart Colam on piano.
Pastor, Jeremy Bray thanked the Living Advent Calendar for doing a fantastic job each year and said, “We feel privileged to be hosting the LAC again this year.” He added, “Christmas is a time of twinkles, sparkle and family but it is also to celebrate the life of Jesus.” He then invited people to pray for those who are involved in conflicts in the world in Ukraine and in Gaza.
Afterwards Jeremy invited the audience to join n the carols O Little Town of Bethlehem and Holy Night.
The evening was raising money for the Henley Debt Centre through the raffle.
6 December – Shiplake College Wind Ensemble Give Gusty Warming Performance
Hotel du Vin’s courtyard came alive with Christmas carols on the sixth night of the Henley Living Advent Calendar, courtesy of Shiplake College’s Wind Ensemble. The group of eight musicians (both students and staff) began the night with In the Bleak Midwinter, before moving into a jolly rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’.
The band were conducted by Richard Curran, Shiplake College’s Director of Music, who said to the audience, “Please do sing along if you know the words!” The crowds got stuck in singing to O Come All Ye Faithful, ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, and Joy to the World. The set ended with the classic, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
Richard said after the final song, “Thank you for coming to support the cause. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and refill your glasses with some mulled wine – keep cosy! Thanks very much and Merry Christmas from all of us!”
The charity of the night was the Henley Talking Newspaper, which provides audio versions of local news to visually impaired people in the area, along with a number of care homes. The sponsor was Niki Schafer Interior Design. Niki said, “It was an amazing performance this evening. We could have probably done with a few more foot stomping tunes to keep us a bit warmed, but it was absolutely fantastic (even though it’s quite shocking how few words we know to these carols, but never mind!)”
7 December – Two Surprise Choir Performers
St Mary’s School Choir performed for the first time at LAC this year opening night 7 at Holy Trinity Church with a set of Christmas carols that included Holly and The Ivy, Silent Night and We Wish You a Merry Christmas plus a sweet version of Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer.
LAC organiser Richard Rodway said, “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without…as if by magic… the congregation from the side pews took off their coats to reveal their Rock Choir t-shirts and came on to the stage.
Henley Rock Choir led by Lucy Hewes then opened with a mash up of the First Nowell and Silent Night with beautiful harmonies before then going on to perform Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N’ Roses, Merry Christmas Everyone, I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day, and Let it Snow with the audience invited to clap and sing along.
Catherine Yoxall, Marketing Manager at St Mary’s School said, “We were really pleased to be part of this wonderful community event and the children were so excited.”
Lucy Hewes said, “It was great to back conducting the Henley Rock Choir again after 18 months off on maternity and being part of the LAC. I’m fully back running all my choirs again in the new year including a daytime choir, rehearsing Thursdays 10:30-12:00 at d:two Henley Baptist Church in the town centre. I’m really excited to be offering the community a chance to have a daytime sing followed by coffee and cake after at d:two’s fantastic cafe.”
Kench and Co sponsored the evening by providing refreshments for guests.
The evening was raising money for the Regatta for the Disabled. Chair of Regatta for Disabled said, “We were delighted to be a chosen charity for the LAC again this year. Thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket. The money will go towards putting on our special event for everyone to enjoy on 31 August 2024.”
Tonight the LAC is at the River & Rowing Museum starting at 6.15pm partnered by Henley Distillery.
To see the full programme you can go to https://www.livingadventcalendar.co.uk/