• Celebrating Ray Peake's 80th Birthday

    The concert at Cookham Dean in Bucks to celebrate the 80th Birthday of former member Ray Peake was a resounding success, started off, appropriately enough, with our performace of 'Let the earth resound' (to the sound of music). The church of St John the Baptist was bursting at the seams with the friends and family of Ray & Susie Peake (whose organisation was impeccable) and NotaWAGs and NotaHABs.

    The programme was, as usual, somewhat varied - here's the first half:

    Let the earth resound    Sally K. Albrecht
    Bogoroditse Devo    Sergei Rachmaninov arr. Richard Apperley
    Be Thou my vision    Bob Chilcott

    Duet: Lavinia Lancashire (Soprano) and Denise Jones (Alto)
    Ave Maria    César Franck

    Wherever you are    Paul Mealor
    Eriskay love lilt    Hebridean folksong arr. Simon Carrington
         Soloist: David Bradshaw (Baritone)
    Bourrée for Bach    J S Bach, transcribed Bennett Williams

    Solo: Ray Peake  (Baritone)
    The Flea    Mussorgsky

    The lily and the rose    16th Century English, arr.  Bob Chilcott
    It was a lover and his lass    John Rutter
    Don't it make my brown eyes blue    Richard Leigh, arr. Alan Woods
    Bohemian rhapsody    Freddie Mercury, arr.  J W Morgan

    The highlight was undoubtedly Ray's performace of "The Flea". Amazingly, his voice is as big as it was when he was singing with us, and you still believe he didn't mean to clap his hands (on the emperor's flea) at the end of the song.

    The interval was spent socialising, drinking the wine and eating cakes before we took off again for the second half:-

    Morning has broken    Gaelic melody arr. Ed Lojeski
    Song (from Jubilate)    Bob Chilcott
          Soloist: Alan Hazell (Tenor)
    A Clare benediction    John Rutter

    The water of Tyne    English folk song arr. Michael Neaum

    Happy together    Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon
    Lullabye (Goodnight my angel)    Billy Joel
    Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen    Spiritual, arr. Bob Chilcott
         Soloist: David Bradshaw (Baritone)

    Solo: Ray Peake (Baritone)
    On the road to Mandalay    Oley Speaks

    Buffalo gals    American Trad., arr. Bob Chilcott
    Under the sea    Alan Menken arr.  Philip Lawson
    Old McDonald had a farm    American trad., arr. George Mitchell
    Beatles medley    Lennon & McCartney

    After his usual fantastic performace of "The road to Mandalay" Ray added "Autumn leaves" in his solo spot - a real tear-jerker (ask his family).

    We finished off with our usual encore - "Goodnight sweetheart, it's time to go" sung together with Ray's own choir - Peake's Practice.

    We sang well, we think - but we'll soon find out when we watch the video recording made by Paul Ashton. The good bits may well appear on the website.

    All in all it was a splendid occasion, enjoyed by those who participated in it. Thanks to Susie and all her helpers for putting on such a wonderful do.