Living Advent Calendar 18-20: 100+ Saxophonists, Daisy on High and Trinity Hall Rocked!

18 December – New Saxophonists Record

Market Place was packed on night 18 of the LAC not only with big crowds but also Sax Bandits, featuring 100+ saxophonists conducted by Rob Digweed with his festive lit gloves!

The evening was sponsored by THP Solicitors and was raising money for Headway Thames Valley based at Brunner Hall on Greys Road.  Richard Rodway, LAC organiser and partner at THP Solicitors said, “I think we’re setting a record. I did try to look it up last time and I’m not sure there’s a stat for this country. So we will call it a British record. We set it in 2019, and we’re beating it tonight. We are record breakers, Henley.”

The upbeat set from the Sax Bandits got the big crowd singing along starting off with the Christmas classic hit of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day by Wizzard.  The band went on to play Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande, Baby One More time by Britney Spears (Rob joked we’ve shoehorned this in and perhaps we should call it Santa Baby One More Time!) and Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney.  They finished with a medley featuring Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty The Snowman and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. Rob said afterwards, “It’s been a pleasure to come back and play.  Last time we were here it was minus 3 degrees and our fingers were sticking to our instruments.”

Event organiser Richard Rodway said: “I think we’re setting a British record. I did try to look it up last time and I’m not sure there’s a stat for this country. So we will call it a British record. We set it in 2019, and we’re beating it tonight. We are record breakers, Henley.”

19 December – Daisy Smith Defying Gravity

On Day 19 of Henley’s Living Calendar, the ‘window’ was literally opened by Daisy Smith, singing from the top floor of Simmons & Sons offices to a crowd who had gathered in their beautiful secret garden. 

Simmons & Sons, a long-established, independent firm of estate agents based in Henley, hosted the event and working in partnership with the Henley Living Calendar, raised funds for Riverside Counselling Service.

Singing her friend’s favourite song, Daisy sang a beautiful version of Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel and Kristina Chenoweth from Wicked, Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Let it Snow, Let it Snow with Daisy’s son, Joey working the snow machine to give a wintery feel to the event, and finishing with a rousing performance of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with the audience dancing and singing along.

At the end of the evening Richard led an auction of a boat trip donated by Hobbs of Henley, that raised a fabulous £400 and then the raffle followed.

Richard Rodway, LAC organiser said he is delighted how the whole event this year is going and said “I would love it if the people of Henley could help raise enough funds to break the £10,000 barrier.”

20 December – Felix, Didi and Jess Rock Trinity Hall

LAC Organiser Richard Rodway said, “It’s night 20, we’re nearly there, which means Santa is coming soon! You’ve come to the coolest performance of 2023 with the coolest kids in town.” before introducing Felix and Didi Richardson and Jess Robinson.

The trio opened with Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade and went on to play Come Together by the Beatles, Steady as She Goes by The Raconteurs, Lonely Boy by Black Keys before they got the audience clapping along to Hardest Button to Button.  Next up was Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Maye before they finished their set with the Dire Straits’ classic, Sultans of Swing.  The audience were then treated to an encore of Last Christmas by Wham.

Simon Mack Architecture was the partner for night, providing the refreshments and displaying the plans for redevelopment of Trinity Hall into the Henley Community Hub which are going to be submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council in the New Year. The raffle was raising money for the Community Hub too.  Laura Reineke, spoke about the redevelopment which will see the hall provide flexible spaces for different community activities including music rehearsal space, counselling rooms, dance classes, sports etc.

Felix afterwards said, “We performed 2/3 years ago at the LAC.  It was such good fun.  We started practicing about 2 months ago.  There was some old songs and some new songs we learnt.  Come Together was a new one.  It was nice too that a few school friends came along to support me.”

Afterwards Richard said, “Felix has grown a bit and his voice has got deeper since we last saw him perform but as said last time remember you saw them here first.  Henley’s Got Talent!”

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