Once again we were part of the Christmas Lights Switch On Celebrations in Hawes. The afternoon included Wensleydale's Got Talent, community carols and the arrival of Father Christmas followed by an evening variety concert in the Market House. Well done to all who took part.
Hawes Christmas Festival 2013 - Ian King, Darlington and Stockton Times.
A long day of activities in Hawes to celebrate Christmas started off last Saturday morning with an open competition of handicrafts and homecrafts in the Market House. There was a small exhibition of various crafts, including baking, children's pictures and original Christmas Cards, many to a very high standard. Outside the Market House was a marquee with a small Christmas Market with craft and food stalls, including a lovely one raising money for the St Margaret's Church Restoration Fund which raised over £250.
In the afternoon was the third incarnation of "Wensleydale's got Talent", a talent show for children and young people under 16. The Market House was packed with a noisy and enthusiastic audience. There were 12 acts from 15 performers with an age range of 7 to 13 years, compèred by Colin Bailey, and the standards were high. In third place was India Atkinson (12) singing David Guetta's "Titanium" and dancing dramatically. Second was Cassie Drury (11), performing with a broken foot, and singing Katy Perry's "Roar". The winner was Nicole Sunter (12) performing the ambitious "True Colours", originally by Cyndi Lauper, with aplomb. The judges, who had a very difficult job, were Daniel Cockett, Shona Dinsdale, Daryl Morton and Ben Clarke. Ben had been the winner for of the first two competitions, so they though it better to make him a judge to give other people a chance!
At 4 o'clock the Hawes Silver Prize Band, conducted by Stan Roocroft MBE, struck up for the community carol singing. By this time the rain had come, but there was still a good crowd singing lustily, and the numbers increased as the time came for Santa Claus to arrive in his sleigh. As always he had time for a word with each of the long queue of children which had gathered. Up on the Car Park behind the town there was a magnificent fireworks display in an unusual addition to the festivities.
Finally, in the evening there was a Christmas Variety Concert. Again compèred by the talented Colin Bailey, this started with "Dead Mans Uke". This is a father and son duo (Tim and Jake Smiddies from the Chapel Gallery in Hawes) who sang and played a ukulele and a double bass. They were followed by Emma Cloughton (aged 13) who reprised Adele's song "Make you feel my love" which she had sung so well in the afternoon talent contest. Then came Gordon Styles who is billed as the "Richmondshire Pavarotti". He sang a number of songs from swing numbers through the country-style "King of the Road" until he finished with a bravura performance of Puccini's "Nessum Dorma".
After the interval we were treated to an excellent jam session by the "Young People's Group" - a band of young people from Wensleydale and Swaledale supported by older musicians who provide mentoring and musical expertise. On stage were 14 musicians, and this was the first time that they had all been on the same stage at the same time. The range of instruments included five guitars, ukulele, electric piano, superb drum set, trumpet, saxophone and trombone. The musicians were Simon Chorley, Bob Mackenzie, Robert Ellison, James Emmerson, Robert and Andy Warboys, Will Stockbridge, Harry Potter, and Ollie Carr. The vocalists were Sam Scarr (a fine female singer), Mark Ellison, Ben Clarke and Colin Bailey (who also conducted and played piano). Many of the musicians were multi-talented, switching between several instruments. My highlights of the show were "The Rose" sung by Sam Scarr with muted piano accompaniment, the rock'n'roll style Mr Postman (sung by Mark Ellison), Baker Street (sung by Colin Bailey and with an excellent rendition of the iconic sax solo by James Emmerson) and another Mark Ellison rock'n'roll number - Sea Cruise. The evening ended with two festive favourites sung by Ben Clarke followed by "Santa Claus is coming to town", for which he played the piano.
This Young People's Group is a bunch of really talented people. It has received annual support from the Licensed Victualler's Charity Bike Ride, and donations from the Dales Festival of Food and Drink and £500 from Skipton Building Society's "Big 160". The latter award is based on votes by local people, where the group came 13th out of 27 in the North East. As Colin Bailey told me: "It is great to be discovering multitalented young people from Wensleydale and Swaledale, and to help mentor them in their creative musical journey".