Autumn Concert – November 2019
Our concert on Monday 4th November was very successful – a fitting tribute to Allan Barfield who was co-founder of the group. Despite gusty wet weather we had a huge turn out and raised £350! This photo is of some of the group after the concert, with Jenny Barfield in the front row. Thanks to everyone who helped and Karen McInally for entertaining us with a rhyme and a song about ladies of a certain age (!) and the appreciative audience who donated so generously to Parkinson’s UK – Bexhill, Hastings and Rother branch.
Summer Concert, August 2019
The ParkinSongsters summer concert in St John’s Church, Hollington yesterday was really well-received. It never fails to amaze me how many people come to listen to us – especially on a sunny Monday afternoon!..But come they did and equally showed their deep appreciation. it was particularly rewarding to see how much the new members in the group enjoyed themselves sharing songs with the audience. Our young and talented guest singer, Maya Godlonton-White, granddaughter of Julie White one of our longest standing members, made a great impression with her two songs by Vivaldi and Mozart, singing with a sweet and true voice. We are grateful to St John’s Church for hosting us in their lovely intimate church.Proceeds from donations, which exceeded £300, were shared between Parkinson’s UK local branch and St John’s building fund. It was a rewarding afternoon and marked the beginning of our summer break. More adventures to follow in the Autumn…
“I got more out of doing yesterday’s concert than I did out of singing in the Dream of Gerontius with Janet Baker as the Angel! ” Helen who sings with our group..
Soloist Maya Godlonton-White with Jane Metcalfe, Duncan Reid and Julie White
A snippet of our concert from our Crooners Medley: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps!
Upcoming Concert – Monday July 29th
Songs include two medleys, the first, The Pirates of Penzance – with all the best loved tunes from this popular Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, and a Crooners Medley which says it all and includes great favourites of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others ending of course with I Did it My Way, which fits the spirit of our group!
We will be joined this year by a young guest singer, Maya Godlonton-White, who is the granddaughter of one of our members. Maya will treat us to two songs of her own choice.
Spring Concert April 2019
Once again The ParkinSongsters had an amazing turnout for this year’s Spring Concert! It was a lovely day and Spring was definitely in the air. The group has a regular “fan-club” of people who support us and there are always new people who find their way to our concerts. The audience was so appreciate and enthusiastic – even when invited to join in the warm-up session, which they dutifully did with gusto!
Just before the concert we learnt of the death of founder member Allan Barfield. Allan was the founder of The ParkinSongsters in 2010. Set up initially as a Voice exercise class for people with Parkinson’s in Bexhill, Hastings and Rother, it quickly evolved from singing a few songs in group sessions to performing in churches, church halls, care-homes, strawberry tea parties, carols in the Conquest, Flash mob in Morrisons and other venues, to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and to share the group’s joy of singing with others.
Allan was a force to be reckoned with.He was determined to keep active, joining in sessions and concerts for as long as possible.In 2017 the group entered the Adult Choir class in the Hastings Musical Festival and sang on the stage of the White Rock Theatre. Despite difficulty with wheelchairs, Allan, who had been actively involved for many years in the local Theatre and Musical scene, made it onto the stage! It was a triumph! Deep gratitude to Allan for his grit and determination, and for starting The ParkinSongsters, an initiative that has benefited people with parkinson’s their partners and friends for a number of years, and will continue to do so!
Christmas Carols at the Conquest.
December the 11th at 11am we sang from the minstrels gallery in the lobby at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, as we have done every year for the past 5 years. It’s a particularly lovely thing to do. The group enjoy it and people coming in and out of the Hospital turn their heads wondering where the sound of heavenly voices is coming from, then smile and stand for a few moments to listen.
Here we are preparing to sing, dressed for the occasion! Richard, who organises all the magnificent musical events at the Conquest, collects money for Parkinson’s UK local branch as well as enjoying the singing!
HOME FIRES – November 12th, 2018
Our concert was a triumph from all sides. Lots of people came to hear us, the group were in great form – singing with energy and commitment and tea and cake was praised almost (but not quite!) as much as the group’s performance! There were so many special moments, with members of the group singing solos and reading WW1 poems.
Julie and Bryan were particularly touching in Silver Threads Among the Gold! Our guest soloist, Gary Marriott, charmed us all with two English songs from the Edwardian and Victorian eras.
Although we are a smaller group at present, many people remarked on the strength and clarity of the voices. That, of course, is the group ethos – to help improve breathing, voice and general well-being. Somebody who has never heard us before said the performance was touching, raunchy and humourous in equal measure!
Below is a little film a member of the audience made giving a flavour of the concert
The audience gamely joined in with vocal warm-ups and WW1 choruses. A job very well done!
Songs For A Summer’s Eve, July 26th, 2018
Well done to all members of The Parkinsongsters and guest singers for persevering in the heat to give of their best! One could feel the enjoyment of the audience, who joined in with Oom Pah Pah with relish! This was the first concert in which Ged and Betty took part and they clearly loved every minute of it. We may not be up to the standards of more formal choirs, but we do aim to have fun, whilst stretching ourselves for health and wellbeing. It was great to see Clive Harre, Vice President of Parkinson’s UK – Clacton-on -Sea Branch, who travelled all the way from Clacton just to hear the group sing live! He told us he wasn’t disappointed..
Ged and Julie were sweetly moving with their Silver Threads Among the Gold duet which they sang with deep sincerity! Bernard and Bryan sang solos, funny and moving in turn. And much gratitude for the committed and well characterised performance of guest contralto, Karen McInally, who sang two fanciful Edwardian songs about fairies and the Kashmir, that fitted in perfectly with our summery theme. So, despite the extreme heat, a perfect evening! And lastly we are grateful to St John’s church Hollington for hosting us…
April 23rd 2018
The concert on April 23rd was such fun! Not only was it held on St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, but we heard just before we started singing that a new Prince had been born! At that time he wasn’t named and we wondered if he might be called William, but of course now we know he is Louis. On such a beautiful Spring day we were thrilled to see nearly 70 people in the audience -many staunch supporters but also some new faces. We remembered past members who are no longer with us, singing their favourite songs, as well as our variety of English songs,which went down a treat! Roll on the next concert – planned for late July.
Please come along and enjoy the group’s latest musical offerings. Our theme is fairly British as the title suggests! We have some Old Time Music Hall, a couple of Flanders and Swann numbers to make you smile, Vivian Ellis to spread a little happiness; Schubert’s wonderful setting of Shakespeare’s words Who is Sylvia? and of course the poem that our title suggests, along with other songs we like to sing. As always the concert is followed by the very pleasant British trait of tea and delicious homemade cake.
We had a busy time in December singing carols and Christmas songs from the Gallery at The Conquest Hospital and in the Asda store in Silverhill as well as at The Parkinson’s UK local branch Christmas lunch. Our annual autumn concert on the 16th October was well-attended – despite the potential effects of Storm Ophelia, who, in our area, merely left in her wake a curiously red-ish sky and sun borne to us from the Sahara Desert and Iberian forest fires. The concert was well attended and we feel we are steadily building a fan-base. The event, which included delicious home-made cakes and tea, helped raise considerable funds for our local branch of Parkinson’s UK. Below is a picture of Bryan, Stuart. Julie and Diane rehearsing “Sisters” – with the optional “Brothers” 2nd verse! A good time was had by all, with much whistling and toe-tapping in our encore of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.
Our autumn concert takes place on Monday 16th October, 3pm – 4.30pm at St John’s Church Hall, St Leonards on Sea. Do come if you can – and bring your friends! Songs include medleys on old Crooner songs, Nursery Rhymes, Old Time songs, The Mikado and some items poking gentle fun at Parliament by messrs Gilbert & Sullivan, plus of course, Autumn Leaves and a few other favourites.
There was much mutual appreciation between the ParkinSongsters and the day centre audience when we sang at Streatfield House, St Leonards on Sea on July 4th. We performed our new Crooners Medley, celebrating Sinatra and Nat King Cole and other great American singers of that era, plus our sparkling and somewhat tongue in cheek rendition from West Side Story of “I like to be in America” – especially apt for Independence day!
It was a great Spring concert! There were around 60 people in the audience who joined in some of the whacky exercises we practice in the group! But everyone seemed up for it and the group sang with so much energy.
Fun and games at our Spring Concert… Jane and the group share their exercises with the audience!
At our Parkinson’s Awareness Week concert, we will sing a selection of old and new songs, including, Mack The Knife, Blowin’ in the Wind, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and old favourites such as The Policeman’s Song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, which has become a bit of a theme song for the group; not forgetting our hilarious rendition of Lewis Carroll’s poem, Jabberwocky! This concert marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of a paper by physician, James Parkinson about “the shaking palsy”, which first recognised particular aspects of what became known as Parkinson’s Disease.
This event has now taken place. See Film Project for how it went, and to watch the film…
Parkinson’s Strawberry Tea
St Leonards Senior Forum , celebrating their 10th anniversary
Windmill Road street party, Bexhill, for the Jubilee in 2012.
Marina Court, Bexhill, to celebrate Easter
Bernard and Carol’s Golden Wedding
All Saints Church, St Leonards, at the Sea Scouts Christmas Service
St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Hastings
Joy and James’s Golden Wedding.
Carols at The Conquest Hospital 2013- ongoing
Holy Trinity Church, Hastings, annually, 2012 ongoing
High Beech Golf Club Christmas lunch 2014
Flash-mob in Morrisons, 2014
Carols in Asda
Annual Parkinson’s Awareness week concerts at St John’s Church Hall, St Leonards