I’ve heard from a lady called Alison Stancliffe. Alison is a choral singer, and she has kindly emailed to tell me about the Ryton Choral Society. Did you know that there was such a thing? I certainly did not, and I like to think that I know most of what’s going on, even if it’s something I don’t want (or have the ability) to take part in. I’m also keen to advertise events here. Due to what must surely be a lack of communication, Ryton Choral Society held a concert in the Holy Cross church last weekend, but unfortunately it was scheduled to take place at the same time as the concert I mentioned a few days ago, given by the Grainger Singers in support of the Ryton Festival. Sadly, this will probably have split attendance figures between the two, so it’s to be hoped that this can be avoided in the future. Heather and I attended the Grainger Singers concert, and very much enjoyed ourselves, though unfortunately we had to leave early as I’m almost, but not quite, fully recovered from my recent illness. Such beautiful voices, covering a wide range of genres, accompanied by the wonderful pianist Jennifer Reid and conducted by Mike Scott.
In relation to the RCS, they hold their rehearsals at 6.45pm in the Thorp Academy every Tuesday during term time, and they normally give three concerts per year. Two of these are at Thorp, and the third is generally at a major venue outside the immediate area. So with that in mind, if anyone fancies singing Verdi’s Requiem at the Sage in June, you’re not too late to join the Choral Society and grace this elegant venue. There are no formal auditions, and membership costs £42 per term.
Alison also tells me that the old part of the Thorp Academy, including the school hall, is to be demolished in the autumn. Everything must move on of course, but I gather that the replacement assembly hall won’t have a stage. This will be a tremendous pity, because I’ve attended four events in the hall since the beginning of February. I’ve also mentioned in this blog, about the exciting evening when BBC Any Questions was broadcast live from here. For all of these things, having a stage was pretty much a prerequisite. As Alison points out, there isn’t a similar venue anywhere in our vicinity. The church halls have stages, but an inferior audience capacity. Ryton Choral Society normally attracts an attendance figure of around about 200 to their concerts, and it would be nice to think that they may continue to entertain us in Ryton, in an auditorium with appropriate facilities.
The hoppings came to Barmoor last week. Whether or not you welcome this probably depends upon the proximity of your house to Barmoor, and mine is nowhere near. Certainly, as a child, I would have gravitated towards the whole caboodle like a toddler to sticky chocolate. I used to listen with envy to the classroom chatter of my school mates about the Town Moor hoppings. I considered that they obviously had parents who understood them, and I would ruminate on the cruelty of my own parents, who flatly refused to take me there. They remained unmoved by my argument that their failure to comply with this simple request would ruin my life for ever. For a solid year I harboured ambitions to run away to the fair, just as I had alternative periods of wishing to be an actress/pop singer/one of The Osmonds/anybody famous. When I was eventually old enough to take myself to the Town Moor one June, I was bored rigid. I lasted there, in the mud and clarts, for less time than it had taken me to walk from the exorbitantly priced car park (field) to the scene of the action.
Heather and I went down to Barmoor last Friday evening, and she suggested that we try out the waltzer. She might as well have asked me to rub detergent into my eyes. We tried, and failed, to win anything on the penalty shooting contest, bought some sticky candy floss, had a ride on a on a thing that went up and down, and then we went home. It was good fun actually, but I was grateful that ‘home’ meant getting away from it altogether, and that it wasn’t in the field overlooked by my bedroom window.