Valley Friends June Report

From Joan Steele

The Fernie Fields Four – an entertainment by four lady saxophonists

Jill welcomed members and guests to our meeting and made the announcements. We were very sad to hear that we have lost our dear member, Judith Camplisson recently. On behalf of the Valley Friends, Jill had sent a sympathy card to the bereaved family.

Since our main meeting in May we have had our annual local evening ramble which was arranged and guided by John Magee. The weather was perfect and the countryside looked stunning with beautiful views over hills and valleys with fields covered in wild flowers, and patches of wild garlic in the woods. The walk ended at the Black Lion on Naphill Common, with welcome refreshments. John was warmly thanked for a most memorable evening.

Following the announcements, Jill introduced the ‘Fernie Fields Four’. Pat, the leader, who played the baritone saxophone is a retired maths teacher and explained how the group was formed in the year 2000 from a number of lady saxophonists who are all talented musicians and who all belong to other bands and groups and all also play clarinets. The four instruments played this evening were the baritone, the alto, the soprano, and the tenor, played by Helen. Their aim is to collect for charities, mainly ‘Scannappeal’, Leukaemia and Lymphoma research as well as providing wonderful entertainment. They need to go out to gain practice and had given a concert on the morning of our meeting. Last week they had played for the RNIB at Chalfont St Giles. They have travelled abroad several times, they have connections with RAF Halton, and recently had a German evening, to name a few. They are kept very busy. The group opened their programme with Liberty Belle by John Philip Sousa in 1893 (Monty Python Signature tune), followed by ‘Ain’t misbehaving’ – written in 1929 by Fats Waller while in prison! The programme continued as follows:
– Loch Lomond written in 1841 to bring back memories of a beautiful place in Scotland.
– Chattanooga 1941 written for a film called Sun Valley Serenade recorded by Glen Miller and his Big Band.
– Hornpipe fun including some shanties, Drunken Sailor etc.
– Vaudeville – genre of variety including ‘Oh you beautiful doll’
– A negro spiritual published in 1918 ‘Down by the Riverside’
– A medley of 27 songs were then played which were very cleverly blended into one another and we had to count them!
– A number of famous George Gershwin songs from shows of the years 1924-1927 followed and then a 1902 song ‘Bill Bailey’ and finally ‘Roll out the barrel’ composed by a Czech composer with words added later. The programme finished with ‘When I’m 64’ written in 1967 by the Beatles.

These final songs we were able to join in the singing and we all enjoyed the evening very much.

Barbara proposed the vote of thanks and said how the wonderful sound produced by professional players had made it perfect entertainment for a summer evening with wine – which we had provided!

On 3rd July ‘Linden Gate’ – a new charity is the subject of an open evening entitled ‘Gardening for health and well-being’. The 4th August is the pot-luck supper, please bring food and drink, cutlery plate, bowl and glass.