Huge success with latest Big Band Show
The Ely Rotary Club’s seventh Big Band show at the Community College on Saturday was a resounding success, with favourable comments from all sections of the sell-out audience.
Opus 17, the well-known big band from Royston, provided the excellent choice of numbers from the 1940s, for the concert and dance that was billed as a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (on September 15th), with medleys of songs – with a heavy audience-participation, of course – starting with “Who do you Think You’re Kidding Mr. Hitler”, and another Vera Lynn medley including “We’ll Meet Again”. It’s little wonder the roof is still on Needhams Hall!
The band’s new vocalist, Kimberley Devonshire, with her wonderful voice, provided exceptional nostalgia with songs such as “You’ll Never Know”, “You Belong to Me” and “I Know Why and so do You”, all good Glenn Miller tunes, amongst her several renditions, as well as leading the community singing.
The bar was extremely popular, organised and run by Ken James and Nick Mumford with assistants, even running out of glasses towards the end of the night, and the raffle did very well for the Vocational committee led by Viv Doji, collecting for Dictionaries4Life, where Rotary provides year six leavers with a dictionary each, split with International committee, for providing assistance to overseas victims of disasters with shelterboxes and the like.
A feature of the show this year was memories of wartime experiences, mainly by the people who were there at that time. Amongst the readers was a gentleman from Basildon, attending with his brother from Southend, who recited the story of how his father was bombed whilst walking to his place of work (a factory manufacturing wartime parts out in the fields of Billericay, Essex), an outstanding story read by Rotarian Mike Copping provided by his next-door neighbour Bernard Kregor, who was in the RAF based at Witchford, particularly at the time that the cheeky Luftwaffe pilot in a 110 followed the Lancasters back from a raid, and promptly shot down two of them as they prepared to land. Rotarian Eric Grant told of Battle of Britain day excitement when, as a nine-year-old boy he watched as a Dornier 17, out-of-control, dived towards him and his father and blew up 150 yards from the bottom of their garden at Langdon Hills, now part of Basildon. Several others gave their historical memories of the time, too.
At the end of the show, many people came up to the stage to say “it was the best you’ve ever done”, “why don’t we have more of these shows”, “it was really fantastic”, and so on. Rotary certainly were joyful at such enthusiasm!
If you’ve ever thought of joining Rotary, now would be a good time. All you need to do is ring President John Dennick on Ely 662636, Rotarian Mike Coping on Ely 740236, or check the website, elyrotary.co.uk.