Jazz gets a new format

Edington’s 7th annual jazz concert on 30th July 2010 once again pulled more than 250 people from the local area and beyond.

The Chippenham-based Celebration Jazz Band played from a repertoire of rags and marches, as well as spirituals such as Just a little while to stay here by Eugene Monroe Bartlett. Other numbers included The nearness of you by Hoagy Carmichael, and Scott Joplin’s Swipsey cake walk.

Seasoned visitors to Edington’s jazz nights commented on improved acoustics in the church following a decision to break with the north-south axis of previous concerts, which featured a temporary stage opposite the south door.

Of course, not to hear the music outside the church could be an asset as far as the neighbours are concerned,’ commented Maggie Atterbury, adding that ‘the fact that we did not have to move heavy and slightly fragile pews around was a bonus.’

It was all change, too, when Edington’s own Barbershop Quartet took to the stage for their ever-popular set half-way through the evening. Following John Bennett’s retirement from the group, David Mack joined John Ridgers, Alan Brown and David Perkins in their renditions of old favourites like Sweet Rosie O’Grady and Flanders and Swann’s hilarious satirical number The gas man cometh. After a long ovation, the Barbers concluded with Let’s get together again.

Amid the changes, one thing remained constant – the popularity of the barbecue and bar outside in the church car park. As concert-goers relaxed with their drinks in the mini-marquees, there was a steady demand for freshly-cooked burgers and hot dogs from the barbecue.

When the Celebration Jazz Band returned for the second half, dancers seemed more reluctant to leave their seats than in earlier years. Nevertheless, a few couples did take to the specially cleared dance floor in the choir before the evening was out. ‘We need to give a clear message that it’s OK to leave your seat to eat, drink or dance at any time during the evening,’ said Maggie Atterbury.

The new format generated plenty of comment at the organisers’ wash-up meeting after the show. But whatever decisions are taken for next year, there’s no denying the success of this enjoyable evening, which also raised a substantial sum for church funds.

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